We’re looking forward to Farm Progress Show this year, which will be held September 1–3 in Decatur, Illinois. Be sure to stop by our 61,000-square-foot AGCO Farm, which will showcase our newest farm equipment, crop life cycle demonstrations, a productivity lab and a fun photo booth.
Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss:
- Get the first look at the new Challenger X-Edition Tractor. You’ll also have the opportunity to register for a chance to win a trip for two to visit our Intivity Center and manufacturing facility in Jackson, Minnesota, to learn how Challenger tractors are built and to see them roll off the assembly line.
- Survey the entire show from 20 feet on our Fuse® Technologies observation deck. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how this next-generation approach to precision agriculture connects the entire crop cycle, from enterprise planning to planting, crop care, harvesting and grain storage.
- Get a new perspective on agriculture as we launch theSOLO™ AGCO EDITION Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). This drone allows you to identify problem areas in fields quickly and efficiently with fully autonomous flying and high-resolution aerial maps.
Earlier this month, we introduced you to Richard Chapple, Farm Manager at the AGCO Future Farm in Zambia. Today, we’d like to give you another glimpse into daily life at the farm by introducing Martha Chishala, Training Centre Coordinator.
Martha plays an integral part in keeping things running smoothly at the Zambia Future Farm. Her role includes organizing training events and ensuring everything related to training is in order—from updating trainer schedules, to ordering supplies, to coordinating work visas.
She was on hand at the official launch of the Future Farm on May 27. “The official opening event was exciting, as there were so many great presentations and demonstrations of what AGCO plans to do in Africa and change the way of farming and agriculture,” she says. “It encouraged us all to embrace mechanised farming.”
Martha joined the AGCO Future Farm team in May of 2015, but she has already seen the impact it has had on the community. “The farm has created jobs for the local community and supports projects such as Chikumbuso Women and Orphans project, and it teaches children at a young age about the values of agriculture,” she says.
The farm faces many challenges, such as the area’s low water table, which can only sustain one winter crop per year. But Martha finds it rewarding to be part of this new age of farming, and she is learning that there is more to agriculture than just putting seed in the ground.
“I see a generation of farmers and changed mindset in regards to agriculture,” she says. “Growing up in Zambia we believed farming was for the uneducated, rural based-based older folk—something people do after retirement. I never considered a career prospect, but with empowerment through knowledge, all that is changing.”
A visit to Kenya prompts the production of a video to demonstrate the merits of buying genuine AGCO filters and how to spot counterfeit parts.
In March 2014 Jeff Challis, Business Manager, Parts Sales, Africa and Middle East and Pete Winterbottom, Manager, Aftersales Marketing, EAME visited Kenya to meet with our Massey Ferguson distributor FMD and visit some of their key customers. These customers varied from important municipal customers such as Nairobi Airport to owners of large tea and sugar plantations. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the virtues of genuine parts. Jeff demonstrated this by dismantling a genuine filter and comparing key features with a popular spurious filter. From the outside both filters looked the same but Jeff quickly highlighted that underneath this veneer there were some significant differences. Jeff’s demo had such a positive impact that FMD said they wanted to train and equip their own staff to do the same demo when on the road visiting customers. To assist with this, the EAME Aftersales Marketing team produced some practical demo kits including genuine and spurious filters along with flip chart slides. Jeff took the kits back to Kenya and also Sudan in early 2015 to train the local field sales teams to use themselves.
As an aide memoire for the local teams, we filmed Jeff at the Stoneleigh training centre conducting the demo. A group of UK service technicians that were on a training course in an adjacent workshop at time of filming stopped what they were doing because they too were so intrigued to see and hear what Jeff had to say. So much so that we decided to publish the resultant videos on YouTube for all to see.
We’ve created 2 versions of the demo; a 3 minute and 15 minute version which can be watched on YouTube or downloaded from asset bank. We’re now considering the possibility of creating different language versions in order to spread this key message: – When it comes to Parts ‘The Genuine Choice’ is the only choice!’
To learn more about AGCO Parts please visit: http://www.agcocorp.com/parts-service.html.
In recent posts, we shared our vision for the AGCO Future Farm concept, and in May we celebrated the official opening of our first Future Farm in Lusaka, Zambia. Today, we’d like to introduce one of the team members making this project successful: Farm Manager Richard Chapple.
Originally from the UK, Richard came to Zambia in November 2008 to visit family, but he was offered a job running a flight charter company and stayed. With a background as an agricultural contractor in the UK and experience sub-contracting combines in Zambia on behalf of a company called African Harvesters, he was a natural fit for AGCO and joined the Future Farm team in 2012.
Although every day on the farm is different, a typical morning for Richard starts at 7:30 a.m., when he has a meeting with his team of 32 workers. They allocate jobs based on what is planned for the day, from spraying programs to planting a variety of crops around the farm.
The Zambia Future Farm includes a state-of-the art facility designed to accommodate both small-scale and large commercial farmers, as well as education and training programs to provide hands-on experience with technology and utilize Africa’s agricultural resources more effectively. Chapple says this is reassuring to local farmers. “No matter what tractor you’re driving, it’s all about the support you’re receiving.”
Chapple has been involved with the Future Farm project since its inception in 2012, and he said the team experienced a great sense of achievement at the official launch on May 27. “In a small space of time, we’ve done a huge amount of work,” he said. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and all the pieces came together.”
What does Chapple find most rewarding about his job? “For me, it’s development, and not just of the farm itself,” he said. “When we took over the farm, we also took over the workforce that was here already. It’s the personal development of the workforce on the farm, the capacity building, and getting better relationships. I’ve learned a fair bit, as well.”
Zambia has huge potential in terms of resources to be tapped, and Chapple appreciates the opportunity to play a role the development of agriculture in the country. “I’m very excited and happy to be a part of it.”
We have a vision to change the future of farming. In 2013, we planted the seed for a Future Farm and training center to empower the world’s farmers with education, training and technology. This month, the first AGCO Future Farm officially opens in Zambia. The state-of-the-art facility includes a mechanized solutions center, a grain and poultry learning center, and training programs focused on products, machines, business management and farming best practices.
AGCO has a strong commitment to agriculture in Africa. The Republic of Zambia is landlocked, bordered by eight neighboring countries. Its central location coupled with an economic focus on farming (agriculture accounts for 21.5 percent of the nation’s GDP) makes Zambia an ideal place for AGCO’s Future Farm prototype.
The Future Farm concept will develop a sustainable food production system that is able to increase farm output by utilizing Africa’s agricultural resources more efficiently. The Zambia center will facilitate agricultural support services to enable knowledge and increase food production on other area farms.
And Future Farm Zambia is more than just a training facility—it’s also a working farm. In 2015, 70.22 hectares were planted with maize, soybeans, sunflowers, sun hemp and other crops. The farm’s expected yields this year include 7.5 tonnes/hectare of maize and 1.4 tonnes/hectare of soybeans.
In addition to area farmers, local organizations will benefit from the Future Farm as well. AGCO Zambia has supported the Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project in Lusaka, which provides free education for children, adult training and community building programs. The Future Farm donates soybeans and maize to help the project’s feeding program and kitchen enterprise.
In addition, AGCO Zambia supports the Chalimbana Youth project in partnership with the Africa 4H Council and Future Farm Partners. As part of this project, younger children learn agricultural practices and grow food for their families through an Enterprise Garden, and older participants learn to start and sustain small agro-enterprises through an entrepreneurship group.
The AGCO Future Farm project has the potential to have a significant impact through a range of agricultural solutions, such as crop protection, precision farming, seeding and fertilizing, and strong partnerships will be key to its success. Additional Future Farms partners include AquaCheck, Bayer Crop Science, Harper Adams University, Musika, GCS Water Management, Seedco, University of Zambia, Valley and Yara.
“I believe we have a unique opportunity to develop a new vision for how small, medium, and large-scale farmers can develop not just in Zambia, but throughout the region,” said Mark Briggs, director of Precision Decisions Zambia Limited and also Co-Chair for the Future Farm Partners Steering Committee. “The idea of having a group of experts, not just from the manufacturing sector but also service sectors, engaged in developing products and services, offering training to farm workers, managers and, indeed, individuals working in the broader agricultural arena, is very exciting.”
What does the future hold for the Future Farm? Stay tuned to our blog or follow @AGCOcorp on Twitter for updates from Zambia and other AGCO initiatives around the world.