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Farming tradition ends,
Boyd family says goodbye after 74 years
by SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 4/24/14

     When some boys are young, they dream about becoming football stars. When Don Boyd was young, he dreamed of running his family’s farm machinery business.  
H&N photo by Steven Silton

  Father/son team Don and Donnie Boyd are selling the Floyd A. Boyd company to Papé Machinery.

 “This is what I was going to do from, probably 10 years old,” the third-generation owner of Floyd A. Boyd Co. said Wednesday. “It’s normal to me. This is what I did. This is who we are.”

   Everything is going to change for Boyd and his family’s company after Friday, but he said things won’t change for the customers.

   Friday will be the last day the company headquartered in Merrill   will be Floyd A. Boyd Co. The business that has served agriculture in the Klamath Basin and supported the community for more than 70 years is changing hands to Papé Machinery.

   “Friday at 5 p.m., it will no longer be Floyd A. Boyd Co. Papé will reopen Monday morning with the Papé name,” Donnie said. “If you   turn off that light switch, the lights go out. They’re going to flip the switch back on and it’s going to be Papé. Floyd A. Boyd Co. will basically be gone.”

   What will stay the same is the employees. About 65 people will continue to work at the five locations, just under a new boss.

   For some time, both Don and Donnie Boyd — the second- and thirdgeneration owners of the business — said the John Deer company had been asking them to get larger.

   “Suppliers no longer want momand-pop dealers; they want big dealers. We don’t fit the modern mold,” Don said. “We felt this was get out while you’re strong.”     They considered several companies, but landed on Papé Machinery. Donnie said the expertise the larger company can offer will be better for Floyd A. Boyd’s customers. “It’s the right move,” he said. But most importantly, they chose Papé Machinery because like Floyd A. Boyd Co., it’s a family company. “We came down to Papé because they fit our lifestyle,” Donnie said. “They fit the values of our business.” “They’re good people,” Don said. “They have the same basic values we’ve had.”

   Family values

   Those values started with the company’s founder, Floyd A. “Toad” Boyd. He came to Tulelake in 1933, and took over running an International Harverster dealer with partners in 1940. That’s when his name went up on the store walls. Since then the company transferred to his son, Don, and grandson, Donnie. They switched to deal John Deer equipment in 1984.  

   Along with that Boyd business tradition came the tradition of community service.

   Both Don and Donnie were too humble to speak about their own community work, but Don spoke well of Floyd Boyd’s.

   “My father was very community- minded,” Don Boyd said. “He was the first chief of the Tulelake volunteer fire department. And all they had in those days was garden hoses and shovels.”

   Floyd Boyd also was a founding Tulelake Rotary member. In 62 years he had perfect attendance at Rotary meetings.

   Today, the Floyd A. Boyd company name can be seen at schools and sporting facilities, at community events and in organizations’ fliers as sponsors.

   “We do it because we think it’s the right thing to do,” Donnie said.

   The Boyds’ business had three goals, Donnie said:

   Make a profit — everything revolves around profit.  

   • Support employees — fair wages, good living conditions, good benefits.

   Support the communities where they do business.

   “They were unwritten goals,” Donnie said. “Nobody talked about them.”

   The Boyds believe Papé Machinery has those same goals.

   “That’s the way my dad did business. He tried to give back his entire life,” Don said. “It was done in appreciation for the community, particularly the farm community. They supported our families, our children, our grandchildren. It’s been a great ride.”

   What’s next?

   When the doors close Friday, it will end Don Boyd’s last day of work. The 77-year old has had a job since he was 13, he said.

   “My first recollection of anything related to the business was going out with my dad to check on the horses,” Donnie said.  

   In the 1930s and 1940s, farmers were trading in teams of horses for mechanized machinery like tractors and harvesters. Floyd Boyd traded more than 600 horses during those years.

   Floyd Boyd worked until he was 90, Don and Donnie said.

   “That was the biggest thing he taught me. You get up in the morning, put your boots on and go to work,” Don said, noting he’s sat in the same chair at his family’s company for 52 years. “I’m more concerned, what in the hell am I going to do next week and the week after that?”

   With a bit of a chuckle, Don said he will work more with his community organizations, including the Gospel Mission, the Salvation Army, Boy Scouts and others.  

   “I’ll find something to do,” he said.

   Donnie, who is 50, will take a new position working for Papé. He will be Papé’s agricultural rental manager. Essentially he will rent farm equipment. Though Papé Machinery is headquartered in Eugene, Donnie will work from an office in Klamath Falls.

   “I don’t see any future for small, mom and pop dealers. I’m OK with selling the business. It might be a little hard when we take the sign down, but I’m OK with it,” Don said.

   “It’s been a great run,” Donnie said.

   “We wish our employees and our customers the very best,” Don said. “For me and Donnie, we’ll wander off into the sunset somewhere. But the employees are going to be here, taking care of the customers.”  

stipler@heraldandnews.com; @TiplerHN  


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