Several years ago, at the urging of Titan Machinery co-founder Peter Christianson during a visit to Fargo, N.D., Farm Equipment Editor/Publisher Mike Lessiter initiated an “oral history” type project to capture the stories of 25 independent (shortline) farm equipment pioneers in making a go in what increasingly has become “big business” dominated by big manufacturers. Throughout more than a year of preparing, scheduling and recording, the project took Lessiter and his team to numerous states and one international trip. The project first came to life in a successful audio podcast series, “How We Did It: Stories from the Independent Farm Equipment Innovators.”
Each of the in-depth interviews was also filmed, but until now was not produced or released. The recent deaths of 4 ag equipment pioneers — Art’s Way’s and McConnell Company’s Ward McConnell, Yetter’s Pat Whalen, Vermeer’s Bob Vermeer and Krone’s Bernard Krone III — has resurrected interest in seeing this unique oral history content recorded for posterity – in the entrepreneurs’ own words, memories and expressions. Below you’ll find this ongoing series of 15-minute vignettes on the stories behind some of the most influential entrepreneurs to impact farmers in North America — and worldwide. To sign up to receive a notification of future episodes, leave your email address in the form at the bottom of this page.