Farris Brothers has a long history of custom harvesting. Our roots go all the way to the beginning of mechanized migratory grain harvest. It started with Gene Farris who as a young man worked on mule pull type harvesters. Gene worked on harvest in the summers and was an auto mechanic in the winters. At the start of W.W.II Combines were in short supply. The material to manufacture combines was not available due to the war effort. So the few combines that could be built were only sold to people who would travel the country with them and contract harvest wheat for many farmers. In the first year of combine harvester rationing Gene did not qualify as an established cutter. He than joined an established cutter, Roosevelt “Rose” Jones. Through this arrangement Gene was able to buy 2 Massy Ferguson combines. In years after that Gene was able to purchase rationed combine on his own.
Gene Farris had three sons, Bob, Rick, and Gary. All three of them grew up going on harvest every summer. Buy the time Bob was in Collage at the University of Kansas Genes health was deteriorating and Bob took over and ran his fathers harvesting business. Bob had his 2 younger brothers to help him on the wheat harvest. This was a job for all three of the brothers to work summers between school terms. The work was hard but paid well enough to support the business and put all 3 brothers through collage. By the end of 1964 when Bob received his engineering and law degrees Bob turned the harvesting business over to Rick the next oldest. Bob then went on to pursue a carrier as a patent attorney and military officer.
At this time Rick was attending the University of Kansas receiving a Business degree and starting his Law degree while harvesting wheat with his younger brother Gary in the summers. During this time Gene died and Rick turned the harvesting business into a full time job by picking up fall work in California, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Gary was attending Fort Hays State and working with Rick in the summers and on breaks in the winters.
To Custom Harvesters the brand of combine they run are a part of their identities. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Bob ran a mix of combines his first was an international, one he was not happy with. After that he ran Oliver and Massy Ferguson combines settling on the Massey's in the late 1950’s. This started the “Massy Years”. For the next 30 years the brothers ran Massy combines from super 92’s to 410’s to 510’s. In the 1970’s 760’s and finally in the 1980’s 860’s. They had also settled on running 4 combines at a time. Having 14’ headers with the 410’s and then 16’ headers with the 510’s. In 1972 when the MF 760 came around they moved to 24’ headers and then on to 30’ when the 860’s came out in 1979 Over these years trucks went from a mix of Dodge and Fords to all Fords and diesels. In the 1970’s Rick and Gary ran the business splitting. the equipment in half and leap leapfrogging one another from harvest stop to stop.
In 1978 the brothers decided to incorporate the business giving it the name Farris Brothers Inc. By 1980 Gary left harvesting to go manufacturing on his manufacturing business Farris Manufacturing. This company has specialized in making custom aluminum trailers marketed toward custom harvester's.. From this point on Rick has run the harvesting business.
The 1980’s brought a lot of changes for Farris Brothers. Trucks were standardized on Internationals and combines went from Massy 860’s to Case IH 1680’s. In 1984 Farris Brothers became a charter member on the industry organization US Custom Harvesters and Rick became the second President of that organization. Farris brother has pioneered the way and been a top operator in the custom harvest business. The company has worked closely with the development and engineering advances of the combine harvester. First with Massy Ferguson and than many smaller company’s like Gates Rubber, and Precision Metal fabrication.
In 1987 Massy went into receivership and no longer made the 860 combines. Farris Brothers had to make a big change. and after looking over all the manufacturers decided to go with International harvester who had just merged with JI Case. The last set of International truck bought in 1986 were purchased from Hoxie Implement. In 1987 Farris brothers bought their first Case IH 1680’s from Hoxie Implement. While never buying another truck from Hoxie again Farris brothers has bought its combines from Hoxie ever since. By 2012 Farris Brothers has purchased over 160 combines from Hoxie Implement.