Ray Hagie never intended on inventing the world’s first self-propelled sprayer in 1947. He was an entrepreneur and an innovator who spent his lifetime in pursuit of solving problems and finding a better way.
In 1933, the Iowa State College graduate returned to his family farm and decided to experiment with hybrid seed corn. A drought hit and the hybrids withstood the challenge and so did Ray, leading to the opening of Hagie’s Hybrids seed corn plant in 1944.
As the agricultural industry experienced a labor shortage during WWII, Ray’s entrepreneurial spirit struck again. He developed a self-propelled “personnel carrier” to help reduce the painstaking time and fatigue associated with detasseling corn. At the end of World War II, Dow released the pesticide/herbicide, known today as 2,4-D, for use in the control of broadleaf weeds. Ray envisioned a more efficient solution to apply this product, which led to his invention of the world’s first self-propelled sprayer and founding of Hagie Manufacturing in 1947.
In years to follow, Hagie Manufacturing earned a reputation as an industry innovator by providing the market with new solutions for evolving farming needs. A few of Hagie Manufacturing’s industry firsts include the invention of the four-wheeled Hagie sprayer, front-mounted boom, and a high-clearance Nitrogen toolbar.
Committed to the community, the environment and the industry, Ray served in numerous leadership roles throughout his career including as an Iowa state representative and senator, chairman of the Iowa Manufacturers Association and on the Iowa State University Board of Governors.