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Iowa History Daily: February 2 - Gary Vermeer

Iowa History Daily: On February 2, 2009, Iowa inventor and agricultural innovator Gary Vermeer passed away. A major contributor to agricultural technology who founded Pella’s Vermeer Manufacturing, Gary Vermeer built a multinational company while continuing to innovate from his hometown.

An inventive tinkerer by nature, Vermeer invented a mechanical wagon hoist for unloading corn in 1943. After several neighbors saw the utility of the hoist and requested Vermeer make more for sale, he obliged. Five years later, in 1948, Vermeer opened a small one-man job shop on his farm and named it Vermeer Manufacturing. 

Vermeer’s company flourished under his leadership. In the 1950s, the company introduced Portable Pow-R Drive, a self-propelled irrigation system, as well as a hay conditioner and cutter. Gary Vermeer continued to drive the company vision, and during the 1960s Vermeer invented the first machine to dig, transport and replace large trees. In 1971, Gary Vermeer invented the first larger round hay baler. During the 1980s and 1990s, the company continued to innovate, building large trenchers to lay underground pipelines and horizontal directional drills.

Today, Vermeer stands with nearly 3,000 team members across 600 dealerships worldwide. Still headquartered in Pella, the privately held company distributes products globally while remaining true to Gary Vermeer’s original vision. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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