Ag innovation a constant for Unverferth Manufacturing

KALIDA — From its start in 1948, Unverferth Manufacturing worked to make farming easier and more economical.

Some things never change. Every employee of the company, which has production facilities in on the western edges of Kalida and Delphos, has the opportunity to shape the future of agriculture.

“The company continually innovates its products. We’ve got great workers here, who are also farmers,” said Jerry Ecklund, communications coordinator for the Putnam County-headquartered manufacturer. “They want to see the products work in the field just as well for them as for anybody else.”

That led to a push to continually innovate as Unverferth became a leading manufacturer of tillage equipment; pull-type sprayers; fertilizer applicators; hay and grain handling equipment, carts and wagons; and agricultural dual and specialty wheels.

“Farms are getting bigger, and they need to cover more ground faster,” Ecklund said. “The springs seem to be condensed, as are the planting windows they’ve got because of the wetter springs traditionally. Being able to get the crop in earlier with bigger equipment is a great asset to them. In the fall, being able to get that crop out of the field with things like our grain carts is very important at the same time.”

Three years ago, the company launched the Raptor Strip Tillage Tool. It tills up the strip of land needed for planting, and it can apply dry or liquid fertilizer as it goes along. It has the benefit of requiring less fertilizer, which doubled in cost two years ago.

“It’s a ready-to-plant seed bed,” Ecklund said. “The farmer goes in with the planters through there, and the crop’s good to grow.”

In a world where small companies get gobbled up by larger companies, Unverferth Manufacturing remains unashamedly local, growing with the agricultural industry.

Unverferth did that with a “growth mindset” since the 1960s, Ecklund said. It purchased Brent Industries in 1988. More recently, in February 2023, it purchased Orthman Manufacturing’s agricultural lineup and two manufacturing plants in Lexington, Nebraska. Unverferth Manufacturing also has a manufacturing facility in Shell Rock, Iowa, along with eight sales and service branch facilities throughout North America.

That amounts to an estimated 400 employees in Kalida and 200 in Delphos, with more than 1,000 employees total nationally. They pride themselves in providing good-paying jobs and meaningful benefits. It leads to devoted employees, based on the number of workers who proudly share how long they’ve worked in the facility.

It’s still a family-run company, with the third generation of Unverferths, Larry Unverferth, now serving as company president.

“It’s a very humble family,” Ecklund said. “The third generation is in control now. They’re bringing up the fourth generation, their kids, to continue that growth. They want to see jobs remain in Kalida, Delphos, Shell Rock and now Lexington. They have a proud nature, but they’re very humble.”


Many businesses and organizations started right here in the Lima region, with the goal of making an impact in the region. This year’s Celebrating Our Spirit looks at those trailblazers. Read more stories at

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.