Company makes equipment for many ag industries
By JOHN SCHMITZ
For the Capital Press
SHERIDAN, Ore. -- Anybody in the Northwest who deals with Christmas trees has heard the name DeJong.
But you won't see any DeJong Christmas tree balers, loaders or shakers in the company's 20-by-30-foot booth at the Willamette Valley Ag Expo.
That's because in mid-November most Christmas tree growers have begun shipping their beautifully sculpted crops.
What you will find at the DeJong booth, however, are several pieces of equipment that made by the company, which is pronounced "de YOUNG."
DeJong Products, Inc. began operations in the early 1950s as a farm equipment repair facility.
The company is owned and operated today by Mike Brown, a former John Deere employee who acquired DeJong in 1982 and began designing and building Christmas-tree-handling equipment.
Since then he has added winegrape equipment to his portfolio -- manufacturing bin dumpers, elevating conveyors, sorting equipment and hoppers. Over the years, DeJong has evolved into a service-oriented organization offering a variety of agricultural handling equipment and precision spray equipment, as well as parts and service to maintain spray equipment.
In 2000, DeJong opened DPI Supply in Tangent, Ore., a facility dedicated to the supply of parts and equipment used by professionals involved in green growth management.
DPI offers spray nozzles, plumbing, spray controllers, small sprayers and plastic tanks. Sprayers designed and built by DeJong are offered through both the Sheridan and Tangent facilities.
Brown, who is on the Expo board of directors, said that of all the ag sectors it services, the wine industry has been the healthiest.
At the Expo this year he'll have a portable, elevating conveyor and a stainless steel bin dumper.
The conveyor, which can be used in wineries other food processing facilities and sells for around $14,000, has a hand-operated, adjustable discharge height of 5 to 12 feet.
The conveyor also features a converter box that can adapt to the local power source.
"We've been building these in various configurations for around 10 years," Brown said.
The stainless steel bin dumpers he manufacturers can be adjusted to meet various height requirements.
He will also display spray equipment parts and show an instructive video.
Some of the specialty jobs that Brown has taken on recently include the fabrication of a liquid fertilizer attachment.
DeJong is one of only two major manufacturers of Christmas-tree-handling equipment in the Northwest.
He said that big box stores and labor issues are basically behind a movement to add more mechanization to the handling of Christmas trees. "It's quite a transition period. (There's) quite a lot of palletizing issues going on."