It all began with farming. In 1946, after serving in World War II as a Marine, Robert B. Daugherty began looking for a good business opportunity and found one. Daugherty recognized the potential of a small manufacturing company owned by an inventor named Sam McCleneghan. After careful consideration, he invested virtually his entire life savings – $5,000 – in the company. The company, which was situated on a farm just west of Valley, Nebraska, was named Valley Manufacturing and began by building farm elevators.
Eventually, the new company contracted with Sears, Roebuck to supply 1,000 farm elevators. They soon added speed jacks, wagon hoists, universal joints, hay racks, stalk cutters, minimum tillage tools, a front-end loader and a center pivot to their product line.