Made in South Dakota: Common Sense Manufacturing - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Made in South Dakota: Common Sense Manufacturing

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Every Monday morning through the month of May, KSFY news reporter Bridget Bennett will be featuring products made all across the state in our Made in South Dakota Series.

The next stop is in Faulkton where Common Sense Manufacturing is catering to South Dakota’s biggest industry—agriculture.

The sparks have been flying at Common Sense Manufacturing all winter long.

“In the winter time when we are going really hard we will run 19 full time employees and we work 45, 50 hrs a week sometimes,” said owner Kelly Melius.

All the winter work is preparation for the big orders that come just in time for Spring calving season.

“We make several different kinds of bale feeders. We make several different kinds of feed bunks. We make a bottomless bunk that has unique features to it. We make a pan bunk. We make continuous fence. We make windbreak. We make a free standing panel and a calf shelter,” said Melius.

These Common Sense products didn’t start in a manufacturing facility—they’re just one rancher’s idea of how to make life a little easier on the farm.

“It all really started out as stuff for me in my own use. Then I thought—I’m using it. I like it. There are other people that are bound to like it too,” said Melius.

“In the past they made a lot of them out of wood and they just didn’t hold up. A couple of years and they were shot. At Kelly’s place, they design them really well. We have had a lot of wind this year and they just don't move. We've had real good luck with them,” said rancher Bruce Edgar who’s used Common Sense products for more than a decade.

Melius and his customers call his product designs a common sense approach to farming.

“You save a lot of feed from feeding on the ground, whether it’s from a bale processor or the wagon, you save a lot of feed. We like the durability of them. We've had them for 10 years and we've done no welding on them. They're strong and well made,” said Edgar.

These common sense designs have really caught on with farmers all over the Midwest.

“If you made Faulkton a bull’s-eye about a five hundred and fifty mile radius is pretty much our area...we have almost eighty dealers in that radius,” said Melius.

Melius says it’s easy to pick out his South Dakota made product all over rural America.

“You get lots of comments like we just went on a trip and everywhere we go we see lots of your stuff,” said Melius.

“I think Kelly has built a product that is affordable and they are made to last. Everything he built he put a little extra into it. Whether it's the shelters or the bunks, they are made out of a little heavier steel than most places and it just makes sense to use them,” said Edgar.

Melius has been in business for about 15 years. In that time, he says the cost of steel has tripled, but his priority remains making a quality, affordable product for farmers around the Midwest.

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