CrustBuster/Speed King, Inc. has over 60 years of manufacturing experience. The company originated in the small community of Spearville, KS, located about 17 miles east of Dodge City, KS.
The company was founded by Michael Hornung in 1960 to manufacture farm machinery. He had gained previous manufacturing amd business experience in an organization he and another individual founded in 1954 to manufacture basketball goals used in school gymnasiums across the country. With the knowledge and experience gained in his previous organization, at the age of 53 he founded American Products, Inc.
The company immediately experienced good solid growth due to the phenomenal acceptance of a product called the “Crust Buster”, and later the company was renamed to reflect the reputation and notoriety of this product. Due to the trend toward the reduction in the number of farmers and the corresponding increase in the size of the remaining farms, the agricultural market eagerly accepted the tillage tools and grain drills with large field working widths, which could fold hydraulically for each transport. This was the concept CrustBuster used in building implements.
Throughout the 1960s, growth was solid and consistent. The 1970s demand requirements – created by fence row to fence row farming and $5.00 per bushel grain prices which, in turn, were brought on by the Russian wheat deal – fueled an almost uncontrollable red hot demand for CrustBuster products. The battle cry heard throughout the farm belt was that the American farmer must answer his country’s call to feed a hungry world.
The 1980s was ushered in by the energy crisis erupting in the Middle East. The Federal Reserve Board, in a successful endeavor to control inflation, exploded interest rates, causing farm commodity prices to drop below half of what they were averaging in the 1970s. These factors forced several farmers into bankruptcy, spawning a farm depression not seen since the 1930s.
CrustBuster’s management was faced with readjusting and reorganizing its business to reflect this decisive drop in sales and revenues. By the mid 1980s many previously good farm machinery manufacturers were beginning to fail. CrustBuster found its survival by purchasing the assets of other failing agricultural corporations and combining these operations under one operating umbrella of CrustBuster/Speed King, Inc.
At this time, the product lines of several other previously successful businesses were incorporated into the CrustBuster/Speed King product line. Of course, CrustBuster continued to manufacture its highly successful line of grain drills, but with the acquisition of Speed King, a very successful manufacturer of fertilizer blending and industrial equipment throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, a whole new division of bulk material handling equipment was added to the product line of CrustBuster/Speed King, Inc. in 1986.
In 1987, the famous Boll Buggy product line was purchased from a company based out of Plainview, TX. This, too, proved to be a highly successful product line and in later years, CrustBuster/Speed King went on to expand its cotton handling product line adding both the module builder product line in 1991 and module feeder product line in 1993 to its already successful line of Boll Buggies.
With the addition of the fertilizer blending equipment and the bulk materials handling equipment brought on by the Speed King acquisition, it became a natural evolution of the product line to introduce a whole new division of bulk seed handling units to meet with the industry’s growing demands for seed handling. Thus, in early 2000, CrustBuster/Speed King, Inc. introduced a whole new product line of seed tenders and bulk seed handling units to answer the farmer’s demands for bulk seed handling.
To meet the challenges and manufacturing needs of these diverse product lines, the company’s two manufacturing facilities underwent several upgrades in equipment and expansions to the manufacturing facility itself. The most recent expansion was completed in 1994 when the three existing buildings at the Spearville plant were all brought together to encompass a 60,000 square foot facility. This expansion, along with the 90,000 square foot Dodge City facility, proved to sufficiently meet the new demands of all the product lines CrustBuster/Speed King now produces.
In addition to two large manufacturing facilities, CrustBuster/Speed King also constantly strives to keep its manufacturing equipment and techniques as up to date and cost effective as possible. CrustBuster/Speed King was one of the first manufacturers in the state of Kansas to implement I.B.M.’s MAPICS DB manufacturing software allowing the use of programs such as C.I.M. (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) and inventory control and programs such as MRP (Materials Requirements and Planning).
Donald Hornung, son of Michael Hornung, serves as the company’s President and CEO. Don has been with the company since 1965 and has served as President and CEO since 1975. He continues on in his father’s tradition and still holds to the same values as his father, which are now expressed in a Mission Statement:
- The integrity of the company will be shown by its dealings with customers, suppliers, and company personnel.
- The company and its employees are committed to quality enhancement of present products and all new products through conscientious engineering and manufacturing practices.
- By continuing these policies and practices, we will perpetuate a substantial company for future generations.
Now, at the beginning of a new millennium, CrustBuster/Speed King, Inc. continues to commit to the same values held by Michael Hornung over 40 years ago while at the same time striving to be at the cutting edge of technology – be it in customer relations, equipment, techniques, or engineering designs. Through these commitments of constantly being aware of customers’ concerns and through the implementation of new technology as it becomes available, CrustBuster/Speed King, Inc. hopes to become a major force in the ever-changing agriculture industry in this millennium and beyond.