FORT SMITH (KFSM) – Mayor Sandy Sanders will be presenting a small business proclamation award on Monday (Nov. 23) to Solar Feeders, according to Andy Galbach, owner of the manufacturing plant where the feeders are made. He is also a co-owner of the patent, along with Carl Davis.
The feeders, which are powered by the sun, are manufactured and painted in Fort Smith at American Precision Fabricators. More than 200 feeders have been sold around the world; about half of them are throughout Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas, according to John Ziegler, Vice President of Marketing for the company.
Chad Lowe said his family has owned a farm in Crawford County since 1958. About two years ago, he decided to buy a feeder to save time and money.
“My job is in Fort Smith, and my wife teaches in Fort Smith, my kids go to school in Fort Smith,” Lowe said. “As your family gets older and taking their spots, then you're taking more responsibilities on the farm.”
The feeders have timers that release food when the farmer wants to feed livestock. Lowe said his feeder releases food twice a day.
“Once they have it, they don't know what to do without it,” Ziegler said.
The inventor, Hugh Wayman of Oklahoma City, has won awards for the product in the past, and Ziegler said the company is proud to be receiving an award during Small Business Week in Fort Smith.
“It really is a local business at its core and we really let our dealers make sure that they're fostering to that wherever they are,” Ziegler said.
Lowe said the feeder has become an important tool on his farm.
“I think it's a lot easier that way -- then you don't have to be going and feeding. The animals stay healthy,” Lowe said.
The award will be presented at 2 p.m. at Belle Starr Antiques in downtown Fort Smith. Galbach said the antique shop will also be receiving an award.