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University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken drove to Omaha in to meet Robert Daugherty at his home. In the living room, the elder Daugherty was surrounded by Mogens Bay, his three sons and a covey of lawyers. Now 88 years old, the businessman had a reputation for being tough-minded and smart, a man who could intimidate, but also surprise with his ready sense of humor. In his long career, Daugherty had transformed agriculture and the rural landscape into the now familiar polka dot pattern, the signature of the center pivot irrigators Daugherty had popularized in the 1970s. He had started his company from a farm shed in Valley, Nebraska, in 1946 and built it into the international manufacturing giant, Valmont Industries. By the time he retired in 1996, center pivot irrigation dominated the world’s large-holder irrigated agriculture. ....
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