PELLA — Prior to the invention of the Vermeer "big, round baler," haymaking was a time-consuming, laborious job.

When a local farmer told Gary Vermeer the process had him on the verge of leaving the cattle business, Gary started designing a “one-person hay system” — a baler that a single person could operate and one that opened a whole new level of productivity in the field.

The introduction of the Vermeer round baler in 1971 had a major influence on how hay and cattle producers harvested hay. It also started a period of seismic evolution that built on an existing heritage of continuous innovation at Vermeer, yielding scores of new tools and implements — like the ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler introduced in 2017. Subsequent innovations have touched nearly every aspect of the hay and forage industry, ranging from how it is harvested, stored and ultimately fed.

“When my grandfather successfully brought the big round baler to the market, it forever changed the landscape of hay and cattle farms around the world,” said Vermeer President and CEO Jason Andringa. “From hay rings and new styles of hay barns to new attachments for tractor loaders and three-point arms, that baler became the center point of a whole new industry of hay tools. We are excited to celebrate with our team, our dealers and our customers as we reflect on my grandfather’s original invention and many of the new innovations we offer today.”

To help commemorate the half century of innovation, Vermeer has planned a number of activities that will take place at the factory, online and across and its dealerships.

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