By Carter County, for Carter County: The Universal PTO Hitch

Farmers in Carter County may soon have an easier method of hauling their farming equipment between their various farms. What currently stands as a two-person job with many steps and difficulties may soon streamline into a much smoother experience.

Randy Colbaugh has been a dairy farmer for roughly 40 years, and hauling his haymowers across different farms in Carter, Sullivan and Washington counties earned him more than a few smashed hands.

“It takes two people to hook a PTO shaft back up,” Colbaugh said.

A PTO (Power take off) shaft, for the non-farmers, is the special hitch that connects the farm equipment to a pick-up truck for transport. It is analogous to the drive shaft in a car.

For modern equipment, however, especially John Deere equipment, Colbaugh said trying to hitch it all together can be difficult, which is where the Universal PTO hitch came into the picture.

“We had to work with the distance between pins,” co-owner of the product and owner of General Machine and Tool Company Bill Gentry said.

Gentry and Colbaugh co-filed for the patent roughly a year ago, though Colbaugh is the top name on the documents.

Colbaugh said he went to Gentry to help make the product a reality.

“We are ready to start producing it,” Gentry said. “We have the facilities to build it here.”

He said the locally inspired, locally made device has already generated interest from potential customers.

“We think we have got it as good as we can get it,” Colbaugh said.

They said it took roughly three months to turn the dream into a physical product, working on aspects of the design like the length of the hitch itself. Standard PTO hitches are adjustable to different lengths. Vehicles can make different degrees of turns without damaging the hitch of the equipment.

This product is not adjustable, so the duo carefully worked to come up with a length that allowed the greatest degree of motion while preserving integrity.

“We are getting the right one at the right price,” Colbaugh said.

For more information about the Universal PTO Hitch and/or how to acquire one for yourself, contact Gentry at 423-647-4985 or Colbaugh at 423-791-4610.

The General Machine and Tool Company is located at 152 Judge Don Lewis Blvd.

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