HECTOR, Minn. – Farming is always changing and so is Loftness Specialized Equipment, Inc.
Working out of their 80,000-square-feet manufacturing facility just off Highway 212 in Hector, Loftness builds grain baggers, snow removal equipment, forestry and vegetative equipment, crop residue management tools and fertilizer spreaders/tenders.
With 75-100 employees that commute from as far away as 50 miles, the Renville County manufacturer distributes and sells equipment throughout the United States and Canada.
That’s pretty good for a business that started in a farm shop back in 1956.
Back then, Dick Loftness built a V-type snowblower for himself that worked well. A few neighbors asked if he’d build snow blowers for them, and that’s how Loftness started his manufacturing business.
He eventually moved the business into Hector and hired farmers to work at the shop during the winter.
In 1970, Marv Nelson – a farmer, friend and neighbor – began selling Loftness snow blowers across the upper Midwest. That’s when business really started taking off. They also had to make several plant expansions to keep up with product demand.
When Loftness was ready to sell in 1979, Nelson was ready to buy.
“Rather than lose it to someone else, my dad bought the company from Dick,” said Steve Nelson, senior vice president of marketing who owns the company along with his mother, Gloria Nelson, who serves as president, and brother, Dave Nelson, senior vice president of sales...