It all started with a 12-foot wide cultivator that sold for $650.

That cultivator, designed and manufactured by Jake Rozendaal at this rural crossroad near the heart of South- West Oxford Township, was the first off the line at Salford Farm Machinery in 1978. It marked a new beginning for Rozendaal, known for his Jake's Machine Shop that first opened several concessions away.

Today, Salford Farm Machinery Ltd. designs and manufactures items such as a 60-foot wide cultivator that retails for $62,000, and has grown from a small shop and home into an almost 11,150-square-metre (120,000-square-foot) operation comprised of two plants.

"It was all done for the local farmer who needed better tools for less money," Rozendaal said Tuesday at the official opening of a 1,765-square-metre (19,000-square-foot) expansion to Salford Farm Machinery's location at the intersection of Highway 19 and McBeth Road. "I started with Jake's Machine Shop doing cow stabling and hog penning.

"Then we got into cultivators, then we were a tractor dealer, then cultivators and plows."

The grand opening drew industry, political and agricultural media representatives from across the region to celebrate the company that manufactures tilling, seeding and fertilizing equipment.

It has led the market in developing new technologies used for no-till seeding and direct-seed and fertilizing methods that minimize the need to plow or turn over the soil.

The expansion has been in use since December and allows for better flow of product around both plants, as the raw materials move from initial machining to welding, blasting, painting and final assembly. Together with another Salford Farm Machinery plant in Osceola, Iowa, its products go all over North America and around the world.

"The Salford name and red paint competes with the green paint and all the other colours around the world," South-West Oxford Mayor Jim Hayes said. "I hope to have you in partnership with our township for many years to come."

Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman reminisced over Rozendaal's first location, amazed at how the business has grown and thanked the company for being good neighbours. Similarly, MP Dave MacKenzie said the work the company does in Oxford benefits the county and the country.

"You've only grown because you're good at what you do and you take care of your customers," MacKenzie said.

Salford Farm Machinery president Mikhail Rodionov thanked his staff members, who attended the short ceremony where a huge tiller was backed into a bay door and through a ribbon.

"Even though we operate our business from the same facility and location, Salford Farm Machinery has grown into a global company with markets worldwide," Rodionov said. "Not only is our primary market in Canada and the U.S., but we sell to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and in Europe.

"There are hundreds of our machines working right now in Russia and Kazakhstan."

The success was a testament to the feeling its founder Rozendaal had when he started his first shop in 1975 and Salford Farm Machinery in 1978.

"I didn't plan for it to get this big, but it wasn't out of mind that it could go that way," Rozendaal said. "When you build machines all farmers can use and you build something they like, you expect it could go big."