Vermeer is a manufacturer of industrial and agricultural equipment. The company was founded in 1948 when Gary Vermeer created a mechanical hoist to ease the process of unloading his grain wagon during harvest. Farm neighbors observed his hoist invention and they wanted one as well, so Gary decided to start his own business. From then on, he has introduced more products intended to make farming easier. Now, the main products that the company sells are Bale Processors, Bale Wrappers, Balers, Disc Mowers, Hay Rakes, Hay Tedders, and Trailed Mowers. Vermeer serves the construction, landscaping, and environmental markets domestically and internationally from locations in the Netherlands, Germany, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, the US, and Brazil. The headquarters is located in Pella, Iowa.

When we got there, we were immediately brought into a conference room for an introduction to the company’s history and values as a family business. Some interesting innovations that we (personally) previously did not know included the fact that Vermeer was the company to invent the cylindrical hay baler. In addition to this, one interesting anecdote was their innovative brush cutter which cut horizontally instead of the usual vertical method. This new method for brush cutting was accidentally discovered because the product tester hit the wrong lever, causing it to move horizontally (and work better!). As a note to Vermeer’s dominance in the market, it happens to be a third generation family owned business, which is highly unusual in today’s society.

After we heard about the history and the products, our representative showed us around the warehouse floor. There was a lot of large machinery, however, they do not exclusively sell large machinery, so there were some smaller products as well. Lots of mustard yellow paint.

We were impressed not only by the largeness of the products, but also by the overall company organization. They have strong foundations to work from, as demonstrated by their perseverance as a family business.

— Madeline Dice and Melissa Van Baren