Good equipment and a top-notch dealer keep this rancher’s operation humming.
We recently introduced you to Dan Forsea in a blog post about his efforts to protect water on his Oregon ranch. His operation is in the thick of rugged terrain that includes as much as 20,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land.
What brand of equipment does he rely on? To harvest hay for his 650-head of Angus-Hereford cows and complete a multitude of other chores, the cattleman depends on Massey Ferguson®.
Forsea has two Massey Ferguson 7480 tractors. He says they’re versatile machines, which he uses to put up and feed hay and drag his hay meadows. Last year, the rancher also bought a Massey Ferguson 1372 12-foot-wide swather disc mower. He puts up timothy, orchardgrass and clover hay, as well as some alfalfa, to winter his cow herd and to background his yearlings before he sells them.
This rancher depends on his Massey Ferguson equipment, in part because it’s as rugged as the land he works. Forsea expects a lot from his Massey Ferguson equipment and he appreciates his dealer, Robbins Equipment Company in Baker City, Ore., one of hundreds of AGCO dealerships in North America that keep their customers running and working with the most innovative and reliable farm equipment on the planet.
“As much as anything, I’ve had good luck with the dealer,” Forsea says. “I’ve dealt with Robbins since ‘82. I’ve stayed with them and they’ve stayed with me.”
He continues, “They stand behind what they sell, and they do what they need to do to keep me happy. They’ve been good to deal with. Whatever they sell, I buy. It has worked well for both of us.”
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No matter your annual precipitation or what you’re raising, protecting water sources on your land is critical. However, when your yearly rainfall averages only 9 to 11 inches, as it does for rancher Dan Forsea, the task is all the more crucial.
The Richland, Ore., cattleman raises 650 Angus-Hereford cows at his Eagle Valley headquarters in the winter and on the 15,000 to 20,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management range they graze in the summer. Forsea and his cattle depend on every bit of that precipitation, as well as area creeks and rivers.
As a result, Forsea does all he can to keep the springs, streambeds and riparian areas—the land bordering the creeks and rivers—in top-notch shape. For starters, he depends on fences. “We try to fence off most of the creeks in the valley. If we do graze, we only keep the cattle in there for a short time. The fences keep the cattle where I want them, it makes them easier to manage, and it keeps the streambanks in [good] condition.”
He’s also undertaken other methods, such as placing salt licks on ridges to draw the cattle away from streambeds. When his streambanks do erode, he employs various methods, such as using cables to tie back saplings that then help stabilize the bank.
The creek through his feedlot was probably the most in need of help. “The cattle made a mess. I was going to do the work on my own but the Natural Resources Conservation Service [NRCS] helped me with cost-share money. We fenced it out and put in four troughs. Now we have a good buffer. Even the feedlot is grassy. I could hay it if it wasn’t so rocky.”
For more on how Forsea protects the water and depends on Massey Ferguson equipment to help get the work done, see http://www.myfarmlife.com/farmstead/protect-the-water/.
In the first three years of raising potatoes—what was then Southern Alberta’s hot new crop—John Vossebelt almost lost the farm.
“When we started in 2000, we were partly froze out,” says John, noting an early frost that destroyed a large portion of his first harvest. While the next year provided a good yield, “2002 froze us out again.
“When you just start in this business [making] the big investments, you cannot have a bad year,” continues John. “But we had two.”
“We’d gotten the equipment, prepared the land and ourselves by learning about growing [potatoes],” John says. “We knew potatoes would be a high-risk crop, but we knew in our gut we could be successful.”
A decade and a half later, with the help of his wife, Ann, their five children and, says John, “many others,” the Vossebelt patriarch has built a successful, 2,500-acre operation named Chin Coulee Spud Farms. John now shares management with his two sons, Delbert and Dwayne, and runs a fleet of farm equipment that’s almost entirely AGCO-made.
We’re proud to be one of the Vossebelt’s partners in their farming enterprise. They put a lot of trust in our equipment, depending on it to get the job done reliably and effectively. We don’t take that lightly. After all, to John and his family, farming is more than a business.
“The potatoes have been good. We’ve had success as farmers, even though we had a difficult start, and it allows me to work with two of my children.”
He then looks around, smiles and asks in that booming, Dutch-laced baritone, “I can say that over the years we’ve been blessed in a lot of things, yes?”
At first, things look pretty quiet at the dairy, located a few miles northwest of Fort Wayne, Ind.
The only activity, it seems, is dozens of healthy-looking Holsteins with full udders munching feed. Drive a little farther, though, and a long line of parked cars comes into view, as do scores of parents and children walking into an open area surrounded by cattle and cornfields, where the Kuehnert family is hosting its newly initiated fall festival.
For more than 100 years, the Kuehnerts have been farming on this land, where they grow corn, soybeans and hay on 1,100 acres. Their bread and butter, however, is the farm’s 300 mature Holsteins, which produce 7 million pounds of milk a year. Ask fourth-generation producer and family patriarch Al why he added yet another element of work to his day (and night) in the form of a family-oriented festival, and he’ll tell you, “It’s amazing how many people think milk comes from the grocery store.”
Al sees the festival, which his family started in 2013, as a way to educate the general public about agriculture and, more specifically, dairy. The family also uses the festival as a means to promote the dairy products marketed through the 700-member Prairie Farms Dairy cooperative, of which the Kuehnerts are a part
Then, there’s the benefit of introducing the public to Kuehnert Dairy Farm, which supports Al and his brother Stan as full-time farmers, as well as partially supporting the families of Al’s two sons, Nathan and Andrew. All together, there are currently four generations of Kuehnerts working in some capacity on this dairy farm.
Last year, the festival drew 3,500 visitors—no small feat in Al’s opinion. “We had a really good turnout, especially given the bad weather we had every weekend,” he says, and adds that it accomplished job No. 1. “Our main thing with doing the festival is to educate the consumer about dairy and show people where their milk comes from.”
At AGCO, we salute farm families across North America who are involved in pubic outreach in all forms. That’s no small task and one that’s vital to agriculture, present and future.