A longtime business partner in West Central Illinois’ Beard Implement Co. has relinquished his control over the nearly 75-year-old firm.

Duane Hess, president of the farm implement firm, has sold his interest in the company to Kyle Schumacher and Jeremy Beard. Darryl and Gerry Beard are also partners in the business.

“Every business must have a succession plan,” Hess said. “We have worked on this for a long time and the plan and people are solid. Kyle and Jeremy are and will be good leaders of the company.”

Hess, who has served as president of Beard Implement Co. since 1984 and worked for the dealer since 1975, will remain involved with the firm.

“My role and duties within the company will continue to be much of what I am doing now,” he said. “The transformation will be slow and complete. Beard Implement will continue to become stronger and better.”

Beard Implement sells and services Case IH and New Holland tractors, combines and tillage tools, as well as many other agricultural implements.

“The sales of large tractors have been incredible for years,” Hess said. In July, Beard Implement sold its 2,500th four-wheel-drive tractor.

Beard Implement Co. has stores in Arenzville, Prentice, Pittsfield and Barry. On August 2, the firm acquired Rennecker Equipment in Barry, a longtime Case IH business.