Archive for July, 2012
Six years after AGCO moved to its new European Office Facility at Abbey Park Stoneleigh in the UK, the company’s long-time office block at Banner Lane, Coventry was demolished by its current owners, Persimmon Homes on 8 July.
“The Banner Lane tractor manufacturing plant which closed in 2003 and 16-storey office block at Coventry in the UK which we vacated in 2006, were very much part of the history of AGCO’s Massey Ferguson brand and its successful development over more than six decades,” said Richard Markwell, Massey Ferguson Vice-President and Managing Director Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME).
“The Tower Block and the factory site at Coventry formed the centre of Massey Ferguson’s global operations for many years. They played an important part in the working lives of thousands of people, helping to drive the spirit and camaraderie of one of the world’s most famous farm machinery brands which continues to go from strength to strength,” he stated. “2011 was an exceptional year for Massey Ferguson with record results, a host of new product introductions and major sales growth.”
The demolition of the office block is part of Persimmon Homes ongoing redevelopment of the area which has already seen the construction of over 600 new homes with a further 400 properties expected to follow. The land will now form part of an area to be offered to Coventry City Council for the provision of a new school and playing field under the local authority’s confirmed planning agreement.
The Tower Block served the Banner Lane factory site and was occupied by Massey Ferguson and, latterly its parent company AGCO until 2006 when the company moved to a new home some eight miles (12 km) away at Abbey Park, Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. This followed the closure of the factory in 2003 and the consolidation of European tractor production onto AGCO’s manufacturing facility in Beauvais, France, now the site of the largest AGCO factory in Europe and the centre of Massey Ferguson’s Europe, Africa and Middle East operations.
“We can look back at the Banner Lane site with great respect and lasting memories of the role it played in our rich heritage and evolution – it is part of our DNA,” continued Mr Markwell. “While the Tower Block’s demolition is a poignant moment for all of us who have been associated with it, world economics, the markets we serve and indeed, the company along with its products have changed dramatically. As we develop and face different business challenges, like any successful business we adapt to changing environments and ensure that we can continue to grow. We are firmly established at our European Office facility at Abbey Park Stoneleigh, housed in 21st century purpose-built offices where we employ 500 people and which also includes our UK & Ireland Sales and Training Centre.”
“It is pleasing to know that the Banner Lane office block land is being considered as a site for a future school and that the housing development is providing the opportunity for people to get onto the property ladder for the first time. Once again the site will play its part in encouraging some highly positive developments,” he comments
The Tower Block was officially opened by Albert A Thornborough, the then President and Chief Executive Officer of Massey Ferguson Limited on 21 September 1966. At its peak, it housed 500 people including functions such as Sales and Marketing, Finance, IT, Customer Support and Human Resources. In order to accommodate the growing number of employees, the only way to build was up and it became an iconic part of the local skyline.
Massey Ferguson was acquired by the US-based AGCO Corporation in 1994 and remains one of the few truly global brands of farm machinery, distributing its renowned red tractors, combine harvesters and other farm equipment in up to 140 countries. Machines bearing the Massey Ferguson marque are produced at factories worldwide including France, Italy, United States, Brazil, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Japan and China.
“Today, Massey Ferguson has one of its strongest-ever machine line-ups with numerous international awards to our name. We continue to gain market share, providing straightforward, dependable equipment which farmers across the globe can rely on to produce and care for their vital crops and livestock,” says Richard Markwell.
Under the blaze of the midnight sun, a golden Massey Ferguson 7600 tractor arrived at Cape North, Norwayon 30 June to complete the first half of an epic 13,000 km expedition across Europe to raise vital funds for an African school.
Just three weeks and 4500 km after leaving Val Bormida in Italy, the tractor and its drivers, MF customer Gianni Brovida and his team-mate, Leonardo Cavazzi reached Cape North, the most northerly point in mainland Europe, located 71 degrees North, inside the Arctic Circle.
They spent just a few hours at the Cape before embarking on their return trip via Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France where they will call in at the AGCO manufacturing facility in Beauvais where the tractor was made. Sponsored by Massey Ferguson and with support from Trelleborg tyres, the total trip will see them pass through 17 countries.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of the Massey Ferguson dealer network and our many supporters as we travelled north from Italy,” said a jubilant Gianni Brovida. “It has been an unbroken chain of support and clearly demonstrates the fantastic camaraderie and spirit the Massey Ferguson brand inspires. We feel very emotional about reaching our northern destination and quite taken back by the popularity the expedition has given us.”
“The golden MF 7600 tractor has been totally reliable, exceptionally comfortable to drive and a real star in attracting people to our cause to raise money for the agricultural school in Chad,” he continues. “At one point we were stopped by the police but that was because they wanted to take pictures and hear our story! A group of Taiwanese tourists surrounded the tractor and sang a song to us to wish us good luck, while a ferry company has offered us a free ride on our return journey.”
A key aspect of the expedition is the ability of supporters to follow the tractor’s every move online, thanks to the latest geo-mapping satellite technology. “We’ve also been posting blogs and using social networking to chronicle our journey,” adds Gianni. “As a result of Facebook for example, an American follower has invited us to go across to the United States with the tractor next year.”
The agricultural school in Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries, helps children whose parents have died from AIDS and is controlled by the LAI diocese. Italian nun, Rosanne Cavarero, also from Val Bormida manages the orphanage’s financial department.
The humanitarian side of the trip is key for the two drivers. Leonardo Cavazzi knows Sister Rosanne and is well aware of the pressing needs of the school. The aim, to collect as much money as possible en route to donate to the school, is as they say ‘to make the Cape North sun shine on Chad.’
Rather than the classic Massey Ferguson red, the MF 7624 model is liveried in striking gold to celebrate the string of top awards the tractor range has achieved since its launch. This includes the Golden Tractor for Design Award in the 2012 Tractor of the Year competition at Germany’s Agritechnica show in 2011, where it was also named as Machine of the Year.
“Gianni and Leonardo are doing a fantastic job, we are really proud of their achievements,” saysGianluca Gherardi, Massey Ferguson National Sales Manager, Italy. “Cape North marks the midway point of their adventure and we are looking forward to the rest of their journey before they arrive back in Italy at the end of July.”
AGCO’s farm sustainability contest is just around the corner! Get ready and enter you blog post for a chance to win! You could have your blog post featured on the AGCO blog, and also get a chance to support your local farming community by choosing a select organization to receive a portion of $5,000 in donations from AGCO on your behalf!
We know the importance of doing more with less, and we know that farmers do too. That’s why we want to hear your stories. So don’t forget to register for AGCO’s farm sustainability contest on July 9th, and share your farm sustainability with us! The contest will run from July 9th through July 31st, 2012.
Massey Ferguson proudly adorns the stars and stripes in support of the country’s independence and also their “Made in the USA” label on the windshield of every 9500 Series combine.
Built with pride in Hesston, Kansas, these special edition machines will be used for shows and field demonstrations throughout 2012 in the Midwest states beginning on July 17th at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.The 9540 and 9560 combines represent the next generation in a strong harvesting heritage for Massey Ferguson with many innovative features leading to greater capacity and efficiency over previous models. Make plans to see the combines on display on in a field near you this summer and fall.
Providing for a population that is projected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion over the next 40 years will require increased food, fiber, and fuel. This will mean higher sustainable productivity per acre of land. Farmers manage the land they work on, and they know sustainability.
Long-term soil health will become more critical to farmer livelihoods as expansion of arable land is constrained. And, the availability of clean water for both personal use and agriculture and industry will be an increasing challenge as the global water needs grow along with population.
At AGCO, we believe the health of communities will continue to be tied to the health of local farming. Both rural and urban communities’ livelihoods rely on our global farming community’s ability to respond to the changing, growing social and environmental needs of farmers around the world. This is why we believe that it is important to promote sustainable practices on the farm.
Have you been enjoying the benefits of making your farm more sustainable? AGCO’s first ever sustainability blog contest kicks off on July 9th, and we want to hear your stories!
Share what you have been doing to make your farms more sustainable, and how it has helped you to do more with less. Be selected as one of ten finalists, and in addition to having your submission featured on the AGCO blog, you will also be able to support local farming communities by choosing a select organization to receive $500 in donations! The contest will run from Monday, July 9th, up until the Tuesday of July 31st.
Help us promote the importance of sustainability, and tell us how you have been successful!