Butler Ag Equipment, a division of Butler Machinery, recently announced its acquisition of Johnson Farm Equipment Co., effective June 1.
Butler Machinery is erecting a 25,000- to 27,000-square-foot facility northwest of the Christensen Business Park along U.S. Highway 30. It is expected to open in May or June.
The acquisition of Johnson Farm Equipment includes transitioning all Johnson operations from North Bend and Fremont to the new Fremont Butler facility.
Johnson facilities were not included in the acquisition, said Bob Jensen, Butler’s chief financial officer and treasurer.
“What they bring is a customer base,” he said. “They’re well-established in that area. It allows us to work with an established customer base in getting our new store up and operational, along with bringing our AGCO and Challenger line to those customers.”
Butler and Johnson, with the support of AGCO, will work closely over the next several months to ensure a seamless transition for Johnson customers, Butler officials said.
“We are excited about the addition of Johnson Farm Equipment to Butler Ag Equipment in Nebraska,” Dan Butler, president of Butler Machinery, said in a news release. “As a family-owned business, Johnson Farm Equipment has proudly served customers in eastern Nebraska for many years. We look forward to continuing the tradition with the Butler family.”
Harry and Marie Johnson started Johnson Farm Equipment in 1950 in North Bend. They expanded to Fremont and have become one of AGCO’s top volume dealerships in North America under the leadership of their sons, Galen Johnson and Tom Johnson.
“Tom and I have always done our best to take care of our customers and employees the way our father did,” Galen Johnson said.
“In the last year,” he continued, “Tom and I were faced with the difficult decision of either moving forward with our plans to build a new dealership on property we acquired in Fremont, or consider selling our business to Butler Ag Equipment. After careful consideration during the last several months, with our customers and employees being the first priority, Tom and I felt the decision to join forces with Butler was in the best interest of our customers, our employees, and the Johnson family.”
Butler officials said in a news release the acquisition of Johnson Farm Equipment “strengthens Butler Ag Equipment’s commitment to Nebraska’s agricultural equipment market.”
Besides the new Fremont facility, Butler opened a temporary facility at Kearney in December 2012, and is expected to announce a new location in southeastern Nebraska in the near future.
The company also has 13 locations across the Dakotas.
Jensen said the majority of Johnson’s 12 to 13 employees will have an opportunity to work for Butler.
“We fully anticipate that most of them will come to work for us in our Fremont store when it opens,” he said.
Total employment at the Fremont facility will be around 20 people, he said.
Butler will offer sales, parts and service in Fremont.
“As of today,” Jensen said on Monday, “I think all the walls are up. ... If you drive by it, you’ll see that all the concrete panels are up. Our next step is to get the building enclosed, get the roof on and get the doors and windows in.”
The city council on Jan. 29 approved a $237,822 bid from Penro Construction Co. Inc. to extend sewer and water across U.S. 30 to the site.
“That’s supposed to be there by the end of April,” Jensen said.