By Stan Maddux
KOKOMO, Ind. – He joined hands with his brother on fixing and selling farm tractors after returning from World War II.
James Shrock and his brother, Emerson, are no longer around but their descendants are still running the full service business celebrating its 75th year in Indiana. Plevna Implement Co. will be offering discounts and events such as combine demonstrations beginning Sept. 8 at its main location in the unincorporated community of Plevna, at 7960 E. 400 North outside Kokomo.
The festivities on Sept. 9 will include a Fendt brand combine harvesting corn from a field beside the AGCO dealership, still at its original site in Plevna.
The company is also a dealer of Trimble and Precision Planting equipment.
Kent Shrock, one of the owners of the family-run business, said it’s a chance especially for farmers to take a break and view up close the latest in Ag technology.
“To have a day where they can come, have lunch and kind of see it from the ground right up next to the machine and kind of study is kind of neat for us,” he said.
Shrock is hoping state and federal officials, including those representing agriculture, will accept his invitation to offer a few words on things like the state of the farm economy on Sept. 9.
AGCO tractors and other brands of machinery and implements like sprayers, tillage equipment and planters offered by the company will also be showcased. “We’ll have all of our other equipment out available to drive and check out as well,” he said.
Discounts and other promotions will also occur that week at the company’s Nappanee location that opened in 2012 in the northern part of the state.
“We’ve come a long way, you know,” Shrock said.
The business started as Plevna Garage working on farm machinery and selling Oliver tractors in 1945. In 1960, the company became a dealer for tractors made by White Motor Corp., which purchased the Oliver brand of equipment then added Minneapolis-Moline to its farm machinery offerings in 1970.
Shrock said his father, Bill, with a real knack for sales, became general manager of the company in 1980. “That’s when the dealership really started to bloom,” he said.
The company began selling Massey Ferguson combines five years later.
Shrock said further growth resulted after the company became a dealer for products made by AGCO, founded in 1990. “As AGCO continued to grow so did Plevna Implement,” he said.
The original structure is now a training facility and lawn mower shop for the company, whose main operations are in newer structures just a stone’s throw away. Eight years ago, Plevna Implement made a big jump in serving the hay sector of agriculture by opening the Nappanee location in dairy rich northern Indiana where most of the bailers they offer are sold.
About 40 people are employed by the firm at both locations combined. Shrock said there’s never been a whole lot of turnover in their workforce with some employees retiring as practically lifelong members.
Shrock said his grandfather, who seemed born with tinkering and fixing machinery in his blood, might be smiling from above at how far the company he started has come. “He was a good, salt of the earth God-fearing man. He was just great to be around,” he said.
The celebration also includes a 10 percent reduction in price for AGCO tractor parts on Sept. 8; free pick-up or delivery on all equipment for service on Sept. 9; $100 off the purchase of equipment on Sept. 10; and a 10 percent discount on AGCO harvest equipment parts.
People wanting to attend the luncheon are asked to make a reservation by calling 574-773-4193.