Archive for May, 2010

Tips for Easy Virtual Farm Tours

Social media has put the power of marketing into everyone’s hands for little to no cost at all. With free and easy tools available like YouTube and Flickr, you can use this “power” positively to promote your message. YouTube is a way to broadcast your message by uploading your video for free. Cameras start at less than $100 and are becoming less expensive all the time. Flickr is an equally easy, slick way to share your photos and is also searchable via the web.

Here is an example of a farmer who has used these powerful tools to promote the special care and attention their farm provides to make sure their hogs are well cared for. Sometimes, safety issues and health concerns for your livestock do not permit you to open your farm up for public tours. However, this farmer decided instead to invite people on a virtual tour of her hog farm. Watch it here:

Why not invite people on a virtual tour of your farm? If you do, we’d love for you to post links to your videos on the AGCO Facebook fan page to share with our fans.

New to YouTube: Official Challenger & Fendt Channels

Congratulations to both Challenger and Fendt for recently launching their official YouTube channels! With YouTube now the #2 search engine (behind Google), video has been firmly established as a great way to share and gather information, learn about products, tell your story. Take a look at the Challenger MT800C Track Tractor video below.

Check out all of the official YouTube channels for the AGCO brands:
AGCO, including Harvesting, Application Equipment and a variety of tradeshows & customer stories
Massey Ferguson
Massey Ferguson Brazil
Valtra Finland

Do you have videos to share?

Stories from American Farm Families

Image by g55 via Flickr

Five Farms: Stories from American Farm Families is an audio documentary produced by Wesley Horner Productions and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and was distributed by Public Radio International™ in 2009. The programs aired on the radio again last Sunday and I was blown away. I feel like I now know these five families who work so hard to produce the food I and my family eat every day.

Five Farms is about making connections between the food on our tables and families in New England, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, and on the West Coast who produce it — farming people who protect the tomato from insects, harvest the orange in a California citrus grove before a killing frost, risk acres of corn and soybeans through unpredictable Iowa floods, help a struggling hog give birth to new piglets one hot North Carolina afternoon, milk the dairy herd in the New England pre-dawn darkness, or cultivate crops in an arid desert according to Native American traditions valuing conservation and protection of precious resources.

Five Farms puts a personal face on the lives and livelihoods of farmers across the country. We get to know people who work hard and make considerable sacrifices, but who also flourish, and for whom the benefits, including a deep understanding of the land they work, are rich. Through their own voices and direct experiences, we learn details of farming life and get to know members of each family — their personal struggles, triumphs, hopes, dreams, and challenges. We learn what it takes to farm and produce the food that we count on when we go to the market.” Source: About Five Farms.

Even if you missed the broadcasts, you can still listen to them online and view photos from the farms. How are you connecting to your consumers both locally and thousands of miles away?

AGCO’s Topcon SYSTEM 150 Assisted Steering

Hello again, Marlin Melander checking back in on the AGCO blog. Hopefully, everyone is having a great spring (or a great fall for everyone in the southern hemisphere). We have definitely been busy at AGCO, with new product releases and enhancements as well as helping to guide the development of new systems for future release. I wish I could mention them in this blog but, if I did, well, then we wouldn’t get the chance to knock your socks off in the future.

One item that I can talk about (without getting in trouble with management) is our new assisted steering system, the Topcon SYSTEM 150. AGCO has joined together with Topcon Precision Agriculture to provide growers with what we feel is the most accurate, easy to use steering system on the market. Plus, it’s easy to install so you don’t have to pay for hours of installation time like other kits. The SYSTEM 150 is a simple “plug and drive” kit that connects to the wiring harness and mounting brackets on any AGCO, Challenger, or Massey Ferguson tractor that has been ordered from the factory with an AUTO-GUIDE or AUTO-GUIDE² ready option. They can also be field installed by using an AUTO-GUIDE field install kit.

My two favorite features of this system are easy operation and that it just flat out works great. Having an accurate and easy-to-use steering system goes a long way in having a smooth running farm. Plus, you don’t need to worry about running the drill markers into power poles. Yup, I’ve done that. And it didn’t help the farm run any smoother. Plus, it was a little bit of an issue when I had to tell my dad that I could only use the planter in one direction. It didn’t take long for me to learn the finer points in using a cutting torch and arc welder to repair the broken pieces. But, that’s a story for another blog.

Make sure to visit your AGCO, Challenger or Massey Ferguson dealer to learn more about the Topcon SYSTEM 150 steering system. Or check back here for my next blog on new technology solutions at AGCO. All I can say is that it will be about telepathy. Oh wait, it’s not telepathy. That deals with ESP. I mean telemetry. More to follow…….

Thanks for taking time in reading my rambling blog. And please post comments if you have any questions or ideas for future blogs.

Happy farming, and watch out for those power poles…..

Watch my Topcon SYSTEM 150 video from the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY

The Cow Goes "Tweet"?

Ontario farmer, Chris Vandenberg, has found an innovative way to tell his ag story…by letting his cows tell it on their own Twitter accounts!

Here’s how it works. In order to be milked by the robotic milking machine, each cows wears an electronic tag around her neck (pictured on the right) that tells the robot when she was last milked and tracks how much milk she produces etc. The tags on 12 of Chris’ cows are connected to Twitter, sending a tweet when they interact with the robot.

For example, here’s what “Attention Please”, the most popular bovine Tweeter with 19 followers, had to say on her Twitter feed over several hours recently:“9.2 kg of frothy deliciousness for the humans.” (5:38 pm)
“I said “please” but the robot just doesn’t go for manners. All business all the time.” (8:40 pm)
“Tried to get into the pen. No such luck.” (8:48 pm)
“Tried again. Wish I could read that robot’s mind.” (10:32 pm)
“It took me 5:35 secs, to give 11.4 kgs. Feel good.” (1:41 am)

The project, launched last December, is the brain child of Marcel O’Gorman, head of the University of Waterloo’s critical media lab, and Ron Broglio, an English professor from Georgia Gwinnett College. Their goal was to link farmers and technology in the minds of consumers by putting a spotlight on the highly technological nature of farming through social media.“Most of us think of technology only in fast-paced city life but it’s also on the farms,” says Broglio.”Most people don’t realize how embedded technology is in farming and how we need it in order to feed people.” Source: Food and Farming Canada

This is such a creative way to link agriculture with technology and social media. Some may think that the idea of “tweeting cows” is silly, but I can remember when the idea of a cell phone that took photographs was far-out. Find out more about the “Tweeting Cows” at their website. What innovative ways are you using to tell your farm’s story?