Vermeer ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler named the 2024 “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa”

Vermeer ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler named the 2024 “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa”
Discover why Vermeer's ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler earned the title of 2024's "Coolest Thing Made in Iowa". Learn about its unique features and impact on agriculture.

The Vermeer ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler has been named the 2024 “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa” by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). This esteemed honor, organized by ABI, celebrates exceptional innovation in manufacturing and highlights the contribution of these products to the state’s economy and industry.

The ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler outperformed 66 other entries in the inaugural ABI contest, showcasing the vitality of Iowa’s manufacturing industry. The contest, which started in March, involved a public nomination process, followed by an initial round of popular voting and a bracket-style tournament. The contest aims to highlight Iowa’s robust manufacturing industry, which contributes approximately $38 billion to the economy annually and employs over 225,000 Iowans. Other finalists in the competition included Musco Sports Lighting, Dobson’s Custom Built Pipe Organ and Sukup Manufacturing Safe T Home.

Vice President of Operations at Vermeer, Mindi Vanden Bosch, expressed her excitement upon receiving this honor on June 6, 2024, at ABI’s Taking Care of Business Conference in Davenport, Iowa: “The foundation of Vermeer is the innovative vision of my grandfather (Gary Vermeer), a farmer who was always in search of a better way to get things done. This award proves his innovative legacy lives on.”

Introduced in 2017, the Vermeer ZR5-1200, recognized as the world’s first self-propelled baler, brings a new approach to haymaking by integrating comfort, speed and maneuverability. The baler’s automation technology simplifies the process by reducing the number of steps to create a bale while also offering operators the ability to make real-time adjustments. The machine’s zero-turn capabilities further contribute to productivity by minimizing missed windrows.

The ZR5-1200 also includes specific design elements to enhance performance and user experience. The cab design emphasizes wide visibility and is equipped with a camera that provides a view of the baler pickup and a rear view of the machine. Additionally, the baler incorporates quarter-turn technology and is powered by a 200-hp (149-kW) engine. This engine allows the machine to reach speeds of up to 12 mph (19.3 km/hr) in the field and up to 34 mph (54 km/hr) in transport mode.

The “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa” award, a key initiative of the ABI is a significant event that spotlights the vibrant and multifaceted manufacturing industry in Iowa as well as the wide spectrum of career opportunities it provides. ABI, with a history dating back to 1903, serves as a powerful and unified voice for business and industry in Iowa, tackling issues that impact Iowa employers. Composed of member companies spanning all industries and sizes in Iowa’s 99 counties, ABI members collectively employ more than 330,000 Iowans.

For over 76 years, Vermeer has led the way in agricultural innovation, transforming farming practices by pioneering hay and forage equipment. This award underscores the innovative tradition and commitment to industry advancements that define Vermeer. The entire team takes immense pride in this commitment, manufacturing high-quality machinery in Iowa to support the agricultural industry.

For further details on the ZR5-1200 and its influence on the agricultural industry, please visit or get in touch with a local Vermeer dealer.

About Vermeer Corporation

Vermeer delivers a real impact on the way important work gets done through the manufacture of high-quality agricultural, underground construction, surface mining, tree care and environmental equipment. With a reputation for being built tough and built in a better way, Vermeer equipment is backed by localized customer service and support provided by independent dealers around the world. To learn more about Vermeer, products, the dealer network and financing options, visit

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2024 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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