by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Agrimarketing : October 2008
COVER STORY/continued from page 17 service” dealers who carry a major tractor line. Early on, the company saw the value of advertising. “In Search of a Better Way,” the new book about the Vermeer family tells the following story: Lessing-Flynn, would work with Vermeer for years to come, urged Gary to advertise. The company wound up purchasing a quarter page ad (promoting its mobile corn grinder). Gary remembered his trips to the post office. “They brought those inquiries out with bushel baskets. We had thousands of inquiries in one week, and I had one man working for me. No secretary to answer. The company ramped up production to make 1,000 power takeoff drives a week for hammers and shellers and did for years. “We made 40,000 of those things,” Gary told a group of customers in 1997. “And that’s when we started to make some money.” The company continues to make its prospects aware of its products by advertising in ag-related publica- tions, exhibiting at farm shows, direct mail and other means. “I think our most effective sales activity,” Core says, “is on-farm trail demon- strations. We also invest heavily in dealer training to make sure they have the right message and know- how when working on a sale.” But the forage handling business is a highly competitive market space with at least seven manufacturers Vermeer’s Ag Team (L to R) Jay Van Roekel, Product Manager; Dan Belzer, Marketing Manager; Mark Core, VP Forage Solutions; Joe Michaels, Forage Solutions Products Director; and Ed Lapthorn, Sales Manager, Forage Solutions. Phil Egging, Forage Solutions Engineering Manager, is not pictured. But the round baler market has been pretty resilient through the years, Core reports. Anormal swing in the overall industry sales volume runs between five and ten percent, helping manufactures have a good handle on their manufacturing needs and resulting inventory. “A20% swing which can be common in other lines of farm equipment, is huge for the round baler market and happens rarely,” Core says. Earlier this year, to give an addi- tional boost to the business, Vermeer, together with Lely Corp., jointly pur- chased Welger Maschinenfabrik THE LARGE ROUND BALER What inspires the development of a new product? In the large round baler’s case, company founder Gary Vermeer tells the story in the recently published book about his life In Search Of A Better Way. While taking a Sunday walk with fellow farmer and friend, Vermeer was told, “I’m gonna sell my cows.” “Why in the world you want to do that for?” “I’m tired of putting up hay.” “I thought if this fella, who ought to be in the cattle business, is tired of putting up hay, there ought to be a better way to do it.” The next day, Gary marched into the company’s experimental department where he collaborated with one of his employees to design a prototype of the machine that was brought to the market just six months later and is so ubiquitous today. The large round baler made haying a one-person operation, replacing the back breaking work which required at least a four-person crew. AM demand worldwide for increased protein from livestock such as meat and dairy, appears to be solid,” he says. “North America agriculture will continue to play a significant role in providing it. In addition, we are see- ing greater demand for our products from other parts of the world.” He also sees a great future for the company in the handling of biomass for the bioenergy industry. More on that later. NOT ALWAYS EASY There are not many organizations that can stand a huge drop in its rev- enues in one year. But that’s the challenge Vermeer Corporation faced in early 2000 when the .com bubble burst. Arelated industry that was also taken down with it was the telecommunications business which, at the time, was busy re-wiring the nation and world with underground cable to handle the high speed transmission of data. Vermeer Corporation was one the primary providers of equipment to install the underground cable. “It was a very difficult time,” Bob Vermeer says. “We just couldn’t believe a market could fall apart so quickly, but it did.” But as the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. “Unfortunately, we had to reduction in our workforce,” he says. That is not easy for any organization, especially October 2008 ¦ AgriMarketing 19 sporting their own models, includ- ing lines from each of the major trac- tor manufacturers. Acomplicating factor is the current lack of profitabil- ity that livestock producers — Ver- meer customers — are having to grapple with due to higher-than-nor- mal feed prices. GmbH, a German-based manufac- turer of balers and baler-wrappers. “Welger has a strong presence in a part of the world we want to partici- pate in with our forage product line.” Long term, Core remains opti- mistic about the ag market and the segment that Vermeer serves. “The
November December 2008