Vermeer Corporation “Takes a Direct Hit” From Tornado

Vermeer Corporation is credited with inventing the round hay baler. ( Vermeer Corporation )

At approximately 4 p.m. today, Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa was in the direct path of a tornado. The company suffered significant damage to several plants and the waste management facility on the campus is a complete loss.

During the tornado, more than 400 dealers and customers were onsite to celebrate the company's 70th anniversary. Vermeer CEO Jason Andringa says that as the storm approached employees, dealers and customers were guided to several tornado shelters on the campus. Still, seven people were taken to Pella Regional hospital for minor injuries, according to local emergency officials. 

This evening, Andringa gave an update to local media.  

There is significant structural damage and property damage across the campus, according to Andringa.

"Plant 4, plant 7 and our advanced system testing facility will need a structural assessment before we can determine the impact of the damage and the ability to continue operations," Andringa said.  "Plant 5 and plant 6 both have significant damage that we believe at this time will limit our ability to continue operations. Our waste management facility is a complete loss."  

All operations at the facility were closed for the night of July 19 and all day Friday, July 20.   

"We've dealt with several challenges during seven decades of doing business and as we've survived them thus far, we plan to do so again," he said.  

Here are pictures posted to several Twitter accounts:

Updated at 10:20 CST on July 19 by Anna-Lisa Laca