Over 14 years, Poettinger U.S., has firmly established itself across the country as a competitive supplier of forage-handling and tillage equipment representing the design work and company culture of Austria’s 150-year-old implement builder.

“Poettinger U.S. and Poettinger Canada crossed the Atlantic as a North American subsidiary of the Austrian company in 2008,” says Drew Brown, general manager of both firms. “We began in the U.S. with a couple of employees and a small warehouse in northwest Indiana and moved to Valparaiso in 2011 — opening facilities to warehouse parts and distribute machinery and wholegoods.”

Currently, Poettinger U.S. has 6 employees in the Valparaiso complex with 9 more scattered across the company’s sales territories.

Initially, Poettinger’s forage-handling equipment led the charge into the North American market, rapidly gaining a customer base in the region’s Northeast and Midwest Dairy Belt. 

Poettinger’s century-and-a-half history as a farm equipment manufacturer began with hay-handling equipment when clockmaker Franz Poettinger introduced a forage chopper to make farm work easier. For his efforts he was awarded a Silver Prize Medal at Austria’s Linz Festival in 1871, the same year he founded the self-financed and family-owned implement manufacturing company in Grieskirchen that bears his name today. The Poettinger motto, “Make Life Easier” was coined at the beginning.

Success with the forage chopper led Poettinger to develop other farm equipment such as fruit mills and presses, silage harvesters, woodchippers and potato harvesters.

In the 1950s Poettinger introduced a hay loader, which laid the groundwork for the today’s loader wagons — and made the company a world leader in the market segment. The success was soon followed by Poettinger’s acquisition of Bavarian Plough Factory, an asset that allowed the company to enter the tillage market in 1975 and springboard into the production of plows, power harrows, stubble cultivators, and finally seed-drills in 2001 when it acquired Rabe, a German planter manufacturer.

Similarly, Poettinger U.S. built its foundation in the U.S. and Canada with tools for the hay meadow such as mowers, tedders, rakes, loader wagons and round balers. Recent additions to that forage lineup include the new JUMBO loader wagon and IMPRESS 3000 round baler.

“We started with our forage-related equipment in the Northeast and Upper Midwest where the dairy industry eagerly bought our products, enabling us to build a strong brand recognition there. For row-cropping, or ‘arable’ operations, as Poettinger refers to it, the company wasn’t as well known,” he explains.

Following the example of Poettinger’s history in Europe, the North American unit soon began broadening its business with the introduction of tillage equipment for row-crop and broad-acre applications, appealing to dealers and growers in the Southeastern U.S. and across the Great Plains into Canada.

“We now have an extensive offering of plows, compact discs, power harrows and stubble cultivators along with new offerings like our TERRASEM pneumatic mulch seed drill and the TERRIA line of stubble cultivators,” Brown explains. “The ground-engaging equipment gives us expanded growth opportunities with U.S. farmers and equipment dealers across a large part of the country.”

He says North American sales have doubled since 2016, placing the subsidiary in the top 5 of the European company’s 17 markets. 

“All of the other markets in the top 5 are in Europe,” he explains, “So, we’re pleased to see our products being accepted and becoming popular in the U.S. and Canada. 

Because the North American market involves much larger farming operations and field sizes than many found in Europe, Poettinger’s popular new offerings on this side of the Atlantic reflect larger-scale demands — such as a popular new 16-basket tedder with a 56.5-foot working width, the 33-foot TERRADISC, and 20-foot TERRIA stubble cultivator.

Brown says the company’s dealer network is an important part of the rapid growth of the brand, and that territory managers for Poettinger U.S. continually review their markets for potential business and new dealer partners. He says dealer opportunity information can be found on the Poettinger.us website.

“Our products fill some of the gaps the mainline dealers experience, and the shortline dealers have developed different niches we can serve. We seem to provide a good mix for both ends of the spectrum.”

He says Poettinger’s objective is to develop its dealer network through long-term relationships built on trust and attractive sales and earnings potential.

Company Culture

Throughout Poettinger’s history in North America, Brown says the parent company’s “family- and farmer-friendly culture” has permeated operations in the U.S. and Canada

“We’ve been a family-owned business for 150 years with a goal to remain independent and reliable suppliers of goods for our farmer customer,” he explains. “It’s important to know you can always get support from the manufacturer when you invest in equipment.

“Poettinger knew if it brought equipment to North America it would have to raise recognition of its products through quality machinery and tireless company support of those machines,” he says. “The launch of the TERRASEM air-seeder is a very good example. We had numerous company colleagues from Austria here to work with dealers and individual customers ensuring the planters were delivered and worked properly in the field.”

“Across the world, Poettinger seeks to treat its nearly 2,000 employees like family,” Brown explains. “A good percentage of our employees also have family farms that need attention, and the company is mindful of that. As a company we live and breathe agriculture and stewardship of the soil, and we also view our employees as partners in that relationship.” 

Consequently, he says the North American team works long days during the growing season to meet customer needs but has company-encouraged flexibility during slow times to take care of personal farming interests and other pursuits.

Global Poettinger

The rapidly-growing North American presence of Poettinger is part of the parent company’s long-term strategy to increase sales through exports. 

Poettinger’s footprint includes 4 manufacturing sites in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, along with sales locations throughout Europe, Russia, China, Australia and North America. There are also service centers in 19 countries.

In 1958 Poettinger’s sales first broke the equivalent of EUR 1 million, 93% of which was domestic sales. In 2021 global sales hit EUR 405 million, with nearly 90% of that generated through exports.

Celebrating their 150-year anniversary, Poettinger officials noted the company is no longer a purely mechanical engineering/manufacturing company, but one which offers high-tech equipment equipped with the latest data-management capability to provide user-friendly solutions to growers around the world.     

 Poettinger U.S. Territory Managers

 Brian Bartlett
 Territory Manager ME, MA, VT, PA, NH, NY, VA, WV
 Bob Doran
 Territory Manager IA, WI
 Dave Petri
 Territory Manager IL, MN
 Justin Vehige
 Territory MO, TX, OK, KS, CO
 Troy Langhann
 Territory Manager OH, MI, IN, KY, TN
 Tyler Dunn
 Territory Manager NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, AR

 Poettinger Canada Territory Managers 

 Yvan Gosselin
 Eastern Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes
 Gregory Pearson
 Ontario (West of Kingston) and British Columbia
 Michael Ushey
 Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan