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Bush Hog plans return to production in February

Jeff Keeling • Jan 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

TELFORD — Bush Hog employees got a piece of positive news from the company’s president in a letter dated Wednesday, which indicated that the company plans to return to production in early February.

The maker of rotary cutters and other agricultural equipment has a six-year-old facility at the Washington County Industrial Park in Telford, where about 200 workers were furloughed earlier this month.

“Like many manufacturers in these economic times, we are taking action to avoid excess field inventory,” Bush Hog President Duane Prentice wrote. “The current temporary production stoppage is one of the initiatives we have implemented to ensure that our field inventory level is brought down to an acceptable level.”

Starting Thursday, the company will update workers in Telford and Selma, Ala., on February production schedules, Prentice wrote. At that time, local workers can call 788-7181 or 788-7184, the letter said.

Prentice wrote that he understood why employees were asking what he deemed “reasonable questions” about the company’s future in the wake of an early January memo hinting that major changes were coming, including a possible sale.

“We understand the stress these circumstances have put on you and your families, and we hope to alleviate some of that anxiety.”

As for a potential sale, Prentice said a consultant hired by Bush Hog owner CC Industries has found some interest, “but a sale is far from certain.”

The letter thanked employees for their patience and the hard work they have invested in Bush Hog, and Prentice wrote that even with the company’s commitment to exploring a potential sale, “Bush Hog has been, is and will continue to be the market leader in rotary cutters and other agricultural implements.”

Bush Hog opened its 330,000-square-foot Telford plant in 2002. At that time, company officials said the facility could employ 450 people at full capacity. The Tri-Cities Business Journal last spring listed its employment level at 255.

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