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All in the family: Beskau Transport has been in business for 35 years

Fifty-five years ago, George Marschall approached Jim Beskau with an offer. Marschall operated two transportation businesses, delivering both students and milk.

Marschall wanted to get rid of the milk route, and the man he approached about buying it was Beskau.

Eventually, Beskau agreed. All these years later, it sure looks as though Beskau made a wise decision.

He and his wife Betty have since passed the business down to three of their sons, who operate it off Goodwin Avenue just south of Vermillion.

That their business has led to the gainful employment of three of their children brings Jim and Betty much pride, according to their eldest son Gary.

"They are very proud," Gary Beskau said. "When they sold us the business, it was hard for them to let it go."

Gary, Mark and David Beskau are the owners of the business. It was 15 years ago that they acquired the business from their parents, who now live in Hastings.

"We've never done anything else," Gary Beskau said. "I've always had it in me to do this."

Beskau Transport got its start in 1957 when Jim had one truck. He'd haul milk from 10 farms to the Hastings Co-op Creamery. Nowadays, some 30 employees drive 22 trucks making 80 stops a day. Every month, they haul almost 25 million pounds of milk for the creamery here and one in Le Sueur. Trucks run 365 days a year, just like the farms that provide the milk.

Beskau's milk trucks pick up milk in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota farms.

In addition to the milk business, the Beskaus are now in the freight business, something that had modest beginnings in the late 1970s. The transport business was begun to haul milk cartons from Kansas City, Mo., to Hastings for the creamery. Now, drivers in the transport arm of the business total more than two million miles on the road a year. Many of those trips are made to Houston, Texas, where supplies destined for the oil fields of western North Dakota are picked up.

There are fewer dairies dotting the countryside these days than there were years ago. The Beskaus now make fewer stops, but the ones they do make are bigger and more efficient, Gary Beskau said.