Twenty years ago the field of precision agriculture was relatively unknown, and Ag Leader Technology was a brand new company in diligent pursuit of making a name for itself. What has evolved over such a short period of time is truly remarkable. Today, Ag Leader is the leading name in precision agriculture and has grown to over 300 employees across the globe in North America, Europe, South America and Australia.
It began in 1986 in Al Myers' basement. “I had been brainstorming a lot of product concepts and kept a spiral notebook of ideas,” Al explained. “After carefully weighing the pros and cons of every idea, I decided there was one that stood out to me as the one that was undoubtedly going to happen and that every farmer would want: the on-the-go yield monitor."
Realizing that someone was going to do it at some point, Al decided he wanted to be first. “I knew it would not be an easy product to develop,” Al said, “But I also knew that if I could do it well, the difficulty of making an accurate, on-the-go yield monitor would be a barrier to entry into the market for competitors.”
After six years of development and six generations of prototypes, Al was ready to go to market with his first product: the Yield Monitor 2000. He sold just 10 yield monitors that year, but he didn’t give up. While there had been other companies attempting to develop this technology, their products weren’t working as well. Al’s design was the first widely successful yield monitor. So at 44 years old, he quit his engineering job, depleted his savings and started Ag Leader Technology in 1992.
Ag Leader becomes The Leader
When it came time to choose a name for his new company, Al’s attorney advised him against Ag Leader, as he warned it was potentially too generic and could be conflicting with other companies who had already coined the moniker “leader.” But Al and his father liked the name, so he made a bold move to go with it, even though it seemed strong for a start-up company. This decision, among many others Al made during the evolution, was later proved right.
By 1995, Al was selling over 1,500 yield monitors a year and was recognizing great success. He realized early on it was a product that would mature rapidly and would someday become standard equipment. Yield monitoring was the first precision farming practice to be adopted by a majority of growers. Ag Leader has evolved to offer a complete line of precision farming products that help growers plan, plant, apply, harvest and manage water and data more efficiently and accurately.