When Travis Edmundson was growing up in Harrison, Montana, there were three different hay stacking companies using Stinger Stackers in the area.
Later, when Travis moved to central Montana, he didn’t notice any of the efficient machines in the region. That prompted Travis to say to his wife, Liz, in 2016, “I think we should purchase a stacker for this area and start a stacking company.”
In the spring of 2016, that is exactly what Travis and Liz decided to do.
At the time Travis was working at the Dearborn Ranch. “We hired drivers.” Liz told the Sun Times. “The first summer was not easy. We only worked the first cutting and then had a breakdown.” By the time things were running again, only a small part of haying season remained.
In 2017 the family moved to the Fairfield area, acquiring a house and shop on 8th Lane. Travis ran the stacker for the first cutting, and, as Liz describes it, “that is when things started to take off in central Montana.” They brought in another driver, Josh Martin, for the second cutting and the 2017 straw season.
Liz said that the family had been attending Faith Bible Church in Fairfield for six years and grew to like the community and the people in the area. The couple has four children, aged three to nine.
During the summer of 2017, Travis and Liz moved to Cascade, going to work for the Dana Ranch nearby. “We decided to take the offer from Dana Ranch and continue with our stacking business, said Liz. For the 2018 season, driver Josh Martin returned.
In 2018, Summit Stacking almost tripled the number of bales handled.
This year, Summit has added a second Stinger Stacker and have hired two drivers for the 2019 season.
Liz and Travis describe the Stinger as the “quickest most versatile self-propelled bale stacker on the market, which has been manufactured to handle any terrain. It is equipped to stack any size large bale, 3x3, 3x4, 4x4 and large rounds.”
The speed and versatility of the stackers are needed, as Summit’s service area has expanded to include Teton, Cascade, Pondera, Toole and Lewis & Clark Counties. They handle a wide range of jobs, from as few as 100 bales, up to 5,000 bales a year for some of their customers.
Asked how fast they can work a field, Liz said that “if the field is smooth and the stack is in the field, we can do 70-80 bales per hour, with an average of 60 bales.”
When asked what the advantage is for farmers and ranchers in hiring a stacker, the couple said that their goal is to “get the bales off quickly so that the producer can get their [irrigation] water turned back on” as soon as possible.
Liz says that she also runs the stacker when a driver needs a day off, or some extra help. She does some bookkeeping on the side, coaches at Cascade School and helps at the Dana Ranch “a lot.” She adds, “Ranch wife stuff… cooking for brandings, maintenance on the ranch owner’s house, yard work.”
Travis grew up working alongside his dad who was a ranch hand at the Rice Ranches in Harrison, Montana. Travis then worked at a few other ranches in the Harrison area. The couple moved to this region in 2011 when Travis took a cow-boss position at the Dearborn Ranch. Liz, who grew up in Eastern Oregon, came to Montana to attend MSU.
For more information, contact Travis at 209.2088, or Liz at 438.7570.