National FFA Organization visits AGCO Global Headquarters
David Townsend, National FFA Organization President, discusses a few first ever experiences including driving a tractor at AGCO's headquarters in Duluth, Georgia.
National FFA Organization visits AGCO Global HeadquartersDavid Townsend, National FFA Organization President, discusses a few first ever experiences including driving a tractor at AGCO's headquarters in Duluth, Georgia.
We arrive at the agricultural wing at our high school well before the sun has risen, pack into a rental van, and start on an adventure. We have our snacks, pillows, and reading material. Pulling into the airport parking lot two hours later, the first signs of the sun begin to creep into the sky. You can feel the excitement building amongst the group of students. Checking in, a not so quick run through security, and we have arrived at our gate. Daybreak. The early morning sun illuminates the entire terminal in beautiful orange light as the Middletown FFA Chapter begins to board their flight.
While I am afraid of heights, the rows of semi-comfortable seats with little legroom and close company seem oddly reassuring. We taxi to the runway, the flight attendants perform final crosschecks, and we are cleared for takeoff. With a burst of energy, we rush forward – our bodies pushed into the backs of our seats with the sudden forward motion. Faster and faster, we jet down the runway, until finally we rise. You can feel the wheels leave the pavement as the plane gains the freedom of the sky. Moments later, we peer through the window to find a breathtaking view of the east coast landscape far beneath us; basking in the bright rays of the rising sun. Our destination? Indianapolis, Indiana for the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo. My first flight of many enabled by this organization.
This past March, another ‘first’ occurred during a visit to AGCO with my teammate, Valerie Earley – driving a tractor. While about 1/3 of FFA members live and work in production agriculture, and many more have operated farm machinery such as tractors, it took four months of my year as a National FFA Officer for me to get behind the wheel of a tractor for myself. This was one of the many great experiences scheduled for us during our partnership visit with AGCO.
In addition, we learned about the rich history of the company, the multitude of brands under the AGCO umbrella, and some guiding philosophies of the company. Valerie and I also got the opportunity to learn about some innovative work that this ag business is doing to strengthen the agriculture industry. AGCO is one of the first companies to utilize Glass on the manufacturing floor. Valerie and I got to test out some of the glasses, and experienced just how versatile a tool this technology is for AGCO employees. Instead of interrupting the product synthesis by having to reference a nearby computer or binder for step-by-step directions, employees are able to view the appropriate instructions on their Glass without having to move away from the machinery. AGCO is embracing this new technology and is increasing efficiency as a result. Watch to learn more about AGCO and Glass!
The National FFA Organization has a way of providing many ‘firsts’ for its members, but it is the work of our partners that enables those ‘firsts’ to occur. Not only are students experiencing ‘firsts’ in the classroom and through membership in the National FFA Organization, they are also experiencing them in core and allied agricultural careers – partners like AGCO enable our organization to rise to new heights with each new day dawning. For that, I am incredibly thankful.