It all started as a hatchery.

1938 history


Brothers Richard (Dick) and Jack DeWitt, whose parents emigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S., started the company that would become Big Dutchman. The business started as a hatchery and expanded to include the production of broilers and turkeys. As growers looking for more efficient ways to raise their flocks, they designed the Big Dutchman feeder. Pictured: Jack and Dick DeWitt and the building where the business started in Zeeland, Michigan

1948 history


Model A (round body) chain feeder launched and sold under the “Big Dutchman” product name. At this time the company was called “Automatic Poultry Feeder Co.” It was sold in the beginning of 1949 to Mr. Carson Lamberson, of Abbottstown, Pennsylvania. With its revolutionary chain feed carrying concept, it became the first automated poultry feeder produced on a commercial scale. Pictured: Wayne Schipper of Hamilton, Michigan

1951 history


New manufacturing plant, Washington Ave., Zeeland, Michigan. Pictured: Big Dutchman location on Washington Ave.

1954 Big Dutchman


Name of company changed to Big Dutchman, Inc.


Josef Meerpohl, a poultry farmer from Calveslage in Lower Saxony, Germany, joins the company as the head of sales for that country. Pictured: Jack DeWitt and Josef Meerpohl in 1963


Company’s first overseas operation is opened in the Netherlands, also under the responsibility of Josef Meerpohl. Pictured: Big Dutchman truck in the Netherlands


New complex inaugurated on Franklin St., Zeeland, Michigan. Founders sell the company to US Industries. Pictured: Franklin St. location right after completion


Josef Meerpohl acquires Big Dutchman’s German operations. US Industries moves Big Dutchman to Atlanta, Georgia. Pictured: Big Dutchman Germany in 1970


US Industries sells Big Dutchman to Hanson Trust. New owner moves Big Dutchman from Atlanta to New Holland, Pennsylvania. Pictured: Big Dutchman location in Atlanta, GA


The Meerpohl family acquires Big Dutchman from Hanson Trust, with rights on the brand for all of the world except the Americas. Under the new ownership, the Big Dutchman brand rapidly grows as a truly global organization. Pictured: Josef Meerpohl leaving for USA


Big Dutchman North America is moved from Pennsylvania to Holland, Michigan on 40th St. Pictured: 40th St. location


The holding company BDAG is created in Germany. Josef Meerpohl holds the position of Chairman of the Supervisory Board, while his oldest son, Bernd Meerpohl, takes over the management of Big Dutchman as the Chairman of the Board of Management. Pictured: Josef and Bernd Meerpohl


The Meerpohl family acquires the totality of Big Dutchman. Pictured: Josef and Bernd Meerpohl


In 2006 Big Dutchman North America moves from 40th St. to the current location on John F. Donnelly Dr. Pictured: Big Dutchman USA building before renovation


Big Dutchman acquires Poultry Management Systems Inc. Located in Saranac, Michigan, PMSI makes computer controls for the egg production industry. Pictured: PMSI office welcome area


Big Dutchman celebrates its 75 year anniversary. Pictured: Clovis Rayzel, President Big Dutchman North America and Bernd Meerpohl


Big Dutchman North America expands its office and showroom space. Pictured: Renovated building just after completion


Big Dutchman opens new location in Charlotte, NC to service Latin America Pig and Poultry divisions. The Latin America team moves into the new Big Dutchman offices in Charlotte, NC to better service the growing Latin American pig and poultry markets. Pictured: Charlotte, NC office interior


The Big Dutchman group acquires an agricultural building business, Agricon by Betco. Betco is a supplier of steel livestock buildings based in North Carolina. ”This is an important step to strengthen the building know-how of our brand Agricon, and to further our strategy of becoming the most competitive supplier of turn-key solutions.”, said Bernd Meerpohl.