Calmer Corn Heads Owner Makes Huge Impact
He's a farmer, inventor, public speaker, researcher and CEO. The owner of Calmer Corn Heads is from the small town of Alpha, Illinois, but he works to leave a giant impression on the world of agriculture.
"Necessity is the mother of invention," said Marion Calmer, CEO of Calmer Corn Heads. Calmer is the inventor of the world's first 30 row corn head that was showcased at this year's farm progress show. Calmer said, "It has all the bells and whistles on it...hydraulic plates, it has chopping stalk rolls, it has auto header height so it will automatically raise and lower as it goes through the field."
Calmer designed the corn head for an Iowa farmer who wanted to plant ultra narrow corn rows and requested a 12 inch row corn head. "I said we will go home and take a look at it, I called him back and said we can do it," said Calmer.
It was the middle 1980's, when Calmer began doing on-farm research. Calmer is a promoter of narrow row corn, and works to educate farmers on its high yield advantage. "My opinion is the most abnormal thing man ever did to a corn plant was put it in a row," Calmer said."
The gift of invention runs in Calmer's blood. His ancestors were also inventors. Calmer said, "I don't know if it's something you can teach...being an inventor. As a child growing up my train of thought was what's wrong and then how do I make it better."
In the early 2000's, Calmer opened the doors to Calmer Corn Heads in a little farm shop. The manufacturing company made only $6,000 its first year, but it has been growing rapidly ever since. Calmer Corn Heads now has thirty employees.
"I employ a lot of farmers. And maybe it's a part time job for them, but they have that common sense and they live it every day," said Calmer. Calmer now runs one of the largest independent agriculture research centers in the United States. He's been recognized for his contributions to the ag industry by winning several awards. He's been on the cover of eight united states farm magazines and one in Europe.
A few years ago he was named one of the top 25 influential people in American agriculture and most recently was selected as one of the forty legends worldwide in food production and the adoption of conservation farming practices.
"I'm humbled. It's quite an honor," said Calmer.
Calmer said he has been coming to the Farm Progress Show for many years. He used to pull his daughter around the show in a wagon when she was a little girl. The show has been a family tradition ever since.