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Big Dutchman Founder Celebrates 100th Birthday

11 February 2011
BD Fish Equipment

GERMANY - Jack DeWitt, the original 'Big Dutchman', turned 100 years old on 30 January 2011.

In 1938, Jack de Witt and his brother, Dick, founded Big Dutchman and together they would design, develop, and sell the first automatic poultry feeding system. In addition to the revolutionary design featuring the flat chain concept, which remains the most popular poultry feeding technology in the world, they would develop many other products to modernize poultry production.

Today, Josef Meerpohl and his family are the sole owners of Big Dutchman which is headed by Josef's son, Bernd Meerpohl. He and Clovis Rayzel, the president of Big Dutchman USA, visited Jack at his home to wish him a happy birthday. At this time, Jack was presented with a photo book in which Josef signed: 'I will never forget that you brought the wonderful Big Dutchman idea into my life'.

In late January, Big Dutchman celebrated its founders with a special historical display at the International Poultry Exposition, Atlanta (USA). Photographs and original equipment were featured at the show, emphasising the solid foundation of the company.

"Even today, the company is influenced daily by Jack's simple, ageless way of doing business," agreed Bernd Meerpohl and Clovis Rayzel. Mr Meerpohl went on to say: "Jack DeWitt had a very simple philosophy, but it's one that is time-tested in every way. He was very customer-focused and market-oriented, and this is a philosophy we hammer on every day."

Jack and Dick DeWitt shaped the company early on to become the worldwide leading supplier for pig and poultry production. "We had a pretty good idea that sure beat shoveling out bird feed by hand. We just had to take it out to the rest of the world," recollects Mr de Witt.

He sold his interest in the company in 1968 but stayed on as an advisor until 1971. In 1958, Josef Meerpohl from Vechta-Calveslage took over as sales agent for northern Germany. In 1985, he acquired the whole company through a management buy-out, which, at the time, excluded the sales rights for North and South America.

Today, the headquarters of the family enterprise are located in Vechta-Calveslage, Germany. Under the roof of the holding Big Dutchman AG managed by CEO, Bernd Meerpohl, the innovative company group has been successful on the worldwide markets for years. In regard to development and distribution of housing and feeding systems for modern pig and poultry production, Big Dutchman is regarded as international market leader. The name Big Dutchman is a trade mark for reliable quality, fast service and unsurpassed know-how.

Planning and construction of biogas plants for agriculture and industry, indoor fish farms and, just recently, also systems for the generation of energy from biomass complete today's product portfolio.


Jack DeWitt (right) happily welcomed the visitor from overseas and accepts the personal congratulations from Bernd Meerpohl (left).

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