One week ago AGCO threw a party — celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Gleaner brand and recent investments in the Hesston plant which builds those combines.
Day one they introduced a new combine — an anniversary edition with a darker than normal paint job for the Gleaner brand. On day two, they hosted a ribbon cutting for a more than $45 million paint facility that is, by any standard, impressive. On day three they hosted a parade — which was also an impressive display.
Throughout the celebration a theme was clear: pride. The company has pride in what it builds and sells. The town of Hesston takes pride in being one of the places that company builds.
AGCO is relatively new in the town of Hesston's history — purchasing Hesston Corp. in 1991. Hesston Machine and Manufacturing was founded in 1947. The current Plant 1 on the AGCO campus was a part of that operation, opening in 1958.
More than 1,400 people work at the Hesston plant — making it one of the largest employers in the county, and an important employer at the state level as well. That was evidenced by a visit from Gov. Sam Brownback who helped cut the ribbon for the new paint facility last week.
That facility is the most recent investment made in the Hesston operations — the company also spent hundreds of thousands to move some Brazil operations to Hesston last year.
Some will debate if the new facility means new jobs for Hesston and Harvey County — but doing so misses the point. The fact is it means jobs.
In these days of technology killing jobs in every industry, this kind of investment shows a commitment to keeping operations in Hesston. It is an indication that there will be manufacturing jobs in Hesston for years to come. That's not as sexy as new jobs — but every bit as vital and important to the health of this county.
— Kansan editorial board