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Pearsons Livestock Equipment Expands Thedford, Nebraska, Manufacturing Complex

Pearsons Inc., which does business as Pearsons Livestock Equipment and manufactures a full line of cattle and bison handling equipment, recently renovated their manufacturing and operations center in Thedford, Nebraska.

The company manufactures items including; self-catch head gates, chutes, alleys and crowding tubs distributed to domestic and international clientele. It also serves as a national distributor for Tru-Test Group weighing systems.

Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded $35,000 in Site and Building Development Fund money to construct a blast facility used in powder coating the handling equipment, among other improvements to the original facility. The company purchased Clemco blast equipment, a 60HP air compressor, 480V transformer, and air compressor shed. The project will help retain the existing manufacturing technicians and office personnel.

The company maintains three manufacturing buildings totaling 21,000-sq.ft., and two storage buildings totaling 7,000-sq. ft. Manufacturing staff are responsible for cutting, forming, machining, welding, painting and packaging equipment that is sold by independently-owned and operated distribution companies in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia and other areas of Europe, and Australia.

“Pearson’s has been an institution, a key employer, here in Thedford for more than 50 years,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Foley. “We’re pleased to help David and Ricky Rater’s efforts to remain a vital part of this community’s future.”

“The vitality of our rural communities depends heavily on steady reliable employment which not only supports families, but is directly linked to the greater economic health of other businesses, such as grocery and hardware stores, repair shops and local banks to name a few,” said DED Director Courtney Dentlinger. “Our Department is here to offer businesses the necessary programs and services that allow them to grow and prosper.”

Pearsons Co-owners David and Ricky Rater purchased the company in 2013 from Bud and Gail Johnston as part of a long-term strategy to support, expand and grow production at the original Pearson manufacturing facility in Thedford, and a new facility in Vernon, Texas.

The father-son duo want to meet increased national and international demand for their products. Pearson Livestock Equipment began in 1962 when L.B. “Bud” Pearson built the first self-catch “automatic” head gate in his ranch shop, south of Thedford. He received a patent for his product in 1964 and manufactured the gates at his ranch until 1966, when he built a facility in Thedford. The business was incorporated in 1971. Pearson created the straight-sided squeeze chute in 1973 and patented it in 1975. Additional products were added through the years including hydraulic chutes and alleys.

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