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Ag-Chem

Ag-Chem

Ag-Chem Equipment Company, Inc. was established in 1963 as a distributor of specialized spray equipment for agricultural use. The company found itself at a crossroad in 1967, when its major supplier announced that a large agriculture equipment company would begin distributing its line as well. The product line of Hahn, Inc. brought in 95 percent of Ag-Chem sales at the time. Ag-Chem founder A. E. McQuinn responded to the dilemma with a lawsuit against Hahn, and he began transforming his distribution company into a manufacturing business. In 1969, Ag-Chem introduced its first self-propelled sprayer, the Ag-Gator. Ag-Chem completed the transition from distributor to manufacturer in 1971.

The company marked the beginning of its second decade in business with another new product, the Terra-Gator--a forerunner of the high-flotation equipment destined to be a cornerstone for the company. Thriving in the strong agricultural market, Ag-Chem made its first acquisition in 1974. AgTec, Inc., a former subsidiary of Stokely-Van Camp, manufactured spray application equipment used in orchards, gardens, groves, and vineyards.

The United States farm economy was severely depressed from 1981 to 1986. Major U.S. manufacturers were faced with consolidations, takeovers by foreign companies, and the elimination of established product lines. Ag-Chem continued to dominate its markets in 1981 is spite of deteriorating economic conditions. Ag-Chem lost money in 1985 and 1986. Its locally traded over-the-counter stock sold for pennies a share. In 1987, the company closed its Salina, Kansas, plant and consolidated production in Jackson: total company assets were reduced from $21.9 million to $11.6 million. According to the company, its cost cutting programs and the loyalty of employees and suppliers helped Ag-Chem survive the period.

Ag-Chem recorded a company high $6.1 million in net earnings in 1990. Sales and customer support offices had been opened across the United States and in Canada in an effort to expand its business area. Fertilizer dealers made up Ag-Chem's largest customer group. Municipalities and private waste disposal contractors continued to be the primary purchasers in the industrial segment of the business. In 1991, Ag-Chem purchased Lor-Al, Inc., a Minnesota-based competitor. Ag-Chem gained full ownership of the high-tech products and systems maker, Soil Teq, Inc., in 1996.

In 2001, Ag-Chem Equipment Company, Inc. was purchased by AGCO Corporation, whose focus is to provide high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world. AGCO offers a broad range of tractors, combines, sprayers, forage and tillage equipment, implements and hay tools. In 2004 saw Ag-Chem Europe start to integrate with the Challenger brand (another brand of AGCO Corporation). The Ag-Chem models began to produce under the AGCO or Challenger brands.

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