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Agrimarketing : April 2008
rows. The most popular is 16 rows. A 24-row planter with all the fea- tures available has a retail price of around $160,000 and a 36-row $220,000." The company first entered the planter business in 1975. "That's when Jon invented the Rear Fold planter toolbar," Veatch says. "Planters were getting much larger and needed to be hauled from field to field, often over narrow bridges and gates." To do so, farmers loaded their planters up on trailers, a time-consum- ing effort that required nearly 40 min- utes. "The Rear Fold allowed them to fold up the planter from their tractor seat and keep moving," Veatch says. "It increased planting performance, speed and capacity." "The Rear Fold was innovative and I thought it had tremendous market potential," Kinzenbaw says. "So in 1976 I purchased ten acres of land at our current site and started construction of the first building there." The company moved from Ladora to its Williamsburg location and started production of the first- ever horizontally folding tool bar. That same year, it also added a larger 600-bushel auger wagon. MARKETING SUCCESS Kinzenbaw prides himself on his ag background and close ties to farming. "When I started the business, farmers would tell me what they needed," he says. Kinzenbaw had a knack for coming up with a solution. Word on the street was, if you needed something, see Jon ... he can fix/build anything. Originally, he took and delivered orders directly from his shop, basi- cally within a small geographic area. However, as word spread about KINZE's innovations, demand grew and by 1978, KINZE had its first dealer --- B & B Products, a shortline KINZE dealer located in Flanagan, IL, that remains a dealer today. Then things really started to heat up. In 1981, KINZE had 21 dealers, in 1982 it had 73, in 1983 it had 109 and by 1990 it reached its current number of 260. "The majority of our dealers started out as New Holland deal- ers," McKown says. "Since New Holland didn't offer a planter, we provided them with that option." "We have about the number of dealers we want," McKown says. "However, we do have coverage and we would like to upgrade our repre- sentation in others." Lean and mean, the company has seven dis- trict sales managers work- ing with its dealer force. It also hosts several workshops for its dealers throughout the year pro- viding product training, service, selling and other topics. Each year, the com- pany hosts separate family style picnics for its employees and dealers at its head- quarters . Although it doesn't offer floor planning or other financial pro- grams, it currently has a pilot under test.In addition to having engineer- ing talent, Kinzenbaw also has demonstrated considerable promo- tional skills. One of his biggest coups was at the 1974 Farm Progress Show. He had just developed a 12 bottom plow. It takes a big tractor to pull a big plow, so he custom-built a 4-wheel-drive tractor featuring two John Deere axle and transmission assemblies and two Detroit Diesel engines. Painted blue and coined "Big Blue," the tractor drew huge crowds at farm shows for several years. Kinzenbaw also had the foresight to hire a marketing communications agency to build awareness for his company and its brand. Lessing Flynn, Des Moines, IA, has handled the KINZE account for more than 25 years. "I personally have a lot of history and many great memories with Jon and KINZE," says Connor Flynn who still handles the account. "It's been a wonderful expe- rience with a lot of great people. "When I first approached KINZE, I knew they were an innovative com- pany run by a very entrepreneurial The KINZE sign is a familiar landmark for drivers on 1-80 in Iowa. The planter pivots from planting position to in-line transport position every 15 minutes and reaches 85 feet in height. SUPPORTING THE FUTURE Last year Jon and Marcia Kinzenbaw established the KINZE Manufactur- ing Professorship in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University. "Providing a professorship to the faculty at Iowa State in ag machinery will further enhance the machinery industry," Kinzenbaw says. "The faculty also will have an impact on the students they teach, helping them deepen their passion for agriculture." KINZE's founder and owner also established the Jon and Marcia Kinzenbaw Scholarship in agriculture which is an endowment benefiting one ag student each year. April 2008 AgriMarketing 31 (more on page 33)
May 2008 Supplement