Big Dutchman or Big German?


Big Dutchman is a leading manufacturer of feeding systems and housing equipment for pig and poultry management.  You can probably find their equipment at any large mass production pig or chicken farm worldwide.  Additionally they also offer indoor fish farming equipment and biogas systems (having agricultural & livestock waste converted into gases which would then be converted into electrical energy – don’t you remember this from my ZFS story?)  They also are involved in micro-brewery industry, where some of their automatic feeding equipment has been re-purposed to help in the brewing process, delivering specified amounts of brewing ingredients at scheduled times.

Big Dutchman has its US headquarters right here in Holland.  It was started by two brothers of Dutch descent in Holland, MI in 1938 who created the first automatic feeding system for poultry.  So the Big Dutchman brand name makes sense.  Now here is where it gets tricky, in the 1980s Big Dutchman was purchased by its German distributor, therefore officially becoming a German company.  In a shrewd marketing move (in my opinion) the new ownership team declined to rename the company Big German.  Something tells me that would not have gone over too well, plus it sounds a little intimidating.  But I could easily imagine the Happy Dutchman in the logo to ditch the Dutch garb and have some lederhosen with knee high socks, with cap and feather.

So being based in Holland, Big Dutchman is still a part of the local community despite the foreign ownership.  In summer of 2009, Big Dutchman donated Hen House equipment, including a feeding trough, watering system and egg-collecting conveyor belt all within a climate-controlled environment, to the Critter Barn.  Critter Barn is a “educational farm that teaches about today’s agriculture, houses farm animals and birds, an idea garden and orchard on three beautiful acres in Zeeland township.”  Here is a nice writeup on Critter Barn by Corp Magazine.

And in order to further cross link this blog post with some of my other entries, guess who else donated goods to Critter Barn?  That is right Zeeland Farm Services.  They donated their expertise to help establish a soybean program at Critter Barn.

I love seeing local business supporting local causes, and with Ottawa County’s large agricultural footprint it is great to see all these companies involved with educating the locals about what is happening in their region.  So all you other agricultural manufacturers in the area, you better step up your game… I am looking at you Mechanical Transplanter & Holland Transplanter.

And since I am a big fan of Beer Koozies please enjoy this image of the stylish orange Big Dutchman beer koozie.  Please note the color coordination between beer label and koozie.

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One response to “Big Dutchman or Big German?

  1. Pingback: Business Schism in West Michigan | West Michigan Business Blog

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