Marion is a farmer from western Illinois and is the entrepreneur of Calmer Corn Heads, Inc., which is one of the world`s largest manufacturers of 12, 15 and 20-inch row corn heads. The only manufacturer of 12` row corn heads!!! In 1994, Calmer`s Ag Research Center determined that there was a significant yield advantage to growing corn in 15-inch rows instead of 30-inch rows. Marion set out to build a 15-inch corn head. During this process, he invented the universal corn picking row unit which is now commonly referred to as the single chain corn head. In 1995, Marion filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office with this concept. In 1998, he was granted a United States Patent No. 5,704,202. He has also been issued patents on this concept in several foreign countries. Since this time, Marion has been testing prototypes and other new corn head improvements. Several new patent applications have been filed on these concepts.
Marion Calmer is a farmer from western Illinois, is the entrepreneur of Calmer's Ag Research, and CEO of Calmer Corn Heads, Inc. He started his farming operation of 80 acres of corn and 10 gilts in 1975. In 1978, he graduated from Black Hawk East College with an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences.
During his farming career, he has grown corn, soybeans, seed corn, soybean seed, and has operated a swine operation. Marion has also spent several hours modifying and inventing farm machinery. During his career, he has gone from conventional tillage to no-till, adopted the use of bio technology, and has gone from growing corn and soybeans in 40-inch rows to growing both crops in 15-inch rows. He also strives to reduce input costs. At one point in time, his corn herbicide costs were as high as $37 per acre and today have been reduced to near $6 per acre. Soybean seed costs have been as high as $40 per acre and today are $20 per acre. During this time, Marion has also reduced the number of field passes that it takes to grow a crop from 9 to 3.
In 1991, Marion was selected as one of four finalists for the Illinois Soybean Association's Young Leader Program. Marion has been a DuPont No-till Neighbor and a featured speaker at DuPont and Monsanto Residue Management Conference and the National No-Till Conference from 1994 - present. Marion is a corporate member of the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC).
In 1994 and 1995, he received State and National Honor Awards from the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). Nominated for the JC Young Farmer Award in 1995 and in 1996, won the No-till Innovator Award for the category - Public Image of Agriculture. In 1998, he was selected as one of the 25 most influential people in American Agriculture.
In 1999, he was selected as Black Hawk College's Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
Marion has been featured in several popular farm magazines, such as Successful Farming, Farm Journal, Farm Industry News, Prairie Farmer, Wallace, Farm Equipment, and many others.
Marion filed for his first patent in 1995, and the field test resulted in the first narrow row single chain corn head. These chains need a protective covering, so he invented the low profile, short deck and snout. The new narrow row corn head became more and more popular, and needed to be fit to more than one style of combine, so he invented the universal feeder house enabling the Calmer corn head to fit all combines. After a few years of running the narrow row corn head, it became apparent that a new stalk chop was necessary. Marion began working on a new stalk roll that would crush and crimp at the corn head without extra moving parts. 10 knives that crushed the stalk, was the first improved roll, The Calmer BT Crusher. This was available for all Calmer Corn Heads being built, and he also made it to fit a few other company corn heads. Of course, this was not enough; Marion wanted a stalk roll that would be better than a chopping corn head so he invented the Calmer BT Chopper. This stalk roll was, is, and will be the best stalk roll available for sizing corn stalk into small “confetti like” pieces that will decompose more quickly. The decomposition allows the stalk to be used more quickly by the next season’s crop. The stalk is able to be planted into more easily, it is evenly distributed which makes fertilizer and temperature more uniform.