"When a farmer is in the middle of his harvest and has a breakdown, it's a matter of needing a part right now, not three days from now," said Lynn "Rooster" Youngberg, owner of Spring River Salvage. "They need to get that piece of machinery repaired and get back into the field."
Youngberg has a large variety of balers, trailers, trucks, combines, headers, swathers, hay bines, round balers and other equipment, all in various stages of disrepair. But what looks like a harvester's graveyard is a lucrative business for this savvy businessman.
"I have most major brands of machinery that farmers around here use, and if someone needs a particular part off of a piece of equipment, chances are I have it," Youngberg said. "If I don't, chances are I'll know where to send someone to get it."
Youngberg takes care to maintain the fields of machinery in order to make it convenient for his workers to get to specific pieces of equipment to salvage working parts to sell to consumers.
"If I let weeds grow up around this stuff, no one would want to get close to get to it," he explained. "No one wants to wade through stickers and weeds to get to a part."
And the method to his business also provides profit in other ways.
"The 80 bales I took off of this field I sold," he said. "Just for keeping the field cleared."
In an ecologically sound measure, all machinery is drained of fluids before it's set in a field for salvage so that the land isn't harmed.
"We take out the batteries and anything that might spill onto the ground," Youngberg said. "When that piece of machinery finally goes to scrap, the grass grows again where it sat. This isn't a lot where grass doesn't grow for 10 years."
Youngberg has things -- inside and out -- sorted and lined up according to brand.
"I've worked at five other scrap yards," he said. "They were so disorganized you couldn't find anything. One guy I know has 12 people working for him, and they still have trouble finding parts off of scrapped machinery. I have three people working for me, and it works out just fine. I don't want any more than that."
In business now for 18 years, Youngberg noted that a major part of his business success is having a banker who sees his vision and backs him in his endeavors.
"I had this dream," Youngberg said. "I knew it was going to work. But there were times I would sit out on the front porch and look up at the sky and wonder if I was going to make it."
Now that Youngberg has established his business, he no longer travels to area farm machinery sales.
"I used to travel a circuit," Youngberg said. "I would make the rounds between Missouri, Alabama, Iowa and Minnesota, hitting sales and looking for salvage machinery. I don't do that so much anymore.
"I have people in place that I trust," he said. "If they call me and tell me something is green, I know it's green. Once this business was carrying itself, I felt I needed to be here to manage it."
And business is good. Youngberg ships parts to 48 states, Australia, Germany and Alaska. Customers drive from all over the nation to seek out hard to find parts for their own equipment.
Coming from a farming family, Youngberg also knows what it's like to need parts for a piece of equipment.
"We are open late during harvest time and on weekends," he said. "A farmer's harvest is dependent on the weather and his equipment.
"I worked on the wheat harvest crews enough to know when you're broke down, you're losing money," he continued. "We try to accommodate the farmers' schedules."
Youngberg also stocks new parts for many brands, from John Deere to Allis Chalmers, Massey Ferguson, International Harvester and more.
"The people of the Ozarks are pretty conservative," Youngberg said. "In hard times, they will go to a salvage yard before buying a new part. And that part will do what they need.
"The secret to success is to find a need and fill it," Youngberg said. "That's what I do."