Working for a company where many of the magazines are more than 150 years old, when companies celebrate anniversaries it's still interesting to note. For 2013 the Claas family - and yes, it is still a family business - hits 100 this year. And the third generation Claas - Cathrina - is taking the reins of the business.
This is a company that will have its 450,000th combine roll off its Omaha line in 2013. The firm first patented a "knotter" designed to tie perfect knots, which became a hallmark of the company's equipment. But they have gone far beyond knots to much more diversified equipment.
Founded by August Claas in 1913, the name most recognizable to U.S. farmers would probably be Helmut Claas, August's son and long-time innovator at the company. Heir Claas has been to the United States often, and last time I ran into him was at a Farm Progress Show. I've also met his daughter - Cathrina, who is pretty busy these days as she assumes leadership.
Claas got into the tractor business in a big way in Europe a few years ago when it purchased Renault Agriculture, while those machines haven't moved to the United States, they're becoming more popular as a European choice. The global ag equipment market is quite competitive with big Euro players like Claas and Fendt (a division of AGCO) mixing it up with Case IH (a division of Fiat) and John Deere. Chances are there will be more news from this
Happy Birthday! We're sure the celebration will happen throughout the year. And in fact the company is releasing a new book Titled "100 Years of Harvesting Excellence", the book contains nearly 400 pages on the history of CLAAS. The book will be available in bookstores this spring.
Dealers single out some faves
The North American Equipment Dealers Association has announced recipients of its first-ever Dealer's Choice Award. The winners were determined by evaluation data collected from the association's annual Dealer Manufacturer Relations Survey, which asks dealers to evaluate companies whose products they sell in key areas correlated to a dealer's operational model.
The award aims to recognize manufacturers "who in the eyes of the dealers are doing an exceptional job of providing them with top-quality products, parts, services and support," according to a media announcement.
Joe Dykes, NAEDA, notes: "These companies are to be complimented for their efforts to excel and assist in the key areas related to the dealer's business operations. While these companies came out on top it should be noted that many of the companies evaluated by the dealers also rated extremely well."
Congrats to the winners, and for the rest of the industry, good luck in 2014.