Wil-Rich evolved from a small two-man shop making truck hoists to one of the industry leaders in farm tillage equipment. Ed Schleuter, a blacksmith from Lehr, North Dakota, designed and built a truck hoist that could withstand the rigors of modern farming in the 1960s. A group of businessmen from Wahpeton, North Dakota, purchased this small upstart and named it Wil-Rich – from the names of Wilkin and Richland counties, where operations were based.
In 1981, Wil-Rich was sold by the founders of the company to Lear Siegler, Inc., of Santa Monica, California, which in turn sold the company to TIC United Corporation of Dallas, Texas, in 1987. After two decades of being owned by large out-of-state companies, Wil-Rich came back to its roots of being North Dakota-owned.
In May of 2001, the assets of Wil-Rich were purchased by a group of entrepreneurs who have a long and deep history of building businesses in North Dakota. In many respects, they have returned Wil-Rich to its innovative roots. Mike Bullinger has built a number of successful businesses in the building products field including Western Products, United States Seamless, EMCO Building Products and All New Gutter Service.
From their grandfather and father, Howard and Brian Dahl have a heritage that flows from two of North Dakota’s greatest manufacturing enterprises, the Melroe Company (now Bobcat Company) and the Steiger Tractor Company. Howard and Brian were involved in the development of the Concord Air Drill, which they sold to Case Corporation, and are presently involved in Amity Technology in Fargo, North Dakota.
Victor Klosterman, an owner who also serves as general manager of the company, has two decades of experience in engineering, manufacturing and general management of farm equipment companies.
In 2011, Wil-Rich formed a joint venture with AGCO, a leading worldwide provider of agricultural equipment. AGCO-Amity JV, LLC, develops and distributes seeding and tillage equipment under the Amity, Wil-Rich and Wishek brands, as well as Challenger, Sunflower and Massey Ferguson.