Inaugural Club members celebrate with Grand Island workers
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (December 5, 2007) – Custom harvesters are a unique breed in agriculture. Every spring they start combining wheat in Texas, and follow the small grains harvest up through the northern plains states all the way to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in late fall. It's a hectic, grueling schedule, even if the weather's perfect and the hired hands and equipment are all top-notch. So every custom cutter's goal, for obvious reasons, is 100 percent uptime.
"They can't tolerate breakdowns in their combine fleet," says Gerry Salzman, senior director of global harvesting product marketing management. "That's time and money wasted. And time is of the essence during small grains harvest. They have to get it in, and move on to the next job. They need top-quality equipment, or they'll have real problems." That's where Case IH Axial-Flow® combines come in.
"Most custom cutters roll at least part of their fleet every year,"Salzman continues. "So they want great resale value, which has been a core principle of Case IH Axial-Flow combines throughout the machine's 30-year history. Custom harvesters also need simple, reliable, productive machines that are easily adjustable from one crop to another, and that perform well even in adverse weather. Again, Case IH Axial-Flow combines fit the bill."
The "100 Owner Club" idea is born
Just as custom harvesters have long-term relationships with their customers, often spanning generations, Case IH has long-term relationships with its customers – including some of the top custom cutters in North America. 
"That's how we came up with the Axial-Flow 100 Owner Club," Salzman says. "One of our Case IH dealers, Arnold's in Kimball, Minn., keeps meticulous records, and noticed that one of their custom harvester customers had just purchased their 100th Case IH Axial‑Flow combine."
The customer: Rob and Sue Holland, from Litchfield, Minn. "I like good machinery. I inherited that from my father," says Rob, who owns and operates Holland Harvesting with his wife, Sue. "We started back in 1985 with one combine, an old Case IH 1480." Since then, the Hollands have expanded their business – they harvested over 60,000 acres this season – and they've continued to buy red. "They've been good machines, and we have a good dealer. We've bought every one from the same dealership."
As soon as Salzman heard about the Hollands hitting the 100 Axial-Flow combine mark, he had other Case IH dealers begin counting up customers' combine orders. They discovered three other custom cutters who joined the Hollands in the 100 Owner Club inaugural class: Farris Harvesting of Edson, Kan.; Klatt Harvesting of Foremost, Alberta; and Paxton Harvesting of Weatherford, Okla.  "We also found Gene and Shirley Linnebur, who grow wheat and raise buffalo in Byers, Colorado," says Salzman.
100 Owner Club ceremony
While Case IH dealers continue combing their records to uncover additional 100 Owner Club members, the company recently honored the first five members with a celebration at the Grand Island, Neb., plant, where Axial-Flow combines are manufactured. Club members had dinner with some key executives; took a VIP plant tour; and were given personalized leather jackets embossed with the –Axial-Flow 100 Owner Club logo. They also received special 100 Owner Club decals for their Axial-Flow combines.
"We timed the ceremony to coincide with the Hollands' 100th machine being built," Salzman says. "As they walked into the plant to watch their 100th Axial-Flow combine roll off the line, 600-plus Grand Island employees were there to greet them, give them a round of applause, thank them for being Case IH customers, and show them to their brand new Axial-Flow 7010."
According to Holland, "It was very overwhelming for both of us, to be honored and appreciated like that," he says. "When they opened the doors to the plant and all the employees were standing there, clapping and thanking us, it was really emotional.  We've just never experienced anything like that, and we were feeling gratitude to the employees who build the quality we need to help us do what we do."
Grand Island plant employees also signed a banner for each club member. In addition, a special plaque was created to commemorate the 100 Owner Club, listing each member. "The plaque will remain prominently displayed at the Grand Island facility," Salzman says. "It's one more way to showcase our appreciation of, and commitment to, our Case IH customers."
Case IH is a global leader in agricultural equipment, committed to collaborating with its customers to develop the most powerful, productive, reliable equipment - for those who demand more. With headquarters in the United States, Case IH has a network of dealers and distributors that operates in over 160 countries. Case IH provides agricultural equipment systems, flexible financial service offerings and parts and service support for professional farmers and commercial operators through a dedicated network of professional dealers and distributors. Productivity enhancing products include tractors; combines and harvesters; hay and forage equipment; tillage tools; planting and seeding systems; sprayers and applicators; and site-specific farming tools. For more information, visit us on the World Wide Web at Case IH is a division of CNH ( Global N.V. (NYSE: CNH), a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A. (FIA.MI).