History

The Delta Implement Company

The history of Delta Implement Company is the history of the agricultural South in transition. It tells the story of a change throughout the Mississippi Delta that is one of the most significant trends in American agriculture today. It is the story of farm mechanization.

Far-sighted men in the South saw mechanized agriculture in the South long before the possibility became a reality. James Hand, Jr. and J.B. Gibbs, successful partners in a sawmill and chain of general stores established a hardware business in Rolling Fork, MS. Home Hardware Company was established in 1924. Mr. Hand and Mr. Gibbs contacted the Memphis Brand of International Harvester Company about establishing an IH dealership in the Mississippi Delta. They met with Jere B. Nash, Sr., an IH employee, and agreed to become an International Harvester dealer. Mr. Nash soon left IH to become one of the three founding members of Delta Implement Company. The rest is history.

delta-historyAfter the start in Rolling Fork, the company established a dealership in Greenville, MS in 1926. This was the year of the first mechanical cotton picker experiment. 1927 was the traumatic year of the Great Flood as the Mississippi River levee broke north of Greenville. In 1929, the headquarters of Delta Implement was moved to Leland, MS. This was also the start of the Great Depression. In 1934, Planters Equipment Company was purchased in Cleveland, MS and Delta Implement of Yazoo City was established. In 1937 the price of cotton dropped to 8 cents/pound, but the businesses continued to grow.

In 1940, Delta Implement of Indianola, MS opened, and in 1941 International Harvester released the first mechanical cotton picker for sale. World War II started.

In 1946, two dealerships were opened in Arkansas – one in Manila and the other in Blytheville. In 1955, Miss-Lou Equipment Company was purchased in Vicksburg, MS. In 1974; Delta Implement Company celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala celebration headlined by Mr. Brooks McCormick, President of International Harvester Company.

Over the years, some dealerships were sold and others bought, but there were 6-8 stores in the complex. Ownership of the dealerships has stayed in the Hand, Nash, and Gibbs families throughout the whole period.

delta-history2In 1985, Tenneco Corporation, which owned Case Company, bought the agricultural interests of International Harvester and formed the combined entity under the Case IH brand. In 1987, Delta Implement Company and The Ayres-Company, a long time Case dealership in the area, merged operations and established a new corporation, Ayres-Delta Implement, Inc., with locations in Leland, Yazoo City, Belzoni and Greenwood. The Rolling Fork location retained the Delta Implement name. While the Cleveland location remained Planters Equipment.

Starting in 2012, all six current dealer locations are now officially referred to as Delta Group. But rest assured, the only thing that has changed is our name.

 

The Ayres Company

adi-historyThe Ayres Company began in January 1938 when William Emmitt Ayres and his son, Victor Leo Ayres of Leland, Mississippi accepted a farm equipment dealership from J.I. Case Company of Racine, Wisconsin. William Emmitt Ayres had recently retired from his 17 years (1920-1937) serving as the superintendent of Mississippi State University’s research center at Stoneville, MS to become the President of the National Soybean Growers Association. William used this experience and his reputation as the leading soybean authority and outstanding cotton breeder to form the farm equipment dealership and seed company, Ayres Company. The company’s goal was to serve the farmers of the Mississippi Delta with quality goods and honest service. It became one of the most prosperous in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta. In September 1938, William Emmitt Ayres passed away leaving his son Victor to continue operating the dealership under the same principles in which they had founded it.

victor-ayresIn 1957 the company accepted a construction contract with J.I. Case Company and began selling loader/backhoes to local contractors and farmers. This opened the door to allow the Ayres Company to develop a growing construction market and expand their product line to include sales of loader/backhoes, small crawlers, rough terrain forklifts and skid steers. The two markets allowed the Ayres Company the versatility to grow over the next decade.

In 1964 Victor Ayres bought 16 acres of land on highway 82 one mile west of Leland, MS and built a new facility for the dealership. The new facility gave the company room to expand the dealership far into the future. The Ayres Company continued to grow in the 1960’s.

In December 1973 Victor’s son, Stanley Ayres, graduated from Mississippi State University and returned to Leland, MS to work with his Father. He began selling equipment for the Ayres Company in 1976 and quickly became sales manager.

Istanley-ayresn 1979, Victor’s son-in-law, Richard Cousino, joined the Ayres Company as service manager. He was quickly recognized by customers for superior service and the Ayres Company enjoyed record sales and profits.

In March 1987, the Ayres Company and Delta Implement Company, a long time International Harvester dealer merged operations and established the Ayres-Delta Implement, Inc., with locations in Leland, Yazoo City, Belzoni and Greenwood.

Starting in 2012, all six current dealer locations are now officially referred to as Delta Group. But rest assured, the only thing that has changed is our name.