According to a report in the Chatham Daily News, Thamesville, On., dealer Kearney Planters, has joined forces with German-based Horsch LLP.

Colleen Kearney-Janssens, CEO of Kearney Planters, said the dealership is the first Ontario farm business to offer a planter from German-based Horsch LLP.

She noted the local company has been given a territory in Ontario with the potential to expand across the province.

Kearney-Janssens said the dry fertilizer capacity of the planter is a big appeal for farmers, along with “German engineering . . . how it folds up, how it goes down the road, the efficiencies of it, and the amount of volume of product they can carry with them on wheels to go to do their job.”

Kearney Planters has had success selling products in Europe as well as New Zealand and South Africa.

Kearney-Janssens said the company aims to provide farmers innovation.

“We are planter people, so we want to be part of what this planter has to offer,” she said.

Kurt Hohlbein, territory manager for Horsch, helped bring Kearney Planters into the fold.

He said the company approached Horsch and he was very impressed with Kearney Planters from his past occupations in the agriculture industry.

“I've always loved the operation, they're very dedicated, they do a great job,” Hohlbein said. “You couldn't ask for a better dealer.”

Company founder Michael Horsch made the trip from Germany to be part of demonstrations for the company's planter around Ontario. He spoke with The Chatham Daily News on Friday during a stop at Kearney Planters.

Noting Horsch is a seeding, planting and sprayer company, he met several farmers in the region that have purchased their company's products.

“We're not unknown . . . but with Kearney it's the first beachhead (in Ontario),” he said.

Horsch said it was his team in North America that sold him on Kearney Planters and its ability to service the company's planter.

“Our product is high-end . . . if you don't have good service, I really don't want to see it here,” he said.

Horsch has blazed his own trail in creating a company that is driven by innovation.

He recalled being the oldest of five boys who all wanted to farm the family's 1,500 acres of land in southern Germany, but his father said it wasn't enough land to sustain them all.

Horsch decided to move to the U.S. in 1979 to figure a way to start farming.

“For some reason, you didn't want me,” he laughed. “So I went back home.”

Horsch then had an idea for a no-till seeder, noting his father encouraged him to build it, and helped him along with some uncles.

“I never had an engineering background,” he said, adding he always had a vision about minimum tilling and no-tilling.

Although there are more than 100 engineers working for the company, Horsch said, “all our products come from ourselves. We built everything for our own farms first.”

With 18,000 acres of farm land there is plenty of opportunity try out new products.

When the Berlin Wall started coming down in 1990, Horsch said suddenly there was access to 5,000-10,000 acre farms nearby, providing a huge new market for the company.

Horsch said the company became established in South Dakota in 2000 selling such products as air seeders and planters. Today, the company has a strong presence in the U.S. mid-west along with small section of the Pacific northwest near Spokane WA.

Five or six years ago, Horsch products began expanding into Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and three years ago a new manufacturing plant was built in Fargo, North Dakota.

Horsch said the company had been looking to expand into Ontario, joking it is “actually closer to Europe from a climate point-of-view, (and) from a (farming) mentality point-of-view than the Yanks.”