PhiBer began officially manufacturing commercial hay tools in 1996, but the story was already being written 20 years prior to this. The first twenty years of Philip Friesen’s career as a dairy farmer were marked by having a herd of registered cows that, when the herd was dispersed, had risen to one of the top seven producing herds in Manitoba. This was done by using superior genetics and producing high quality feed. This experience developed the necessary understanding that his farm would need as it transitioned from simply being the consumer to providing others with quality forage in the commercial hay business. It soon became apparent that more efficient equipment was needed to harvest large numbers of acres while maintaining high quality feed.
Driving through Wisconsin visiting dairies, Phil saw the inefficient way farmers were spreading small square bales onto their ginseng. Seeing a market for his straw, he knew he would have to get a machine into their hands that would spread big square bales instead. Frustrated with the equipment that was currently on the market, Phil sought out Harvey Bergen to build a machine that would benefit his own farm.
A skilled machinist by trade, Harvey also brought with him many years of experience working with farm equipment. Where Phil had the vision and ideas, Harvey had the ability to turn the ideas into reality. It was at this time that Phil and Harvey came up with an idea of a machine that provided the ginseng industry with a large square bale processor instead of using small square bales. While Phil’s initial intent was to simply let the famers use the machine if they would buy his straw, there was immediate demand for the complete purchase of the machine as well as his straw. Through this venture PhiBer Manufacturing Inc. was born.
As time went on, Phil and Harvey’s ideas were pooled and later, with Phil’s son Derek, the need for more innovative and efficient equipment was addressed. Talented employees also contributed ideas of design and problem solving solutions that come with designing innovative equipment.
When PhiBer started operations in 1996, it was in a 750 square foot mechanics garage. As PhiBer grew they continued to add space and today manufacture in approximately 33,000 square feet.