MAYFIELD -- Dirt work has begun on a regionally-owned agriculture supply store expected to open this fall.
"It's an ag supply, full-service retail store," said Jimmy Wray, president of Patriot Ag Service. "We sell fertilizer. We sell ag chemicals. We sell seed. We will apply fertilizer. We have sprayers and spreaders."
The company is being built on 20 acres just off the Dick Castleman Bypass near the intersection with U.S. 45, although the address is that of a side road, 400 Crittendon Lane.
Wray, 47, of Kevil, a farmer and seed company representative, has teamed with the owners of Bandana Ag in Ballard County and Weakley Farmers Cooperative in Martin, Tennessee. They are basing their Mayfield store off the services already offered at Bandana Ag.
"The reason we chose Mayfield is that, No. 1, it is the absolute center of the Jackson Purchase," Wray said. "The second reason is in 2013 Graves County had three independent, locally-owned ag retailers. All three of those got bought out in 2013 by big ag corporations."
Wray has seen the same trend across Kentucky.
"The independently-owned, locally-owned ag retail just doesn't hardly exist any more, really," he said.
Wray has 26 years of farming experience. He farms about 1,500 acres of wheat, corn and soybeans in McCracken County. His partners have similar experience.
"Farming is a tough business," he said. "It's really tough. A lot of us owners of Patriot Ag are farmers as well. We just understand the needs."
He hopes Patriot Ag will also give farmers something they have been lacking: a choice. "I think every ag community needs some independently-owned competition," he said.
The partners began talking about building the business about a year ago and purchased their property last fall. They incorporated early this year and began dirt work in May.
An 80-by-150-foot steel building is going up initially, but there is plenty of room to expand, Wray said.
"If this goes like I think it will, then one building isn't going to be enough for too long," Wray said.
He said he could see adding up to two addition buildings.
The business will start with six full-time employees, plus additional seasonal help. "I could see that very easily being twice that many within two years," he said.
The business expects to be open in time for fall wheat planting in September.