Source: Paul J. Nyden, The Charleston Gazette

The Walker Machinery Co. announced plans Monday to open a new Agri-Business Division at its facility in Nitro, W.Va.

Walker Machinery released a statement indicating it will allow the “company to expand its agri-business operations in the region, while providing a full range of parts, service and quality equipment for its farmers in that area.”

Currently, Walker Machinery is a major provider of equipment for use in both underground and surface coal mines.

Richard M. Scott, vice president and general manager of Agri-Business and Growth Industries for Walker Machinery, said, “We’re very excited to further diversify Walker Machinery Company’s offerings to our existing Nitro operation.

“The opening of our Agri-Business Division in Nitro closely aligns with our strategy to be a top resource for the agriculture market in this region. We plan to continue to provide our existing and prospective customers with the highest quality service and best value equipment in the industry,” Scott said.

Walker sells and leases heavy earth-moving equipment, including bulldozers, manufactured by Caterpillar.

The launch of the new Agri-Business Division in Nitro is consistent with the company’s mission to also specialize in serving the region’s agriculture needs.

The Nitro division will offer Massey Ferguson farm tractors and Hesston hay equipment.

Walker Machinery stated, “These feature-packed tractors are ideal for corn, beans, wheat, hay and livestock operations and backed by Walker’s legendary parts and service support.”

The new division won’t immediately mean more jobs, said Walker Marketing Director Bruce Watson. “Presently, we have not had to add anyone to take on this new line of work,” Watson said. “In the future, as demand grows, we will be adding personnel.”

Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Assn., said, “Walker’s got a full line of service equipment. They have a great name and a great reputation as they are now getting into the agricultural business.

“I think it is all good for the state of West Virginia. Three years ago, they got into the underground part of the coal business. Now, we will see yellow Caterpillars in the cornfields,” Raney said.

Walker Machinery’s sales and rental facility closest to Charleston is located in Belle, W.Va., along the Kanawha River.

Today, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, according to Caterpillar’s website.

The new branch of Walker Machinery will be located in Nitro’s Industrial Park. People who want more information can call 304-759-6400.

In addition to its headquarters in Belle, W.Va., Walker has major branches in Beckley, Huntington, Logan, Nitro, Parkersburg and Summersville, W.Va., as well as in Jackson, Ohio.