The Covington Planter Company of Albany, Georgia turns 100 this year, which only adds to the pride I feel each time I plant my garden with one of its products. While my machines wear Covington Planter’s sister brand, Cole Planter, they share a common legacy and collectively represent Covington Planter as the oldest planting equipment manufacturer in the United States. This stuff is hand fabricated in the U.S.A. by folks who take pride in sowing new chapters into Covington’s story each and every day.
My interest in Covington began as a result of my ownership of an older Brinly-Hardy branded single row vegetable seed planter that was designed to be pulled by my 1961 7-horsepower International Harvester Cub Cadet. The Brinly-Hardy single-row unit was actually manufactured by the Cole Planter Company (then of North Carolina). Covington Planter and Cole Planter merged in 2003 and that merger has helped ensure that small growers across North America have access to time-tested small to medium-scale planting equipment, including a walk-behind planter that’s built for serious duty. I no longer own that original Brinly-Hardy/Cole planter, but I now use Cole Planter’s walk-behind Planet Jr. model for the bulk of my seeding duties each spring.
Founded in Headland, Alabama by Will Frank Covington Sr., Covington Planter began its business during the reign of cotton in the South. The early planters were designed to be mule drawn but were reengineered into heavier models just prior to World War II for tractor power. Post war, the company expanded its manufacturing capacity and moved to Dothan, Alabama. In 1947 Covington received accolades from the Alabama Farmers State newspaper:
“The W. F. Covington Planter Company had embodied for years what the State Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have recently been preaching. That is the supplementing of the farm with factory…Mr. Covington simply had a good idea for making planters, and distributors and the energy to put his ideas into practice. The growth of the firm proves that he had a good product … and people of the region feel a deep pride in having a manufacturer in their midst who understands their needs and is in position to fill them.”
In the late 1950s, Covington Planter Company moved to its current facility in Albany, Georgia. The planters continue to be produced in the proven classic Covington design with modern improvements that also keep the tools true to their tried and true design.
If you ever find yourself looking for a planter that’s more robust than most walk-behind consumer models but not so huge you need a 75 horsepower tractor to motivate it, and you appreciate good old fashioned quality of workmanship, then you need look no further than to a Covington or Cole planter. I know you won’t be disappointed.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.