Valmont® Irrigation is a globally recognized leader in the agriculture industry, but, like any company, we had humble beginnings. In our case, it all started with farming...
In 1946, Robert B. Daugherty began looking for a good business opportunity. He recognized the potential of a small manufacturing company on a farm just west of Valley, Nebraska, owned by an inventor named Sam McCleneghan. After careful consideration, Daugherty invested $5,000 - nearly his entire life savings - in Valley® Manufacturing and began building farm elevators.
In 1947, Frank Zybach developed a prototype center pivot irrigation machine. In the years that followed, he modified and refined the design to improve operational efficiency and, in 1954, licensed his patent to Robert Daugherty. Our engineers spent the next decade refining Zybach's innovation - making it sturdier, taller and more reliable - and converting it from a hydraulic power system to electric drive.
We began to manufacture steel pipe and tubing for irrigation equipment in 1959 and saw an opportunity to develop markets throughout the United States for original equipment manufacturers, steel service centers, and public and private projects.
In the 1960s, Valley Manufacturing become Valmont Industries, Inc., to help differentiate our company from others similarly named throughout the United States. We also saw the first international sale in the 60s to a dealer in Lyon, France. In 1969, we began hot-dip galvanization of our Water Drive, as a continuous improvement endeavor.
During the 70s, we began developing overseas markets, which formed Valmont International. Rubber tires and the gear drive were included with the introduction of the Standard Electric and the Long Span Electric in 1974. 1974 was a busy year, as we unveiled the first corner option for center pivots to the mechanized irrigation industry, which gave farmers the opportunity to irrigate additional acres. Another industry first occurred in this decade - the Valley gearbox began production in Valley, NE. We introduced the Low Pressure Water Drive, which promoted water and energy savings. The 2-Wheel E-Z Towable, the Standard Span Slurry, and the "Little Fielder" linear created additional uses for irrigation equipment.
In the 1980s, we integrated computers into modern farming practice and revealed another significant breakthrough: the cams™ Management System, which enables growers to quickly and confidently program and monitor their equipment to automatically accomplish a full range of irrigation, coordination, chemigation, and fertilization functions based on different variables. The Valmonitor was introduced - unique in remote, computer-aided, irrigation scheduling. Recognizing that the equipment dealers were working hard and already selling customers on using computers, we established ValCom Microcomputer as a division in 1982. Also in the 80s, we introduced the Linear (Rainger™) System and Universal Linear with ditch or hose feed to give our growers an irrigation choice for irregular field situations. Low pressure sprinklers were also introduced, as was the 6000 series center pivot, which provided multiple span and pipe sizes to meet the growing needs of farmers.
The need for galvanizing grew in the 1990s, and our facility in Valley was at capacity meeting internal demands. So, we built new galvanizing plants in West Point, Nebraska, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, enabling us to meet other manufacturers' needs for protective coatings. We have continued to add galvanizing operations in the U.S. and worldwide to help fulfill internal galvanization needs and, simultaneously, respond to increasing global demand for protective coatings. In 1990, the North American Irrigation and International Irrigation segments were combined to form Valmont Irrigation. Also in the 90s, we introduced the Valley Controls™ Pro Panel and Valley Controls™ Base Station, both of which laid the groundwork for increasing pivot control from the panel and from home. The 4-Wheel E-Z Tow was developed, allowing for easier towing of a center pivot. Our industry exclusive modular control panel design made upgrading easy as technology advanced.
In 1993, Mogens Bay became Chairman and CEO of Valmont Industries, Inc., and made it a priority to rationalize the Company's portfolio and industry leadership – divesting it of any businesses not tightly aligned with Valmont’s core strengths in infrastructure and agriculture, and concertedly investing in those strengths through global expansion.
We unveiled the Valley 8000 series center pivot, which gave growers yet another irrigation option, as well as introduced the Valley Precision Corner®. In 1996, we released the Valley LEN Spray sprinkler. Remote pivot control increased with Remote Link, and PolySpan® was introduced as a corrosive water solution.
A series of acquisitions in Europe and expansion of facilities in China, plus entrance into South America in 1997, South Africa in 1999, and the Middle East soon thereafter, greatly enhanced our international presence. Stainless Steel emerged on the market to provide growers with a solution to fit their needs and operations. Our Pocket Pro Kyocera phone/PDA put center pivot control our customers' hands from potentially anywhere in the world. By 2004, we had opened a total of six manufacturing facilities worldwide, signed up dealers in 40 countries, and sold equipment to growers in over 100 countries. Also in 2004, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary and released the Valley Tracker remote communication product line.
2005 - 2006
We introduced the Valley DualSpan™, a versatile center pivot to help meet the needs of specialty crop producers. Our 7000 series center pivot was released to give growers an economical irrigation option for their fields.
2008 - 2009
In 2008, we unveiled GPS Position for center pivots. Our patented GPS Ready control panels allows for GPS Position calculations to be made in the panel, rather than on a separate, external computer. In 2009, we launched the 5000 series center pivot to give growers with smaller fields a premier irrigation option.
2010 was a big year for us! Our patented GPS Guidance product for corners and linears made its way to the global market, which eliminated the need for buried wire guidance. We released the Bender30™, an option for center pivots that allows growers to irrigate additional land by bending their center pivot around a tree line, building, or other obstacle. Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) for center pivots was introduced, the ultimate precision irrigation product that allows growers to adjust the amount of water applied to their field by either sector (VRI Speed Control) or zone (VRI Zone Control). Our first touch technology product, the Valley TouchPro™ control panel, was launched to make panel programming easier. Valmont Irrigation China opened their doors in Beijing, which started the process to develop a new market for the Valley brand.
The Bender160™ for center pivots was introduced, which allows a center pivot to bend up to 60 degrees in either or both directions to irrigate more land previously missed due to obstacles in the field. We also entered the social media realm with the Valley Twitter feed and Valley YouTube Channel.
We launched the Valley Facebook Page, which allows our customers, employees, and fans to connect with both our brand in way they have never been able to before! Our award-winning Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) was introduced as a feature of the Pro2 control panel.
As Valley Irrigation has continued to expand its products, services, and international reach, we have adopted a matrix management structure to overlay geographic responsibilities with global product lines.