OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Robert Daugherty, the Nebraska pioneer of center pivot irrigation, has died after a short illness.

Company spokesman Gene Hinkle says Daugherty died at home Wednesday morning in Omaha. Daugherty was 88 years old.

After Daugherty's World War II service, he acquired half interest in a farm machine shop. Over the years, he helped build it into Valley Manufacturing. In 1967 it became Omaha-based Valmont Industries.

The company says that in 1953, Daugherty obtained a patent license to the center pivot irrigation system developed by Frank Zybach (ZEE'-bok). The system proved a catalyst for the company's growth and made a worldwide mark in agriculture.

Valmont also makes poles and towers for many uses.

Chairman and CEO Mogens Bay (MOH'-enz BYE) called Daugherty an "entrepreneur extraordinaire."



Copyright 2010 The AP.

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