History of DICKEY-john
Our Humble Beginnings
The story of DICKEY-john began in the mid-'50s when Bob Dickey, a farmer in Chatham, Illinois, concluded that he had no guarantee the planting taking place behind his tractor was actually occurring correctly. The only way to verify the seeding process was to physically turn around and observe the seeds dropping or periodically get off his tractor and perform spot checks. Bob considered options that might help simplify this process, but then, wrapped up in the business of farming, he shelved the budding idea.
An incident in the mid-'60s became the catalyst that would bring monitoring to the world of farming and change the direction of not only Bob Dickey's life but also that of modern farming. An unfortunate accident caused the loss of sight in Bob Dickey's right eye, making his previous thoughts on monitoring a necessity to continue his livelihood in farming. Together with his close friend and brother-in-law, Jack Littlejohn, he developed the basic plans for building a planter monitor.
After consulting with the people who would become the initial investors in the planter monitor, Bob Dickey approached Sangamo Electric Company in Springfield, Illinois, about his idea. The man he approached, Bob Lanphier III, would become the president of DICKEY-john Corporation two years later. For the first year, Bob Dickey operated out of his farmhouse, with his wife serving as his secretary. They began receiving hundreds of inquiries due to an ad they placed in Prairie Farmer magazine. Farmers from hundreds of miles away came to see this new technology.
In January 1966, they decided to incorporate. One night at the kitchen table, Jack Littlejohn came up with the name DICKEY-john (the "john" in DICKEY-john is always printed in lower case, denoting Littlejohn). Thus, the corporation was born.
Over the years, DICKEY-john has changed a great deal. In 1966, DICKEY-john manufactured and marketed one product, a planter monitor with a mechanical switch. In 1988, Churchill Industries acquired DICKEY-john Corporation. Under their guidance, DICKEY-john has embarked on a new era of strategic product development and quality initiatives with key customers. Today, DICKEY-john offers products for every size and type of farming operation (as well as public works operations), including a full line of planter monitors, grain moisture testers, grain analyzers, material application control systems, and more recently, GPS speed sensors and GPS and web-based fleet trackers.
DICKEY-john has become the world leader in the manufacturing of ruggedized, advanced-technology electronic assemblies. Some of DICKEY-john's firsts include:
- First successful planter monitor
- First successful grain moisture analyzer
- First Doppler radar velocity sensor for agricultural use
- First high accuracy seed sensor
- First electronic planter controller
- First accurate handheld instrument capable of measuring viscosity
Along with excellence in technology, DICKEY-john has an outstanding staff of approximately 300 employees. These dedicated individuals strive to meet customers' needs quickly and always with excellence. DICKEY-john's commitment to its employees remains unchanged from the earliest of times. This dedication to employees' development and progress is evidenced in the longevity of employment—the average employee has more than 13 years of experience, and many have been with the company since its founding.
DICKEY-john's strong employees and innovations have propelled the DICKEY-john brand name to the forefront of technology in agriculture, analytical, and public works instrumentation. In the process, the company has developed a first-class manufacturing facility, state-of-the-art electronics and software design capabilities, systems engineering expertise, and a family of sensor-based electronic products tested to withstand harsh environments. DICKEY-john was one of the first companies in the industry to attain ISO 9001 certification. We recently earned ISO 9001:2015 certification as well. The company mission is to be a customer-focused organization striving for innovation, excellence, and speed in everything we do.
Currently, engineers are working on a wide range of products aimed at key customers, assuring a stream of new products well into the 21st century. By continuing this intense product development, introducing new methodologies into the factory, and building key business relationships with customers, DICKEY-john intends to remain a leader in the electronics and analytical industries for years to come.
Today, DICKEY-john accommodates customers on six continents. Our products are standards in their industries. The GAC2100 Grain Analysis Computer was selected as the Federal Standard for measuring grain moisture content in 1998. When the USDA updated the Federal Standard to the Universal Grain Moisture Algorithm (UGMA) in 2012, the GAC 2500-UGMA Grain Analysis Computer was GIPSA-Certified as UGMA-Compatible. Our High-Rate Seed Sensor is by far the market leader in sensors, currently unmatched in the industry. DICKEY-john's design team is ready to take on new challenges in a factory that has earned the reputation for delivering cost-effective, high-quality products on time, time and again.