2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21, Page #25
Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue  | Print this story  | Read this issue]

    «Previous    Next»
South Dakota Farmer Builds Countertops In Farm Shop
Jeff Hoeft has taken farming diversity to a new level. He’s converted most of his farm shop into a manufacturing plant to make customized countertops out of stone slabs. After a couple years of research and convincing his banker and wife that it was a good idea, Hoeft started Prairie Stone in August 2020 on his New Effington, S. Dak., farm. It’s a very rural area at least 70 miles from any large city.
The idea for it came from a couple of events. After a 2015 back fusion surgery, Hoeft, who has farmed for 25 years, was advised he shouldn’t plan on farming his whole life. Then, in 2018 he was frustrated with the cost and two-month delay of getting countertops when he was rebuilding his home after a fire. With some guidance from people in the stonecutting industry, including the Stone Fabricators Alliance, he started thinking seriously about creating Prairie Stone.
He sold some land to help fund the building remodel and equipment. Cutting back from 2,800 acres to 1,200 acres gives him the time to run both operations. He sees being rural as an advantage.
“The burnout rate for stone shops is pretty high. Beause we also farm, it’s actually a nice change of pace. We can be as busy as we want to be,” Hoeft says.
Because the shop is on his own property, he saves on rent and water bills and doesn’t have to meet city regulations. That makes his pricing competitive. Customers in a 100-mile radius don’t mind traveling to a rural location, and a design feature on the business website allows customers to choose the type and color of stone they want from the comfort of their homes.
“We can take a digital picture of the stone so customers can see exactly what it will look like,” Hoeft says.
He has about 70 large slabs of granite and quartz (man-made material with resin to add color) from stone supplier MSI in stock and can order whatever customers want.
He cuts the stone precisely with an Italian-made computerized CNC saw with a 30 hp. motor. Other computerized tools polish and edge the stone. All require lots of water, 50 gal./minute, that collects in drains and is 100 percent recycled. About 10,000 gal. of water/day is filtered and conditioned to reuse.
Hoeft and a couple of employees install the countertops for local customers, but they also bid on commercial jobs. They recently finished windowsills and shipped them to a Florida hotel, for example, and are open to customers anywhere in the U.S.
Hoeft says others in the industry have warned him that demand will grow and he will run out of space. Not a problem, he says. On the farm there’s plenty of acreage for expansion. For him it’s just like planting more acres.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jeff Hoeft, Prairie Stone, 46631 104th St., New Effington, S.Dak. 57255 (ph 605 637-5582; www.prairie-stone.com; info@prairie-stone.com; Facebook: Prairie Stone).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21