Brief History of New Holland Agriculture

Plant Planet take a look at the origins of New Holland and how it has grown over five generations, helping farmers across the globe become more efficient and sustainable over the last 126 years.

New Holland Agriculture was founded in 1895 in New Holland, Pennsylvania. The company, as we know it today, is the result of the integration of four agricultural brands: The original New Holland Agriculture brand, Claeys, Ford, and Fiat Trattori. New Holland recognise Abe Zimmerman, Leon Claeys, Henry Ford, and Giovanni Agnelli — the founders and heads of each company in turn — as being the founders of the brand that farmers know and love today.

Carlo Lambro, Brand President of New Holland Agriculture, states:

“New Holland has a rich heritage started in a small town of Pennsylvania and has grown to be a global brand with a presence across 170 countries. It is a history marked by important innovations that have changed agriculture. It brings together the unique legacy of brands such as Ford, Fiat, Braud and Claeys.”

Each founder has brought a wealth of knowledge and resources to the brand over the years. Abe Zimmerman, who ‘understood the importance of meeting customer needs with simple solutions and reliable support’ founded the original company as an agricultural pioneer. In 1964, New Holland bought a major interest in Belgian company Claeys. Leon Claeys dedicated his knowledge to making farmer’s lives easier, leading to the invention of the first European self-propelled combine harvester. Twenty two years later, Ford bought New Holland. Henry Ford, the founder of Henry Ford & Son, is in many ways a household name. In 1917, he introduced the world’s first mass produced tractor: the Fordson Model F.

Fiat purchased an 80% interest in Ford New Holland in 1991. Then head of Fiat, Giovanni Agnelli, saw ‘how a solution developed for a specific social need could be extended to provide farmers across the world with a smart solution’. New Holland aims to carry the legacy and values of each founder in the company’s vision today.

Today, New Holland remains one of the largest names in agricultural machinery. The company boasts 2000 dealers and 5000 touchpoints globally, allowing the business to remain by its customers side, building close, long-lasting relationships.

Following on from the previous statement, Lambro added:

“Most important of all, [New Holland’s] is a history marked by people: our customers, our dealers, our employees, day after day, year after year. Together, we are facing the many challenges of agriculture, helping farmers get the job done, efficiently and profitably, and get the best from their business. We are living in extraordinary circumstances that are changing how we live and work in ways we could never have imagined.”

“This situation has highlighted the vital role of agriculture and brought to the attention of the public how important farmers are in their life. Agriculture has reacted to the crisis with strength, successfully ensuring the food supply without disruption in the face of exceptional difficulties. And New Holland has remained at the farmers’ side throughout, providing the support they needed. We continue to invest in the future, and we will make the most of the possibilities of new technologies, connectivity, automation and alternative fuels – working together towards sustainable agriculture… At this unprecedented moment in history, we look to the future with confidence.”

The company continues to aim towards providing customers with ‘industry leading solutions focussed on innovation, sustainability, and outstanding cost efficiency’. Furthermore, the company is on the cutting edge of a multitude of trends in the agricultural industry including digitalisation, connectivity, automation, servitization, and alternative propulsion.

The PLM™ (Precision Land Management) solutions system gives farmers the ability to manage aspects of their farm through a simple interface. PLM™ solutions is a step towards a future where farmers can run their operations more proactively, turning the farm into a connected and smart ecosystem.

Furthermore, the company has also pioneered sustainable agriculture and alternative fuels through its Clean Energy Leader strategy, which has led to the development of the Methane Power tractor prototype, closing the circular economy loop with a tractor powered by methane or biomethane, which can be produced on the farm. In the coming years, it aims to continue to drive agriculture’s transition to renewable fuels, taking forward its methane project, which is at the heart of its commitment to sustainability.

This article originally appeared in the July 2020 edition of Plant Planet.

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