About Us

Marion Calmer, High School Junior - 1974

Meet Marion Calmer

CEO - CALMER Corn Heads, Inc.
President - CALMER Ag Research
Owner/Operator - CALMER Farms

Marion Calmer, 15 inch row corn - 2013

Marion Calmer, a farmer and inventor from western Illinois, is the CEO of Calmer Corn Heads, Inc. and the founder of Calmer's Ag Research Center, the largest independently funded, farmer-run Ag research center in the United States. He is credited with inventing the world’s first single chain, narrow row corn head for 12- and 15-inch rows, along with building the world’s largest corn heads. As the owner of more than a dozen patents that have helped revolutionize the Ag industry in America, Marion’s top priority is to help other farmers maximize their potential profits through research and innovation. Throughout the years, he has been named one of agriculture's 25 most influential people, voted as one of the 40 No-Till legends nationwide, received the "Public Image of Agriculture" Award out of 200,000 farmers in the U.S. (1996), along with earning numerous other recognitions, which can be viewed on our Awards and Accolades page.

Marion's patents, which are utilized in Calmer Corn Heads' state-of-the-art farming technologies, have won numerous No-Till Product of Year Awards and continue to give farmers the edge they need in order to maximize yields and profits


Marion started his farming operation of 80 acres of corn and 10 gilts in 1975. In 1978, he graduated from Black Hawk College – East Campus with an associate degree in applied sciences. Throughout his farming career, he has grown corn, soybeans, seed corn, soybean seed, and has run a swine operation. As the decedent of a long line of entrepreneurs, Marion was born with the gift of finding solutions to farmers' problems; often, out of necessity. With mechanically inclined blood running through his veins, Marion spent thousands of hours modifying and inventing farm machinery that would one day change how farmers around the world plant and harvest corn crops. Throughout Marion's 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.

Reducing input costs on his farm and for his customers is another area in which Marion's dedication remains undeterred. Since moving to 15-inch rows, Marion has been able to reduce his herbicide treatments down to one pass and 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 Conferences, along with the National No-Till Conference from 1994 to present times. He is also 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), and was nominated for the JC Young Farmer Award in '95 and '96, and won the No-Till Innovator Award for the Public Image of Agriculture Category. For a comprehensive list of all Marion's accomplishments, check-out our Awards & Accolades page!



 Marion Calmer with Herman Warsaw, the world record holder (1985) of non-irrigated corn yield at 370 bushels per acre. While on a field tour at Herman Warsaw's farm, Marion became intrigued with the concept of doing on-farm narrow row corn research at his own farm. Improving corn harvesting equipment runs in the Calmer family. Marion's grandfather Ansker and great uncle Barney Calmer were some of the first farmers to put a corn sheller on a solid rubber tired Model T truck. They used this for several years as they went from farm to farm shelling corncribs.

Marion Calmer and Donavin Calmer in front of a 2013 Calmer 32-row, 15-inch corn head. The water reservoir in the background can also be seen in 1920 picture with Marion’s ancestors.

"I was very impressed with Calmer Corn Heads' 1615. We harvested our 15" row corn at 20-28% with the 1615 in both standing corn and down corn conditions. The 1615 was able to minimize the losses of down corn by operating in a non-row sensitive manner and traveling at whatever angle was necessary for those conditions. The 1615 was also equipped with the Calmer BT Choppers that sized the heavy corn residue preparing the field for the following planting season."

- Randy Dowdy, Valdosta, GA, NCGA Champion and 1st farmer in history to top the 500 bu/AC