On June 24, CLAAS, a worldwide agricultural equipment manufacturer, celebrated their milestone achievement as the company’s 450,000th combine was sold.
The new owners Merle and Sylvia Henry of New Vienna, Ohio bought the combine through the dealer Ohio Cat and came to La Vista for the ceremony.
They were previous John Deere owners but saw the benefits of the Lexion Combine during a live comparison of the Henrys’ John Deere combine and a Claas combine.
“They did a side-by-side test last fall to compare grain loss,” Merle Henry said. “The Claas beat (John Deere) by eight bushels.”
That test was the deciding factor, Henry said.
The Henrys were joined by Claas employees, Ohio Cat employees, Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce members and city of La Vista officials for the company’s traditional “First Glance” ceremony.
The Henrys were given the keys to their Special Edition Lexion 740TT combine, looked over the machine, autographed the inside of the side panel and Merle Henry test drove his new machine.
The German company made La Vista their North American headquarters in 2003.
The company started with just 40 employees at the time and only made 5 percent of each machine’s parts. They have now grown to 150 employees and are producing 40 percent of the machine parts.
June 24’s celebration also comes at a good time for the company, with 2013 marking the 100th year in business for CLAAS.