Beyond the Basic Brand

Farmer Iron

Ran across a familiar equipment brand in an unfamiliar setting.

Published on: March 18, 2011

You never know when you'll run across a familiar equipment name in your travels. Sometimes it pops up in a new setting.

That happened to me this week when meeting Max Armstrong to head to a farm for a story he and I are working on with the Profiles in Innovation series we've been running in our Midwest books. For an upcoming installment, Max flew down to Indiana with Phil the pilot and trusty videographer Ryan Ruh and wanted an airport near the farm we'd be visiting.

I looked up a place and came up with Putnam County Airport in Greencastle. When I arrived I found Dixie Chopper Air. Yep, that Dixie Chopper, the makers of the rugged, pro-style mowers you see at our farm shows. No, the folks at Dixie Chopper aren't making flying mowers, but founder Art Evans is also a big airplane fan and owns a few he keeps at the facility.

In fact, Dixie Chopper Air is an excellent general aviation operation that manages the county airport. There's the Final Approach restaurant and a super facility for hanging out while waiting for "Air Orion" to deliver Max. Staff is nice too - thanks.

I've run across these interesting cross-affiliations before. A couple years ago I found out Claas has a division that makes parts for that monster A-380 passenger jet Airbus sells. And you come across familiar brands in other ways too.

In this case, the Dixie Chopper Air facility was a pleasant surprise during a trip to Indiana. And it's even a location where those mowers get some tough testing too.

While there I saw a story on Art Evans that had run in the Indianapolis paper a few years ago, mounted on the wall. In there they included Art Evans' Seven Business Principles, which you can also find at the company's website. They're worth repeating for farmers who are looking for some basic ways to run a top notch business:

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated.
  • Set your standards higher than anyone else's
  • Don't forget where you came from.
  • Be honest with the public. They are your customers.
  • Stand by your product, even if it gets into your pocketbook.
  • Itn's how you deal with your customers that sets you apart.
  • Listen to the customer. He usually will tell you what you need to know.

Dixie Chopper isn't the biggest maker of commercial-grade mowers, but the company has developed a very successful business with a strong following and I'm thinking those seven principles had a role. While you don't deal with your direct customer everyday, those principles ring true for any business.