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At 50, Summers Manufacturing keeps riding waves of agriculture

FARGO-North Dakota-based Summers Manufacturing is celebrating 50 years of making "field tested tough" farm equipment. And the company's president, Debra Anderson, is celebrating a milestone anniversary of her own. She has been with the company st...

Summers Manufacturing is celebrating 50 years of making farm equipment like this coil packer. Photo special to The Forum.
Summers Manufacturing is celebrating 50 years of making farm equipment like this coil packer. Photo special to The Forum.

FARGO-North Dakota-based Summers Manufacturing is celebrating 50 years of making "field tested tough" farm equipment.

And the company's president, Debra Anderson, is celebrating a milestone anniversary of her own. She has been with the company started by her father, Harley Summers, for 40 years.

"It's been an exciting journey," she said. "There have been highs and lows. We went through the '80s when things were tough and things are tough again now. But we're resilient."

Anderson said what sets the company apart is its flexibility in meeting customers' needs and commitment to change.

"Manufacturers have to keep moving because farming practices are changing and they're bigger and they have precision farming," she said. "We have to keep up with them."

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Brian Perkuhn, Summers Manufacturing vice president of sales, said another advantage is the company's employees understand agriculture.

"A lot of us that work for the company are involved in farming practices on their family farms or with friends," he said. "So we get to hear what the farmers need and are looking for and we try to help out with those solutions."

Summers has 12 product lines, manufacturing ag equipment like tillage, land rollers, field sprayers, mounted attachments and rock picking implements. The company sells equipment throughout the United States and Canada and also exports to Eastern Europe and Australia.

Summers will be introducing some new options in vertical tillage this fall, Anderson said.

"Our motto is field tested tough, and we aim to do just that," Anderson said. "We test it in the field, make sure it's not going to bust up and break, and it's something that we're known for. It's something that they know if they buy a piece of Summers equipment it's going to last a long time and do the job they need."

Harley Summers founded the company in Maddock, N.D., in 1965. Summers opened a Devils Lake, N.D., facility in 1980 and a distribution center in Aberdeen, S.D., in 2002.

In 2007, Summers became an employee-owned company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

"As family members were looking to get out of the business, we were looking for options and we couldn't find any company that was willing to purchase us and still maintain the community presence and our employees' jobs," Anderson said. "We looked at the ESOP as a way out for the family, but it became something more for the employees."

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Anderson said employee ownership adds value to the business because employees take more pride in what they do.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Summers is holding open houses July 30 at its Devils Lake facility and Oct. 15 at its Maddock location.

If you go

What: Summers Manufacturing 50th anniversary open house

Where: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 30 in Devils Lake, N.D. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 15 in Maddock, N.D.

Online: www.summersmfg.com

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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