Claas is again drawing on the resources and expertise of European distribution networks to support its presence in North America by reaching a preliminary agreement with one of its leading distributors in Russia to cover an important territory in the U.S.

The agreement follows a partner­ship forged earlier this year with the German dealer group BayWa to sup­port the hay tools to combines product line in western Canada (see Ag Equipment IntelligenceApril 2016).

A week ago, that partnership led to parts department staff, a sales team and a full complement of factory-trained technicians with field service trucks starting work at Alberta AG Centre, Crossfield, Alta., as the first of BayWa’s dealerships opened under the pact.

The letter-of-intent agreement with MirTech, one of four distributors of Claas equipment in Russia, is for the Western Delta region, where Holt CAT has withdrawn its Holt Agribusiness branches from Jonesboro, Ark., and Sikeston, Mo.

Claas announced the ending of a long-standing distribution agreement with Holt in March this year; the ag and construction machinery dealer­ship is focusing its Texas operations on existing AGCO tractor and harvester franchises (Challenger, Fendt and Massey Ferguson), in addition to Caterpillar and a number of agricultural equipment product lines.

The territory encompassed by the preliminary agreement with MirTech takes in the Missouri boot heel and northeastern Arkansas, explains Eric Raby, Claas of America president and general manager of sales. “We are working to build our support of farmers in the region with an experienced dealer organization,” he says.

Kirill Krattli, MirTech CEO comments: “At the conclusion of our planning with Claas and the assignment of a dealer agreement for this important territory, we will work to ensure superior service to all customers in the area.”

MirTech (Mirovaya Technika) was founded by Colorado native Robert Krattli 17 years ago and now operates a network of 13 service centers in southwest Russia, where harvest­er sales are characterized by the supply of 50 or more combines at a time to agribusiness concerns man­aging the cultivation of huge tracts of land measuring hundreds of thou­sands of acres.

Its sales and service territory includes the Krasnodar region where Claas has a recently expanded combine harvester assembly operation for the Russian market. MirTech represents a number of European agricultural equipment manufacturers, including Lemken, Maschio Gaspardo and Hardi, as well as Canadian manufacturers MacDon and Bougault.

— Ag Equipment Intelligence, August 2016