Business of Agriculture logo

There’s nothing more important to a good crop than the right inputs. However, it’s equally important to consider the overall health of the soil those seeds are going into every spring. That’s where Midwest Laboratories comes in. Known for its high-quality soil testing procedures, Midwest Laboratories is making farming better all over the country.

What they do is provide comprehensive and customizable services for a variety of industries, including agriculture. They also provide services for industries including animal feed, environmental, food and beverage, fuel, and pet food. Their technology is advanced, their turnaround time fast, and their reliable service has just one goal: to empower their customers to make smart decisions that are good for your business.

The company history traces back more than four decades. Ken Pohlman founded Midwest Laboratories in 1975. It started soil testing right away and never really stopped. Jacob Halverson, digital marketing manager, said, “As recently as 2017, we had 1.8 million soil samples submitted for analysis.”

Midwest Labs currently sits on a 12-building campus in Omaha, Neb. Halverson said that makes them unique, in that all of their services are offered in house. They have no other locations and are a completely “Nebraska-based company.” They’re the largest privately owned soil testing lab in North America.

“One of the great things about Midwest Labs is we house and do everything right here in one location,” Halverson said. “That includes everything from IT to Quality Control to Research and Development. We’re always working on improving our design process and implementation in order to ensure reliable results.

“Our primary customer base stretches all the way from Texas up through Minnesota,” he added. “As you may imagine, we cover a great deal of the central United States. We also stretch from coast-to-coast and do some international business as well. Our primary clients are agriculture-based, including large providers to consumer testing for lawn and garden industries.”

Halverson said the Omaha location is a perfect spot for everything Midwest Labs wants to do.

“Having one location right smack-dab in the middle of the United States has really benefitted us from a logistics standpoint,” said Rob Ferris, an account manager for Midwest Labs. “We can get anything we need to have shipped to where it needs to be within 1-3 days, at most.

“Having everything in one location also helps us keep our technology up-to-date. The technology will only get better as we go along. As it changes, we’re also able to change what we do as well. Much of our instruments were developed and programmed right here at Midwest Labs to help us meet high volume demands and ensure the most reliable results.”

Midwest Labs takes even more steps to ensure their test reliability. The company participates in three programs which send blind samples quarterly to guarantee accuracy and are inspected by the State of Nebraska to ensure compliance. Midwest Labs also is accredited for national testing by the North American Proficiency Testing Program.

“We also carry permits through the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service to accept soil samples from restricted areas of the country,” Halverson said. “We have a process in place to either sterilize the samples before analysis or handle the samples in a manner that will prevent the release of potential pathogens in the environment.”

How fast does Midwest Labs do their testing? The majority of their samples are completed end-to-end in less than three days, even during months that typically see the highest volume. In fact, on any given day, Midwest Labs stores over 300,000 samples for Quality Assurance purposes and additional testing requests.

The company has a collective 100-plus years of experience in their soil lab. Their custom instrumentation is built in-house. An in-house agronomist reads every outbound report before it goes to the client. In short, company founder Ken Pohlman said everything Midwest Labs does is all about helping the customer find success.

“At Midwest Laboratories, we will consider ourselves successful if we’ve made our communities stronger because we existed,” Pohlman said. “We believe it’s our responsibility to help improve every aspect of our communities and we continuously work to carry out the responsibility through our business, our customers, our vendors, and our employees.”

Chad Smith can be reached at chad.smith@midwestmessenger.com.