There are few companies in the industry today with the influence of Montana Tractors, built on a foundation of knowledge and expertise. Lorie Greenspan takes a spin on some of the most well designed machines in the business.
They are machines built with finite engineering details and performance, yet their uses are infinite; consider the man in Arkansas who uses a tractor to help farm 40,000 acres of fish, or the logger in Idaho, or the vegetable farmer in California who uses it to haul in his harvest.
A diverse range of industries, yet they all have one common element: Montana Tractors. At only two years old the company has grown its user base extensively and throughout the United States and Canada, offering a wide line of machines for nearly every sort of agricultural use.
Montana’s vision is to be “one of the five largest tractor distributors in the United States by 2010 in its horsepower range, which is 20-100hp.”
That goal seems to be well within reach, as the company has been able to captivate a growing segment of the market. Called “weekenders” and “lifestylers” these hearty entrepreneurs have regular incomes from day jobs and yet, enticed by the lure of open space, purchase large parcels on which they partake two days a week in the bucolic life, raising livestock and performing other farm duties.
“This is where our compact line (of tractors) comes in,” says National Sales Manager Tom Patterson. “These small tractors enable them to move hay and feed or perform other material handling operations.”
In this way Montana Tractors caters to the logger, the vegetable farmer and fish farmer and a range of other small farmers who contribute to their local agrarian economies in various ways. And this market, as well as the larger operations that have benefited from a Montana machine, have the benefit of copious experience in the tractor business – each of the men at the helm of Montana Tractors is an industry veteran.
“We are one of the few small tractor companies managed by people with tractor experience,” says Patterson. “We’ve also hired well-qualified territory managers that have helped us to grow. They are our lifelines to our dealers.” This team has brought so much experience to the fore that, at one point, Montana employed 14 territory managers with more than 400 years of experience among them.
“What also makes us successful is having good quality dealers that believe in what we have; their customers trust them and that trust goes down the line,” Patterson stresses. Today, far from the handful of dealers it began with in six states, Montana has over 350 dealers in nearly every state, plus Canada.
The company’s products for the most part are made in South Korea by LS Cable, a manufacturer of electronic equipment, home appliances, and industrial equipment. Final assembly takes place at the headquarters facility in Springdale. From here the machines are transported to Dealers nationwide.
A range of options
Montana’s tractors offer optimum performance, a sleek design, multi functions and an attractive style and color. While its range extends from mowers to backhoes, there are eight models offered by Montana that comprise 70 percent of sales; these include the 5740 utility tractor, which Patterson describes “as the right size to get a lot of things done.” In the Compact range there’s the 3040 and 2740 – “nice machines with 8-12 speed transmissions,” Patterson says – and the new R series compact line that comes in 28-49 hp models. The company’s biggest tractor is the 70 hp that comes loaded with three remotes, AM/FM radio, and even a built-in cooler.
“We’re always adding products,” Patterson says. “We always try to be aggressive in the marketplace and look for opportunities and the right way to grow the business.”
As reported in the Southeast Farm Press, in the complete lineup, the company offers seven Compact 4-wheel-drive models ranging from 27 to 45-horsepower; offering a choice of 2-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive, ranging from 43 to 57 hp. The larger lineup offers a choice of open station with ROPS or a “Big Sky” wrap-around, high-visibility cab. Plus, two of the Compact models feature infinite speed hydrostatic transmissions.
All Montana tractors feature compact, ergonomic design for handling and operating ease, and mechanical 4-wheel-drive for extra traction and pulling power, and include the following features standard:
• high performance diesel engines; water-cooled, fuel injected for fuel efficiency and quiet operation;
• 8/8, 12/12 or 16/16 Synchromesh shuttle transmissions that offer easy forward/reverse for loader applications; as well as several hydrostatic models;
• independent 540 rpm PTOs;
• remote hydraulics standard on all models.
Montana Tractors also offers a range of marketing programs, from retail financing and municipal and government discounts to multiple purchase discounts, which means that anybody, from any buying level, can find a purchasing program to fit their specific need.
Many words of mouth
Montana Tractors has many heavy weights espousing the benefits of its machines. These stars include professional bull rider Jody Newberry, who is currently third place in the PBR Final Standings. His first year in the PBR, 2003, Newberry won the World Finals Event Title, was named “Rookie of the Year,” and received the Lane Frost/Brent Thurman Award. A native of Ada, Okla., and now a resident of Conway, Ark., Newberry, according to the Montana Web site: “enjoys using a Montana 4540 Tractor with loader to work on his property.” Newberry will be representing Montana Tractors throughout his competitions in the Professional Bull Riders events.
In addition, NASCAR Driver Sterling Marlin has teamed up with Montana Tractors to spread the word about the quality tractor line that is storming North America. Marlin uses his Montana to work on his Tennessee Farm. “It’s a tough tractor – will tackle any job – and it handles easily and makes my job a lot more fun,” Marlin attests.
These testimonials go to the root of what Montana Tractors is all about: building on the strength of people and, most decidedly, the power of credibility. “Montana is a tremendous brand, but at the end of the day, people buy from people,” Patterson stresses. “It gives immediate credibility to a company.”