If it’s agriculture-related, chances are good that Newton Crouch Inc. in Griffin has been involved.
That’s been true since Newton Crouch Sr. purchased what was then a cotton gin and a fertilizer business in 1940. The company had been in operation as Walker Brothers since 1901.
“We’ve been everything in agriculture,” says Steve Crouch, the founder’s son who has led the company since 1989. “We’ve been a seed plant, a fertilizer house, a cotton gin. As times have changed, we’ve adapted and changed with them.”
Newton Crouch is now a fertilizer equipment company, having manufactured more than 15,000 units that have been distributed all over the U.S. and several other countries. Its economic reach is seemingly endless, according to Crouch.
“You start talking about the number of pieces of equipment we’ve got out there that are being used in the agriculture market, and the impact of that is millions and billions of dollars,” he says. “It multiplies beyond your imagination.”
Newton Crouch, the country’s second-largest supplier of truck-mounted fertilizer spreaders, is but one of the major agriculture equipment companies in Georgia that help keep the job-generating ag industry ranked No. 1 in the state. Others include Kubota, a Japanese company with three locations in Georgia, and the iconic John Deere, with an assembly plant in Columbia County.
Through the jobs they create and revenue they generate, equipment companies like these three go a long way in pumping up the state’s economy. But they’re also of great benefit from their equipment and innovations. Newton Crouch, for instance, may distribute to countries in South America, but it’s also providing equipment to producers throughout Georgia.
“We certainly sell globally, but we also sell directly into the Georgia market,” says Scott Harward, vice president of sales for Newton Crouch. “We have a special relationship. Our folks are from this area, and the individual relationships with farmers and growers are very, very important to us. There’s a lot of brand loyalty.”
State ’s Strong Workforce
Kubota, which is headquartered in Osaka, Japan, made itself at home in Georgia over the last couple of decades. The company established Kubota Manufacturing of America Corporation in 1988 in Gainesville, where it began making tractor implements such as backhoes and front loaders. It introduced other types of tractor products in ensuing years, and in 2005, the company opened Kubota Industrial Equipment Corporation, or KIE , in Jefferson. KIE manufactures all tractor implements and performs reassembly of Kubota tractors built in Japan for sale in U.S. markets. Kubota also has a sales office and parts distribution center in Suwanee.
“We do more in Georgia than we do anyplace else,” says David Bell, a regional sales manager for the company. “Between the three divisions [in Georgia] we employ roughly 2,500 people. There’s a lot of subsidiary plants that do sub-assemblies for our manufacturing all over, so there are lots of other manufacturing that supports what we do.”
Georgia is a good fit for Kubota, according to Bell. “It has a good workforce for one thing,” he says. “Georgia is more attractive economically than, say, somewhere in the Northeast.”
John Deere, which is based in Moline, Ill., and one of the world’s largest makers of agriculture machinery, has its John Deere Commercial Products plant in Grovetown. The plant assembles mostly subcompact utility tractors and mowers including the 1 Series machine designed as a high performance tool for property owners who need to do more than just mow the grass. Employment at the plant changes throughout the year, ranging from 200 to 500, depending on peak season. Production levels are at the highest in the spring to meet the summer demand. John Deere opened the Grovetown plant 20 years ago, with the first tractor rolling off the assembly line on March 15, 1991.