Kelly Ryan Equipment Company was founded in 1945. Reflecting on those early days, Kelly Ryan once said, "After the war, you could sell almost anything because farmers were in such need." With material shortages, the first Kelly Ryan portable farm elevators were constructed from a variety of materials, some of which came from scrap yards. But they filled the need, were priced right and performed well. Some can still be seen in service today.
Besides elevators for grain and hay, some of the company’s other early products included ground-driven wheel-type hay rakes and P.T.O. single-beater and all-steel manure spreaders. At one time, Kelly Ryan was producing thousands of disc-harrows.
Kelly Ryan’s spreader business launched it into mechanized cattle feeding in the 1950s.
Ever since then, the company has offered standard and mixer feedwagons in a variety of models and sizes.
After its introduction to bagged silage, Kelly Ryan greatly simplified the bagging machine in 1983 and introduced the 2-wheel version with 8- and 9-ft bag diameter sizes (7-, 10-, and 12-ft sizes came later). This simplification made the machine more affordable and suitable for use in any size operation.
After a life devoted to his employees and company, Kelly Ryan passed away in 1996 after a three-year battle with cancer. Up to the onset of his illness, Mr. Ryan was active in sales, customer service, and product development. He was proud to be on a first-name basis with many of the company's dealers and cattle-feeding customers.
Kelly Ryan Equipment Company has its office and manufacturing operation at the river plant location just south of the U.S. Highway 30 Missouri River bridge on the east edge of Blair, Nebraska. Principals of the company today are Mr. Ryan's son, James P. Ryan, CEO, and his grandson, RJ Ryan, President.