- Cullman, Alabama

December 27, 2013

Federer’s Fertilizer changing hands, new owner Jimmy Sanders, Inc. plans expansion

By Tiffeny Owens
The Cullman Times

GOOD HOPE — Federer Fertilizer will be getting a new owner next month who may have plans to expand operations at the longtime family-owned farm supply business.

Cleveland, Miss.- based Jimmy Sanders, Inc. is purchasing Federer’s and plans to not only retain the 10 current employers but could also add four to five more workers over the next two the three years, said Kevin Jackson, existing industry and economic coordinator with the Cullman Economic Development Agency.

“Sanders is planning to invest another $500,000 to $600,000 into the operations,” Jackson said.

On Monday, the Cullman County Commission approved a 10-year, $2 million tax abatement for Sanders. Calls this week to Jimmy Sanders, Inc. seeking comment about the project were not returned.

The transition should occur sometime in the first week of January and is expected to be “as seamless as possible,” said Greg Federer, manager at Federer Fertilizer.

Founded in Cleveland, Miss., in 1953, Jimmy Sanders, Inc. has become one of the leading farm supply distribution businesses with over 100 locations in 13 states. The company is multifaceted in its operations, which include agricultural chemical distribution, seed production and sales, bulk handling of fertilizer and, through its award-winning OptiGro program, precision agriculture services. The company also provides wildlife food plot products and services through its Wildwood Genetics brand and general ‘Farm & Hardware’ merchandise at select locations.

The company currently has locations in Belle Mina, Clayton, Livingston, Selma and Town Creek.

Federer co-owner, Melba Federer, said customers shouldn’t notice much of a change at all in operations other than the addition of Sanders putting up a sign.

“Sanders is a very family-oriented company,” she said. “We already buy half our supplies from them. We’ll be able to provide more variety in the inventory with them and also offer better prices. This should be a good opportunity for them and their customers.”

The Federer family has been in the agricultural supply business for decades, owning and operating Federer Farm Supply from 1976 to 1990. Then they worked for Gold Kist and later Southern States Cooperative before opening Federer Fertilizer 11 years ago at its current location on County Road 222 just outside of Good Hope.

Melba Federer, and her husband, Joe, ran the business together, and now their nephew, Greg, manages the store. Melba’s sister also works there along with a close family friend.

“We’re fortunate to be so diversified in our agriculture here in Cullman,” Melba Federer said. “We offer products to people who have everything from a backyard hen to multi-acre farming operations.”

Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.