LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Boasting a successful farm tire business in Europe, Mitas is growing its brand in the U.S.

Mitas tires can be found on machinery by John Deere, Case, Unverferth and, in a new partnership, McCormick, as well as others.

“It’s not really a new tire – it’s just a new brand,” said Jeff Miller, Mitas marketing communications manager, at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville.

The company’s history dates back to the 1930s, when production started in Czechoslovakia. The agricultural tires previously were manufactured for Continental.

Mitas now operates three plants, in the Czech Republic, Serbia and, added in 2012, the U.S., in Charles City, Iowa. It has an extensive sales and distribution network that operates in 14 countries.

“It really comes down to the quality of the product,” Miller said. “At Mitas, our primary business is agriculture — we do some construction tires, we do motorcycle tires, but our bread and butter is in the ag business.”

“If they don’t work, that means we are out of business,” he added. “We produce a tire that works in the fields for all the farmers, meeting all their needs.”

Neil Rayson, senior vice president of sales and marketing, noted Mitas purchased its own scientific testing company to make sure its tires deliver on that promise of world-class performance.

“We can exhaustively and specifically test our tires before we even put them into field tests,” he said, adding field testing is conducted in the U.S. “By the time that tire is released, it’s been extensively and rigorously tested. We’re confident that it’s going to perform well.”

The tires are evaluated for reliability, durability, service life, stubble resistance and support for sales, Rayson explained.

“A big focus of us establishing ourselves as a leading farm tire manufacturer is that we’re confident we’ve got a world-class product, but that in itself is not enough — we are looking at every phase and segment of our business,” he said, noting the company has been hiring new technical employees, as well as sales development staff. “We are trying to build a company that’s excellent in every aspect.”

Rayson said he started the business for Continental alone in 1998. It now has about 180 employees.

“We started out with one guy in 1998. Now we’ve got the most modern, state-of-the-art farm tire plant in North America,” he beamed.

Mitas is looking to the future, building a positive reputation among the farmers who buy its tires and among the distributors who sell its tires.

“You’ve got to have a world-class product. You’ve got to keep innovating and show the farmer that your tires will save him money with very low ground compaction, which will increase his yield. And for your distributors and dealers, you’ve got to be excellent in every other respect,” Rayson said.

“You can’t afford to be complacent in any area,” he added. “You’ve got to be the best at everything.”