History of Oggun tractor

Gloria Hafemeister, Correspondent


The Oggún  tractor doesn’t have a logo because it does not belong to a company but to the farmer who uses it.  It is a basic tractor that can be repaired or modified using locally sourced parts and services. Here Horrace Clemmons describes how the tractor is different, including the zero-turn feature.

In 2014 President Castro and President Obama announced changes in the relationship between Cuba and the United States. That was the start of the Cuban journey for Horace Clemmons and his friend and business partner, Saul Berenthal, who had left Cuba at age 16, shortly after the revolution.

Berenthal had been traveling to Cuba since 2007, working with the Jewish community in Cuba. Over the years he had gained significant insight into the problems that Cuba faced and as a result developed a passion to help the Cuban people.

Building an affordable tractors for Cuba seemed an easy conclusion. As the tractor defines the transition from livestock to mechanization, the pair described it as Iron Horse Tractor. While working in Cuba, the Cuban farmers had an idea for a name — Oggún, the mythical god for metal-works and protector of the people. And so, the Iron Horse Tractor is called Oggún.

Clemmons and Berenthal learned that the need to help Cubans with food production was identified as one of the country’s most urgent problems. Farmers in Cuba did not have tractors and depended on manual labor and livestock.

In their attempt to help, they wanted to avoid the large-scale agribusiness model and work with small farms and COOP’s lead Clemmons to a tractor (Oggún).

As work on Cuba was progressing, it became clear that small farmers globally shared many of the same issues: a lack of simple, affordable, easy to fix and maintain equipment designed for them.

The tractors are manufactured in Fyfe, AL, in a modern plant that was started 20 years ago to produce smaller pieces of farm equipment.