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Archive for May, 2010

3 Reasons to tell Your Ag Story

Everyone has a story. Maybe it’s a little bit of caveman ancestry or a throw-back to telling ghost stories around the campfire, but we all enjoy telling and hearing a good story. Farmers are no exception

. They like to spin a tale, tell a yarn. And now with the Internet, we can all be storytellers- only now they call it blogging.

But why take the time to tell your story? I can think of three, I am sure there are more.

1. Share your legacy.
Newlywed Ashley in Minnesota does an excellent job of this in her “Adventures in Vineyardland” blog.

2. Share your ideas.
Joan in Indiana told about how she makes a Christmas wreath for her dad’s barn each year, with the help of his Allis Chalmers tractors.

3. Share your voice.
10 Tractor Girls will be raising money for charity in the UK & Ireland and plan to blog about their trip on vintage tractors.

A couple more interesting blogs we have noticed…
- our friend Steve in Nebraska
blogs and did an interview via Skype, all from his Challenger tractor cab
- an interesting organic dairy
blog, “Bovine Bugle” by Jonathan in Vermont

These are just a few of the many blogs telling the story of agriculture in very personal and relevant ways. Farming is misunderstood by many these days. We can all do our part to set the story straight.

So, if you have, or know of an ag blog, let us know. We’ll compile a list and let everyone know in a future post.

10 Things to Know When Starting a Farm

If you are an experienced farmer you may or may not remember the first row you ever planted. By now you could probably do it in your sleep. But if you are new to farming and just starting out, here is some advice from Loren Kruse, Editor-in-Chief at Successful Farming magazine:

1. Follow up your dreams with a written plan
Words on paper provide clarity and direction. Saying the words aloud to another person helps you crystallize the specific goals and outcomes your plan is intended to achieve.

2. Look for other opportunities
Agriculture offers more diverse ways to make money than ever before. While your heart may be set on three or four enterprises of which you are very familiar, don’t rule out other opportunities. As a matter of practice, study the feasibility and profitability of a new enterprise every year. You’ll eliminate most of them, but you never know when one will be worth pursuing.

3. Build an attitude for success
Your attitude may very well determine your success as much as your farming skills. Getting a loan or acquiring land is not easy. It is even harder if you don’t believe you have a chance. Being thoroughly prepared helps give you confidence. Even if you are not outgoing, be positive.

4. Hone your people skills
People and communication skills are more important than ever. The payoff is most critical at home. Talk to your family and make it easy for them to talk to you. Good writing skills help you keep your landowners, lenders, and other business partners informed. Good communicators have an advantage in furthering their farming goals.

5. Make your farm as special as a business
No doubt you love farming. Learn to love your operation as a business in the same way. Embrace the many financial tools that help you make sound and confident decisions. Measure what matters, then apply the practices that help you lower costs and widen your margins. Learn to talk as comfortably about your numbers as you do your practices.

6. Know your strengths
Spend most of your time doing the things you do extra-ordinarily well. But also know the areas in which you need help.

7. Build your reputation for things that matter
Three stand out: integrity, being really good at what you do (farming), and building genuine long-term relationships.

8. Try new things
You are good at more things than you can imagine. Take a little risk. As some business managers put it, “Do a little, learn a lot.”

9. Balance family and farming
Being successful in farming will never mean as much unless you are successful at home and in your family life, too. Strive for balance and measure success in more than dollar signs. Deliberately learn about personality types and how best to interact with people, especially your own spouse and children.

10. Help others grow
As you grow to be successful in your farming business, help grow others around you, too. Build a strong network of farming peers and friends. As you succeed, keep an eye out for other up-and-coming young farmers to mentor.” Source: Across the Editor’s Desk: Mid-March 2009

Besides the obvious advice that every farmer should own a Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, or Valtra tractor (shameless plug, I know)…what advice could you offer a young farmer just starting out?

South America – It’s a wrap

From the irrigated rice harvest to the manufacturing plants, my final couple of days in Brazil were spent meeting with, and video taping customers, dealers and AGCO manufacturing people in two of our plants in Brazil; the Massey Ferguson plant in Canoas and the Valtra and AGCO SISU POWER plants in Mogi das Cruzes. Check out the videos, we are adding them as fast as we can get them edited.

What do you think the greatest similarities and differences are between farming in your area and farming in Brazil?

Check out the Valtra AGRISHOW blog for more pictures and stories from the event.

Agriculture is Unique – South America is no Exception

AGRISHOW was of course full of all types of equipment, from many different manufacturers, including AGCO’s Challenger, Massey Ferguson and Valtra tractors, combines, sprayers and implements. On display was also a variety of equipment I had never seen before, such as a mandioc, or as we would say in the US, a cassava planter. There were also extreme pickup truck test tracks and unique animals, such as goats, mules and at least three different breeds of cattle. See videos of some of the great unique aspects of Brazil’s AGRISHOW.

All these different aspects of agriculture reminded me what a unique business farming is. Different regions of the world with different climates, soils and cultural preferences, result in different crops, animals and farming practices. Equipment is developed to prepare, plant and harvest these different crops, then process the crops for a vast amount of uses, including food, feed and fuel. Farming is certainly one of the great occupations.

What are the unique things you raise on your farm?

"HD" isn’t Just for Your TV Anymore!

Hi, I’m Jerry Oxborough, Product Marketing Specialist for Massey Ferguson at AGCO. We recently introduced the new Massey Ferguson HD Series 2600 tractors in North America. As with most new products, there have been a few questions that I’d like to answer at this time:


What does “HD” mean?
“HD” stands for “Heavy Duty.” From the drawbar to the grille, every component of the Massey Ferguson HD Series 2600 is heavy duty. These heavy duty components contribute to its outstanding performance in the field as well as the reliability that has been synonymous with Massey Ferguson for decades.

What engine powers the Massey Ferguson HD Series 2600 tractors?
The HD Series utilizes the world famous Perkins® 4.4L, 4 Cylinder Turbo Charged Diesel Engine. Perkins engines are known for their unprecedented low end torque and fuel economy…not to mention reliability.

Is the HD available in a low profile version so I can clean out my chicken houses?
Yes, the HD Series is available in a “Low Profile” version which is perfect for applications with height restrictions. Unique clam shell fenders, fully folding ROPS and a specialized steering wheel allow the Low Profile HD Series to operate in environments where there may be low lying roofs or trees.

Take a look at our brochure and let me know what questions you have by adding a comment below, and I’ll post the answers in a reply comment.
Massey Ferguson HD Series Brochure

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