Harvey Vijverberg has always been fascinated with farming equipment, having grown up next door to his uncle’s dairy farm in the Netherlands.
As he got older, Vijverberg worked on his family’s farm using heavy machinery, starting with a tractor. When he became an adult, his background led him to work for landscaping contractors and farmers where he would utilize “an excavator-tractor hybrid” attached with a mowing bucket.
The Netherlands native moved to the U.S. about 14 years ago, and in 2016, he relocated to Montrose with his wife Andrea.
And now he hopes to use the 55-year-old Dutch mowing bucket technology to help clear out irrigation ditches for local farmers.
Harvey first noticed a lack of such technology after buying a piece of land in Montrose with Andrea. He said he was “surprised” that a mowing bucket wasn’t anywhere in the states after using it nearly exclusively for a five-six year stretch in the Netherlands.
“It’s 55 years old so it’s a proven technology,” Harvey said.
Harvey is now offering his services to other residents under the business, Pondmountain LLC.
Pondmountain is the literal English translation of Harvey’s last name.
At his home, Harvey has to maintain a stretch of an irrigation ditch. He said in the past, when a controlled burn was used, the fire would go up the nearby hillside, and it would go completely ablaze.
To prevent this from happening this year, the Vijverbergs recently imported a mowing bucket similar to ones that Harvey used in the Netherlands. The Dutch equipment allows the ability to scoop out weeds and grass near the irrigation ditch and mow down other such vegetation.
The mowing bucket can restore the full flow of water in the ditch during the irrigation season. This bucket removes the need to burn ditches which will better help for air quality and is safer, Andrea said.
“Burning is getting to be dangerous,” she said. “There’s another way to do it.”
Andrea added this machinery also cuts back on how many times farmers need to maintain their irrigation ditch.
“You really only need to do it twice a year: once in the fall and spring,” she said.
This technology is more commonplace in the Netherlands. That’s because about a quarter of the country is under sea level which has consistently created a drainage problem for farmers, Harvey said.
“There’s always water in the ditches so they can’t even burn even if they wanted to,” he said. “For the most part, if you can get the vegetation out, it will restore the flow of the water again.”
This equipment is very hard to find in the States, and expensive, as the Vijverbergs found out. Harvey said their supplier told them there’s a mowing bucket owned by a Florida resident. But outside of that, Harvey believes he’s the only one to own such tech west of the Mississippi River.
The reason why the machinery is hard to find may come down to cost. For another farmer to ship over the same equipment would be a $10,000 investment, Andrea said.
Harvey added if this technology becomes in demand, he’ll help other businesses get the same equipment.
For more information, call 970-964-7417.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.