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Vintage Massey Ferguson, At Work and At Play

The lights come up in the shop next to two of Bartlett Farms’ potato storage facilities on Spud Road, in the tiny town of Littleton. Row after row of antique tractors stand ready for their stories to be told. Bob Bartlett knows them all. There’s the Massey Harris 333, “the first one I bought,” he says. “That 44-6, the man I bought it from came to look over our place to make sure it was gonna have a good home. And when my wife, Jane, and I went to get it, his wife was out taking pictures with tears running down her cheeks ‘cause it was leaving the yard.”

It’s a large Massey collection of more than 40 pieces, most of them fully restored. Meanwhile, some 14 Massey Ferguson tractors make up the working fleet at Bartlett Farms. Among them is a Massey Ferguson 1100, bought new in 1969, that has 8,000 hours on it and “has never had a wrench in the motor,” says Bob. “That just tells you something about the longevity of these things.”

The potato harvester runs on an MF2745, “my pride and joy,” says Bob. Why? “Well, these tractors, they’re just like individuals,” he says. “That tractor just suits me. I just ‘sit good’ in it.”

When grandson John does need to work on a tractor, they use Genuine AGCO Parts and work with their dealership, Crown Equipment, in Caribou, Maine. “We just have a Massey heritage,” says John’s father, David.

Bob agrees, but it’s a little more personal for him. “I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. So my tractors … it’s the only hobby I got.”

See the Bartletts’ full story, including video of the seed potato harvest >>

No-Nonsense Performance from the 1700E

With the new Massey Ferguson 1700E Series tractors, economically priced doesn’t mean cheaply built. What customers get with these basic, yet versatile tractors is, says Josh Keeney, Massey Ferguson product marketing specialist, “a lot of value for the price.

Massey Ferguson 1700E Series

Massey Ferguson 1700E Series

“We now have three 1700E Series models rated at 24, 34 and 38.5 engine HP,” continues Keeney. “All three models feature powerful, clean-burning diesel engines, rugged steel construction, 4-wheel drive, responsive hydraulics and two different transmission options.”

The 1700E Series’ simple operation and outstanding efficiency start with a powerful new 3-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine. Thanks to an electronic engine management system, the turbocharged power plants generate ample power and torque to handle challenging conditions and a variety of jobs.

“Customers can also choose between a traditional mechanical gear transmission or the convenient hydrostatic transmission, which is ideally suited for loader work,” Keeney adds. “The constant-mesh mechanical transmission features nine forward and three reverse speeds; while the three-range hydrostatic transmission maximizes torque and streamlines operation with clutchless foot pedal control for forward and reverse speeds, moving from zero to maximum speed without a single gear change.”

For full details about the new 1700E Series tractors, visit http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/no-nonsense-performance-from-the-massey-ferguson-1700e-series/ as well as www.masseyferguson.com or see your local Massey Ferguson dealer.

FFA String Bands: Front Porch to Center Stage

To some, it might seem odd that the Future Farmers of America (FFA) would recognize and reward musical talent. After all, the 85-year-old organization’s stated mission is to “prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population.”

FFA string bands compete.

FFA string bands compete.

Yet the organization’s Career Development Events program does spotlight the musical endeavors of its members, as well as other pursuits. Besides awards for swine and goat production, dairy evaluation and tractor driving, the National FFA Organization honors members who excel at such activities as public speaking and crime prevention.

“Everybody stereotypes ag, thinking it’s just cows and plows. If you look at the industry, there are more jobs in the world not directly producing food but manufacturing it, hauling it or marketing,” says Marty Myers, a high school FFA sponsor. “Ag teaches leadership, not just farming and plowing. It tries to get them ready for real life.”

Real life includes finding a balance, and music has always been a part of many farmers’ recreational time. That’s why the FFA at the national and state level holds competitions to help develop and showcase talent and leadership skills.

In 2014, the National FFA Organization is offering $2.1 million in scholarships. AGCO is part of this effort. During the 2013-2014 FFA scholarship year, AGCO and nearly 50 local Challenger®, Massey Ferguson® and Gleaner® dealers will distribute a total of 100 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each.

Follow one of FFA’s young bands as they compete for the glory, and check out one of their songs at myFarmLife.com.

Big Dreams and Growing Pains on the Farm

This eastern Kansas farmer has more than doubled his ground in 2014, to 4,700 acres, and the rental parcels are as much as 200 miles apart.

Dustin Edwards with his MF8660

Dustin Edwards with his MF8660

“It’s like being in an office on the farm doing business,” says Dustin Edwards of the ride and technology in his MF8660 and MF8690 tractors, and the new MF9540 combine. “The CVT [continuously variable transmission] is awesome. I can literally stop in the field with the in-line ripper in the ground; I don’t even have to lift it out of the soil. When I start up again, the programmed computer just takes over and brings me up to speed, and can [reach] optimum rpm with the CVT. This is the best thing since sliced bread.”

Edwards believes the CVT saves him up to 2 gallons per hour in fuel over a tractor without. “Saving that kind of money just makes you more competitive.”
He’s just as happy, if not more so, with the MF9250 DynaFlex® header. “If I had to go back to an old auger head, I’d quit picking soybeans,” he says. The speed, efficiency and gentleness with which the header did the job so impressed a prospective landlord riding in the combine with Edwards that “it helped get the business. I didn’t even have to push him.”

His relationship with Schuck Equipment of Lawrence, Kan., is a big part of the reason for Edwards’ loyalty. The company is operated by Michael and Miles Schuck, who took over from their father, Howard, who had purchased the dealership in 1969.

For their part, the Schucks consider Edwards’ far-flung operation and increasingly high profile a benefit to their business. “If you’ve ever met Dustin, you’ll know he’s a stranger to no one,” says Miles Schuck. “He talks about what he’s doing and where he gets his equipment, so yeah, there is a benefit.”

For more on Dustin Edwards and his fast-growing farm operation, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/big-dreams-and-growing-pains-on-the-farm/.

American Farmland Trust: I Love My Farmers Market

A farmers market in Shreveport, La.

A farmers market in Shreveport, La.

The I Love My Farmers Market Celebration kicked off its summer-long event on June 13. Now in its sixth year, the program, sponsored by the American Farmland Trust (AFT), promotes USDA-listed farmers’ markets across the nation. Customers are encouraged to pledge dollars online and to follow through with a commitment to shop at their favorite farmers markets.

According to the AFT, for every $10 spent on local food, as much as $7.80 is re-spent in the local community, supporting local jobs and businesses. During the 2013 I Love My Farmers Market Celebration, a total of $259,690 was pledged to be spent at farmers’ markets, the majority of which the AFT calculates went directly to farmers.

The celebration, which is part of AFT’s No Farms No Food® campaign, helps emphasize “how important it is to put money directly into [farmers’] pockets, to help keep them on the land and to keep their operations viable.”

For more, including how to vote, visit: http://www.myfarmlife.com/first-gear/i-love-my-farmers-market-good-food-good-cause/