By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Gary Mohr of tiny Enders is very much at home in Moscow, Johannesburg or capital cities in Europe.
He travels internationally about 150 days per year in his position as Global Product Market Manager for Orthman Manufacturing of Lexington, Neb.
Orthman, started by Henry Orthman, has built planters for John Deere for about 20 years. It now manufactures 32 models of John Deere planters.
John Deere sends pieces of the planters to Orthman, which then builds them and delivers them to dealers. Many of these are stack-fold planters.
Orthman also test runs the planters prior to shipping them to the dealers.
Orthman also manufactures a 1tRIPr planter for cotton and peanut markets.
The business has “multiple deals with other companies,” Mohr said, such as building John Deere’s planter bars for niche market planters.
It also manufactures custom planters.
Mohr spoke at an Imperial Chamber of Commerce meeting last Wednesday, describing how Orthman is helping John Deere expand outside the U.S. borders.
He has been actively involved in the creation of Orthman Africa, a facility located in a compound in a Johannesburg, South Africa suburb.
Building a new facility in the U.S. can be painful, Mohr noted, and it was “really painful” in South Africa.
The facility is now in production. “With an abundance of labor we will be doing more manufacturing in the future” there, Mohr said.
At present, John Deere planter parts are shipped overseas by containers. It takes about 45 days for the parts to be delivered from Lexington to Johannesburg.
The parts are then built into planters, which are then primarily distributed to John Deere dealers in South Africa, he said.
As in the U.S., the planters are tested before being shipped. Mohr showed pictures of a planter ripping through a field that is double planted with barley, sunflowers or corn.
He noted that farming in South Africa is in plots of ground in rough country.
He also showed a planter being tested in Russia, in a field so large that the boundaries couldn’t be detected.
Orthman does a lot of business in Russia, Mohr said. There is a Deere Corporation presence in both Moscow and in the Ukraine.
As a matter of fact, Mohr was in the Ukraine when protesters filled Independence Square. There were protesters wanting the Ukraine to join the European Union, versus pro-Russian rebels who wanted Ukraine to remain financially tied to Russia.
Mohr and another American visited Independence Square to talk with some of those living in tents on the square.
As of March 1, shortly after Mohr left the area, the Russian government approved military force to be used against the Ukraine nationalists.
Mohr didn’t always spend 70 percent of his time away from home for work.
He worked for a global GPS company for eight years prior to being hired by Orthman. “I had some international exposure then,” he commented.
Prior to that Mohr was employed by John Deere for over 20 years.
The manufacturing of planters is a “joint effort and a lot of communication between” Orthman and John Deere, Mohr noted.
He added that “eighty percent of what I do is take care of global John Deere relationships.” In that capacity, he travels to many trade shows in Europe.
Wife Doreen is sometimes able to accompany him on his travels.