Farmer. Inventor. Legacy
Feb 03, 2009
The sad news has quickly spread around the ag world about the passing of Gary Vermeer. He was 90 years old.
No doubt his legacy will long live on with the company he founded and the invention he is probably best know for—the round hay baler.
In 2008, I wrote a story about Vermeer Corporation
and the family behind the business. It launched our Machinery Maker series in Farm Journal magazine, and it’s also been published in our sister publication, Implement & Tractor. Looking back, the Vermeer story was the best to start off our stories detailing the founders and families of the ag machinery business.
I met with his son Bob and daughter Mary, who are running the company today. They told great stories about their father and his passion to make products that can make farmer’s jobs easier. The mantra “there has to be a better way,” come up in our conversation quite a bit.
This summer for the company’s 60th
anniversary, a book was released by a similar title as that common saying. “In Search of a Better Way” was written by family members and includes stories told by Gary and his wife Matilda as well as community members and friends. You can order a copy here.
During the 60th anniversary celebration
held in Pella, I caught a quick sight of Gary at the event. Although he was unable to make an appearance for the crowd, he was in a golf cart being shown around the Vermeer Mile and its displays for the celebration. Three members of the third generation of Vermeer family member have taken on leadership roles within the business, and the family’s succession planning is an effort they’ve gone to great lengths to plan by design. I’m sure he was very happy to see what his good intentions and mission to find the better way has built.
I send my most sincere sympathies to the Vermeer family and the extended family of Vermeer Corporation.