ZEDELGEM, Belgium -- New Holland, a leader in the agricultural equipment business and part of the Fiat Group, is celebrating 100 years of harvesting innovation and production excellence at its Zedelgem manufacturing plant in Belgium with a two-month program of activities.

The official program started with an International Opening Session Sept. 21, when New Holland's management team shared the plant's historic achievements and plans for the future with its guests, which included representatives from dealers, suppliers, as well as local authorities.

"A centenary is a significant milestone in the life of a company, something to be proud of; but, despite our remarkable age, we still consider ourselves to be very young," stated Linda Knoll, executive vice president, Agricultural Equipment Manufacturing.

Zedelgem's position as New Holland's harvesting center is testimony of the experience and reputation for design excellence and high build quality that the plant has acquired over time. Ninety-eight percent of the combines, balers and self-propelled forage harvesters coming from its production lines are exported. New Holland is employing more than 2,800 people in Belgium, with almost 2,000 in Zedelgem itself, and providing work for hundreds more suppliers.

It is a powerful relationship dating back to 1906, when Leon Claeys started his company to produce stationary threshers. His mission to find innovative solutions to make the work of farmers easier and their businesses more profitable is true of Zedelgem to this day.

Since then Zedelgem,has been responsible for a host of technical innovations and benchmark machinery, with many new patents to its name. The first European self-propelled combine, the MZ, was launched in 1952 to widespread acclaim.

In the 1970s and 1980s, many industry-defining new features were introduced to combining, such as the rotary separator and the self-levelling cleaning shoe. By 2002, New Holland achieved full automation on our CX and CR combines. The launch of the CX combine in 2002 changed the way combines look today.

Marco Mazzu, President New Holland Agricultural equipment, said, "With one European combine out of four, and being No. 1 in the world and in Europe for big balers, it is clear that Zedelgem and the people who work there play an important role in the future growth of the brand.

"Focusing on customers' needs, the passion for innovation and highest quality has lived with us through 100 years of technological development and leadership, but we are still very young and growing. Zedelgem is a mix of state-of-the-art technology, drive for quality and innovation and a real belief in service. This mix led to 100 years of success and will form the base for the success of the next century."

New Holland is a brand of CNH Global N.V., a global leader in agricultural and construction equipment and financial services.

SOURCE: New Holland via PR Newswire.