AGCO Corp., a major worldwide designer, manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment recently broke ground at the Hay and Forage Industries manufacturing facility in Hesston, Kan., now owned by AGCO.

The 120,000 square-foot facility will be used to accommodate Gleaner and Massey Ferguson combine production being moved from an Independence, Mo., facility to its new home in Kansas.

Before AGCO purchased the balance of Hay and Forage Industries in May, AGCO and Case Corp. (now CNH) have owned HFI 50/50 since 1991. AGCO originally purchased a half interest from the previous Case/Fiat joint venture.

HFI has been the manufacturing operation for both the Hesston brand of hay tools marketed by AGCO and the Case Corp., brand currently being marketed by CNH.

The expansion takes place on property already owned by HFI and used for product storage. "HFI has been a strong manufacturing, engineering and product development arm for hay equipment," according to Chuck Miller, general manager for Hay and Forage Industries. "Now we will showcase our abilities with combines, planting and other equipment."

He added that the purchase by AGCO should benefit both producers and AGCO brand dealers with continuing innovation and increased productivity.

In addition to the Hesston hay tool line and combine production, HFI will also produce New Idea hay and spreader tools, White planters and other components.

Hesston equipment will be a major component of the plant's production mix, said Ron Hess, AGCO director of marketing-harvesting. "The Hesston technology is truly unique," he says. "It has led the industry in many areas, the first self-propelled windrower, first hydro-swing mower, first large square baler, and first open-throat design in round balers.