By Zac B. Sarian

Some of the things we observe about successful agri people is that they are very hardworking. They are also creative in their strategies. One fellow that readily comes to mind is Danilo Baylon of Candaba, Pampanga who was so hardworking when we met him about 17 years ago or thereabouts. That time we featured him on the cover of Agriculture Magazine.

An executive of a feed company brought us to him so we could interview him because he was so successful as a duck raiser and a distributor of poultry feeds, particularly duck feeds. Baylon related that he worked practically 16 hours a day. At 4 in the morning, he would be awake plotting the routes of his ten trucks that would be delivering feeds. At 7 in the morning, he would bring his children to their school. After that, he would go out visiting customers in Pampanga and nearby provinces.

He was also very disciplined. He said he did not smoke, did not drink and no womanizing. He was focused on his business. It could be said that Danilo’s is a rags-to-riches story. While enrolled in an engineering course in Baliuag, Bulacan, he was a security guard at night for a bus company. When he continued his studies in Manila, he also got employed as security guard in Quiapo.

Always paid cash 

One strategy that worked wonders for Baylon was paying cash for whatever he purchased. When he was buying shell (suso) from Laguna Lake to feed his ducks, he always paid cash so he could get a big discount. For instance, he paid only P18 per sack if he paid cash. If on credit, the price was P25 per bag. The same was true in his feed distribution. He paid cash for the feeds so he could get a P50 discount per bag. He was then distributing 40,000 bags per month so he really made a big monthly income.

About ten years later from our first meeting, we met him at a livestock show in Manila. When we inquired about his feed distribution, he told us he already had his own feedmill and his brand is Danway. He said some thought his feeds were imported. Actually, Danway is derived from his first name and that of his wife Liwayway.

Eventually, we learned that Baylon had become an integrator himself. That means he had contract growers of broilers, which also means he had created a sure market for his own feeds. More recently, a good friend told us that an engineer was building a P150-million feedmill for Baylon.

Another hard-working guy 

Another hard-working and innovative guy that we met last year is Jose Madriaga of Tay-ac, Bantay, Ilocos Sur. He is a high school graduate who was named Farmer Hero by a big seed company because of his success in growing hybrid vegetables and other high-value crops.

Madriaga is really hardworking. He grows various crops on his six- hectare property throughout the year so cash flow is non-stop. He could do that because he has water pumps to irrigate his crops whenever necessary. He is so hardworking that he would work even at night irrigating his crops. He is also innovative. For instance, he intercrops his onion with tomato so he can harvest two crops from one parcel at the same time. The tomato also repels some insects that attack onions, according to him.

He likewise practices relay-cropping so there is continuous production from one parcel. For instance, when his Maserati shallot is 50 days old, he dibbles corn seeds in appropriate distances in his shallot field so that he will have something to harvest not long after he had harvested his shallot.