Tuesday, November 25, 2014

30 Years Ago

A farmer made this post about something big that happened in agriculture 30 years I had forgotten about.  International Harvester as we knew it was never the same.

CHICAGO, Nov. 23— Tenneco Inc. will soon conclude an agreement to buy the International Harvester Company's farm equipment division, according to a spokesman for independent dealers that market Tenneco's agricultural equipment.

Tenneco's farm equipment division is called J.I. Case, and Jim Sommer, the president of the J.I. Case and J.I. Case Canada Joint Agricultural Equipment Dealers Council, said that he had received reports that the agreement would be announced Monday.

One source at Case said Tenneco was expected to pay about $420 million for the division, of which $120 million would be in cash and $300 million in debentures.

Any agreement would have to resolve responsibility for the unfunded pension liabilities held by Harvester, and the costs of any closings of Harvester plants. 

The deal reduced the companies tractor building capacity by 40%.  The farm crash was in full swing and we lost half our farmers in this period.  Size of farms sky rocketed after this with less need for smaller tractors.

I remember one friend who I always thought wore "red underwear."  He is a businessman first and traded every piece of red equipment for green when this was announced.  He still farms with green today.

That day was as sad as the day Oliver Farm Equipment closed the doors and White picked out the profitable goodies like Tenneco did with IH.  I will never forget a farmer who didn't even use Oliver farm equipment tell me it was a sin to bury the Charles City, Iowa plant.  It would be a great museum today and more.

I guess we can say that about every old farm name that disappeared.  Each one affected us each differently when it happened.

Hats off to International Harvester, a great name in farming history.

Ed Winkle

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