ACGO celebrates special day in Jackson
By Renae B. Vander Schaaf
Date Modified: 07/09/2012 8:33 AM
JACKSON, Minn. — AGCO executive Bob Crain listened when the firm's dealers told him that if the company was to be taken seriously by farmers, they needed to manufacture tractors in the United States.
As a result, a 75,000-square-foot addition was added to the AGCO plant in Jackson. The expansion was celebrated last week when company founder Robert Ratliff and current CEO Martin Richenhagen came to the southwest Minnesota community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
AGCO formed in 1990. Its roots in the Jackson community start with Al McQuinn, who founded Ag-Chem in 1963 and built a manufacturiing facility in 1970. AGCO purchased Ag-Chem and built its plant at the same location.
The Georgia-based company, first purchased Deutz Allis and have added to their holdings since. Their brands include Caterpillar, Fendt, Valtra and Massey Ferguson.
"I define AGCO as always growing," said Richenhagen. "Despite the difficult economic times, we remain profitable. We are growing not only in North America, but also in China, Germany, Finland and France.
AGCO has three main plants in North America. Two are in Kansas and one is in Jackson. The Massey Ferguson 8600 series, Massey Ferguson 7600 series, Challenger MT 600D series and the Challenger MT 500D series are made in Jackson. It continues to manufacture TerraGator and Rogater and more.
Tractors and equipment are made from start to finish at the Jackson plant.
"Agriculture and innovation has a new home and its right here at Jackson," said Eric Fisher, Director of Operations for AGCO in Jackson and a native of Carroll, Iowa.
Fisher grew up in Carroll, Iowa. His parents were pilots with an airport to run. It was a family business, in which they all helped with whatever needed to be done. Mowing, that took three days to get it all done once, helping his parents maintenance airplanes.
"We kids were loaned out a lot," said Fisher. "I detasselled corn, walked beans, drove tractors for area farmers."
Pride is evident, especially when the first new tractor rolled off the assembly line.
"On that day we had a bit of celebration when the first Massey Ferguson came off the assembly line," said Eric Fisher. "I took a permanent pen and instructed every one to autograph the tractor. That sense of accomplishment we all felt was pure joy. That is what I like about my job."