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New Zealand Native Invests in the Future of Montana Agriculture

Brett Severinsen’s journey toward becoming a successful Zimmatic dealer began rather atypically – actually, it began nearly 8,000 miles away.

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“I’m originally from New Zealand – raised on a sheep and cattle operation on the North Central Island. I also spent time working on the South Island before traveling to the U.S. in 1987,” Severinsen said. “At that time, I was part of an agriculture exchange program that sent me to a ranch near Bynum, Montana. I loved the ranching life, but after a while I felt led to do something different. I then worked for Greyn Fertilizer for a while and later I began my own business building houses – which is what my granddad had done in New Zealand.”

It was during that time that Brett met his now wife, Missy. Married in 1999, they have six children and live near Fairfield, Montana today.

“Brett has always been the kind of guy that can figure anything out. I love his ability to see what things can be,” said Missy. “We look at things from different angles and that can be challenging, but he’s able to put things together and make them work. That ability makes it easy for him to design irrigation projects – big and small.”

Their full service Zimmatic dealership, Severinsen Irrigation, is located in the north central part of Montana. When it opened, there were 86,000 irrigated acres in the region and no local Zimmatic dealer.

“I felt like I was a good fit as a dealer for the area,” he said. “And, because we’re a full service Zimmatic dealer, we have also become certified to sell other Lindsay products including Watertronics™ pump stations, Growsmart Precision VRI, FieldNET® and other plug and play add-ons.”

“...when you do business with us, you do business with the owner... We love what we do – especially visiting with farmers and ranchers and finding the best irrigation solutions for their operations.”

The only family owned and operated irrigation business in the area, the Severinsen team is made up of four full-time staff members – Brett manages sales, service and designs; Tyler Strutz completes the service work and fills in where needed; Jeff Thompson, the owner/operator of Western Sky Enterprises, does the welding and other projects; and Missy is in charge of the books and computer-related part of the business. In addition, Shelby Strutz, Tyler’s wife, fills in at the office on a part-time basis, when needed.

“We are a small, local business and when you do business with us, you do business with the owner,” Severinsen said. “We love what we do – especially visiting with farmers and ranchers and finding the best irrigation solutions for their operations.”

Severinsen also is involved in an irrigation research project at Montana State University’s North Ag Research Center (NARC), which focuses on water saving technologies. He and his team designed the center pivot irrigation system and installed two Zimmatic pivots, a Watertronics pump station, a weather station, soil sensors and Variable Rate Irrigation – all monitored and controlled remotely through FieldNET.

“We’re excited about the research NARC can now do with the Growsmart variable rate irrigation system to identify crops that use water more efficiently to help Montana growers – and I wanted our Zimmatic pivots to be a part of this project,” he said.