Featured Grower Series: Slover Brothers Trucking
Slover Brothers Trucking has been delivering amendments to farmers across the Central Valley since the 1940s. Originally started by Fred Slover and his three brothers, it is now owned and operated by Fred’s daughter Carylon Castro and her husband, Gary Castro, who have grown the fleet to a combination of more than 40 trucks and spreaders.
Slover Brothers are a distributor of Holloway products, especially Holloway Gypsum. Gary estimates that Slover delivers an average of 30 thousand tons a year of Holloway’s gypsum. They also distribute sulfur and lime products to fields.
“We’ve been with Holloway forever,” Gary says. “I’ve been with the company for 40 years and as long as I can remember we have been associated with Holloway. My father-in-law, Fred, remembers shoveling the amendments on and off the trucks with hand shovels!”
While Slover Brothers delivers Holloway products to growers, they specialize in dairy compost. By sourcing the raw materials from local dairies in the area, Slover makes, sells, delivers, and applies rich dairy compost to help enrich soil for a healthier plant and higher yield crop.
“Compost is the most used and sold product we have,” Gary says. “We move the most of that product over anything else. Most crops need compost, because if you’re farming, you need to fertilize”.
Gary started out as a driver for Slover Brothers in 1980 when his father-in-law asked if he wanted to come and work for the company.
“I always wanted to drive and then I started moving into management, and eventually I was running the business,” Gary says.
He says that the company has stayed pretty traditional year over year without much change to how they do business, other than upgrading equipment regularly. They also do a much higher volume than they did when Gary first joined the company. There is a lot more product to move and bigger commercial farming to supply amendments and compost to on a regular basis.
“Back in the 80s, we would have time off,” Gary reminises. “That has changed now and the only time you have off is when it rains! We are always very busy and there’s lots to do.”
Like the rest of California, the Central Valley has seen a lot of growth and change in the last 70 years since Slover Brothers Trucking first opened for business. Gary says he remembers hearing stories from the founding brothers of when they had to go really slow with the big, heavy trucks because the roads were soft from the summer heat and the trucks would sink.
Another challenge with the growth of the state is increased regulation. Gary notes that his operation is overseen by the air and water boards and that he spends a lot of his time as the owner ensuring he is meeting the necessary standards. Over the past 10 years, Gary has worked to rehab old equipment, especially spreaders, and upgrade to new to meet clean air standards.
“When you are working with the state, you have to deal with lots of different entities,” Gary notes.
While the industry will always have changes and challenges, Gary is happy to have the longstanding and mostly unchanging partnership with Holloway. His growers like the results they see from the gypsum and it provides Slover with access to even more products to deliver and spread.
“Not everyone can be a partner with Holloway, but the partnership gives me access to the best options for the growers’ money,” Gary says.
At Holloway, we appreciate our long-standing partnerships in the Valley and are happy to be a resource for Slover Brothers Trucking.