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A Visit With Southeastern Farmer of the Year Danny Kornegay

Danny Kornegay isn’t afraid to try new things.

Raising hogs, tobacco, sweet potatoes, cotton, watermelons, peanuts, soybeans corn and more, his 5,500-acre operation is about as diversified as a farm can realistically be. Danny even partnered with four other producers to build their own cotton gin and warehouse 26 years ago. Yet this year he’s made a new addition—asparagus.

Danny Kornegay

Danny Kornegay

Danny, 62, concedes he is no expert on asparagus. Fortunately, he and his family—his wife, Susie; son, Dan; and daughter, Kim Kornegay-LeQuire—have plenty of experience managing different operations and trying new things at their farm, Kornegay Family Farms & Produce, in Princeton, North Carolina.

The operation’s long-time success led to Danny being named the 2015 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year at last year’s Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga.

The family has weathered downturns in both the cotton and tobacco markets, yet both continue to provide good income. “The future for tobacco with regulations and demand doesn’t make it the most stable industry. We think there will continue to be a strong demand for healthy American-grown food like sweet potatoes and vegetables.”

Both Dan and Kim give credit to their dad for planning a farm for the future and working to make it all come to fruition.

The Kornegay family

The Kornegay family

“I think Dad has just had such great vision,” says Kim, who oversees the farm’s payroll, human resources and food safety program, among other duties. “He has not tried to be the biggest at everything, but always had a plan for steady and managed growth. And in the past 10 years, my brother has had a big role in that.”

Among other prizes for being named Farmer of the Year, Danny received a year’s use of a Massey Ferguson® 8737 tractor. He says about the MF8737: “It is well built. The Dyna-VT™ transmission is very nice because you don’t have to change gears … and the comfortable ride may be the best feature.”

See the full story about Kornegay, his farm and family: A Visit with Southeastern Farmer of the Year Danny Kornegay. For more information on the 2016 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award, held Tuesday, October 18, check out the Sunbelt Expo website.

Fendt 1000 Vario Tractor: Versatile, Powerful, Unique

The Fendt 1000 Vario tractors mark the beginning of a new power class for standard tractors. Ranging from 380 HP to 500 HP, the four new models in the series are big and powerful, yet remarkably compact, agile, fast and fuel efficient.

A breakthrough in class-leading intelligent design, the Fendt 1000 tractors are exceptionally versatile, capable of transport work at 31 mph (50 kph) and heavy draft work. Thanks to their relatively light 30,864 pounds and 60-inch row-crop-capable track width, all four fixed-frame models can fill the row-crop and transport needs commonly delegated to a conventional tractor. Yet, a flexible ballasting concept allows each vehicle to be loaded with up to 50% of its base weight for use in the heaviest draft applications typically reserved for 4-wheel-drive, track and articulated tractors.

“The Fendt 1000 Vario is also the first standard tractor line with a new Fendt iD comprehensive low-engine-speed concept,” explains Josh Keeney, tactical marketing manager for North America. “That means that all drivetrain components, as well as the hydraulics and cooling system, were designed to work ideally within the ‘high-torque, low-engine-speed’ concept to minimize fuel consumption and extend service life.”

As Keeney explains, in addition to Fendt iD, another groundbreaking component is a completely new stepless drive concept called VarioDrive. “Fendt has not only further developed the Vario transmission, but also developed a completely new drivetrain,” he says. “It’s the first drivetrain that drives both axles independently, providing optimized traction, automated 4-wheel drive and enhanced maneuverability.”

“Fendt tractors have always been appreciated by operators for their comfort, power, ease of use and technology offering. The 1000 Vario won’t disappoint, adding another level of precision capability to its operation,” Keeney says.

For more info on the Fendt 1000 Vario tractors, see your Fendt dealer or visit

See the full story and a video of the new tractor in action: Fendt 1000 Vario Tractor: Versatile, Powerful, Unique.

The Challenger 1000 Series: New Tractor, New Future

The new Challenger 1000 Series tractors are more than a new line of high-horsepower machines. They also represent an engineering breakthrough, offering tech-savvy solutions for today’s agribusiness operations.

“The Challenger 1000 Series is a completely new class of tractors,” says Josh Keeney, Challenger tactical marketing manager for North America. Each of the four models in the series, he says, “delivers more for less, with high efficiency and incredible power … all while offering intelligent, superior engineering, and exceptional road speed and operator comfort.

Ranging from 396 to 517 HP, the four models in the 1000 Series are the most versatile standard tractor on the market. Weighing in at an agile 30,864 pounds, they can fill the row-crop and transport needs commonly delegated to a conventional tractor. An easy ballasting system gives each vehicle the potential to be loaded with up to 50% of its base weight for use in heavy draft applications typically reserved for small-frame articulated tractors.

“One key to the Challenger 1000 Series performance is an advanced step-less drivetrain called AccuDrive,™” says Keeney, “designed for high torque, independent of ground conditions, while keeping engine speed especially low.” The 1000 Series tractors reach their maximum speed of 31 mph at a fuel-saving 1,200 rpm, and deliver up to 1,770 feet-pounds of torque (model 1050) at just 1,100 rpm.

The efficient and ergonomic cab environment even ensures all controls in the cab are color-coded for function, including engine and transmission, hydraulics, PTO and electronics—an incredible advantage when training new operators.

For more information on the new Challenger 1000 Series tractors, see your nearest Challenger dealer or log on to

See the full story and the new tractor in action online: Challenger 1000 Series: New Tractor, New Future.

The Massey Ferguson GC2400: Small Tractor, Big Jobs

In 2010, John and Beth Barth of Bushnell, Fla., realized they needed a tractor to maintain their land and tend to their grove of olive trees. “We didn’t really know what to buy,” John says. “We wanted a small tractor.”

The Barths drove to Brooksville, Fla., 30 minutes away and purchased a shiny red GC2400. “We knew it was a good name,” says John of the Massey Ferguson® brand. They also purchased a rotary cutter, a front-end loader, a potato puller and a disk for all the needs on their property.

John Barth on the GC2400.

John Barth on the GC2400.

In the five-plus years the Barths have owned the tractor, John has put more than 285 hours on the machine. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours with the front-end loader, moving wood chips, soil and driveway stone,” he says, noting it’s a small but powerful tractor, especially considering he uses it to maintain 10 acres.

“It’s not a big machine,” John explains, “but it’s perfect. It’s quick; that’s one of the nice things about it. The tractor gets around the front yard and house real fast.”

John also cites comfort. “It’s saved my back a million times,” he says.

“The tractor has been a godsend, a blessing for us,” John adds. “It always runs! That’s the main thing. Our tractor has been a very, very good thing for us.”

For their full story, see Liquid Gold: Growing Olives in the Sunshine State.

Challenger Tractors: ‘Stick There Like Glue’

“Our topography is pretty steep,” says Garry Esser about the less-than-level land he farms. “It’s a challenge, but,” he says with a grin, “you’re never bored.”

Raising a variety of crops, including wheat, barley and canola, as well as peas and pulse crops, Esser and his son John farm land in the ever-undulating Palouse region of western Idaho. It’s a tough assignment for most tractors, according to Esser, who farms on some steep slopes.

Garry and John Esser

Garry and John Esser

That’s one of the reasons he runs Challenger® track tractors, including an MT855. “They just stick there like glue … and they’re light and nimble,” he says.

Esser notes that with the rubber-track Challengers, “You’ve got the speed of a wheel tractor for moving up and down the road, and yet still have the benefits of the tractor sticking to the hills. And, they get power to the ground per weight like nothing I’ve ever driven.”

Due to a need to reduce compaction, weight is a particular concern for Esser. “In the spring, when we’re fighting compaction, we can lighten this tractor up … and still pull our equipment because the Challenger line has done a real good job of getting [power] to the ground.” He adds that “a lot of the competitors’ tractors weigh 60,000 pounds when they’re delivered, and you really can’t do a lot with that. That’s just heavy.”

Running just two tractors, uptime is critical for the Essers. They rely on Agri-Service in Pasco, Wash., for parts and service. “We’ve known them a long time,” Esser says. “Their guys are sharp. They’re real responsive. We’ve been very pleased with their service.”

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