Massey Ferguson speaks to Matteo Bartolini, President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), about the links between nutrition, eating habits and the food chain.
MF: Is EU food legislation to blame for higher food prices?
MB: All of us, as European consumers want high-quality and safe food. The EU plays a vital role in that. The European Commission oversees the necessary level of law harmonization thereby avoiding distortion of competition among Member States. A set of common rules for all 28 Member States is less burdensome and expensive than 28 entirely different sets of rules and regulations.
MF: Would you agree that consumers consider the cost of food – as opposed to its quality and dietary issues – as the determining factor when shopping for food? What can we do to change people’s eating habits?
MB: Cheaper food does not always translate into unhealthy food, and we also need to keep in mind that eating habits often depend on different cultures across the Union. EU citizens must be aware of the fact that meeting the most rigorous requirements – like EU farmers do – can, indeed, contribute to higher prices since the production cost for European farmers increases in direct proportion. Europeans are demanding good quality food – in other words, they want to know what they eat and how their food was produced.
MF: What is your opinion as regards the claim that small farms are less sustainable than their bigger counterparts?
MB: Although this can sometimes be the case, it does not mean that it is the rule. Small farms can be modern and sustainable too. The EU supports small farms by providing funds for modernization and investments in order to ensure that they not polluters and that they are also economically viable. Our view on the issue is that irrespective of their size, both big and small farms should aim to produce sustainably. The reality nowadays is that increasingly scarce natural resources do not leave farmers with much of a choice. European agriculture does not consist of only small farms or only big farms. It is essential to have a mix of the two as this is part of the culture of European farming.
MF: Do you believe that European farmers’ bargaining power has decreased over the years? What do you think are the reasons behind this and what can they do to gain more control?
MB: European farmers exercise rather little control over the final cost of their products. Past practices have fallen short of providing producers with decent prices at farm gate level, with farmers often getting a fraction of what the consumer pays. However, young farmers in particular are attempting to shorten this chain and find innovative solutions to the lack of bargaining power. Young farmers employ methods such as direct selling in order to improve the functioning of the food chain, while, at the same time, bringing consumers closer to producers and giving them more understanding of where and how their food was produced.
More than 7,250 farmers, contractors and guests from as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland travelled to the Discover AGCO show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham, on 26th and 27th February to view the extensive range of equipment from Massey Ferguson.
The largest individual manufacturer event ever held in the UK, Discover AGCO showcased $18 million worth of equipment, bringing together a complete line-up of machinery from AGCO’s leading brands including the world famous Massey Ferguson brand, along with support services provided by AGCO Parts and AGCO Finance.
Held in 15,000m² space in two halls at the NEC, Discover AGCO treated guests to a machinery show experience more akin to that found at large European exhibitions. Indeed, the event provided the opportunity for customers to see the entire Massey Ferguson lineup, from Power Generators and lawn equipment, right up to our 400 horsepower MF 8700 series and our top of the range harvesting collection. Visitors were welcomed onto the stand to talk to senior staff, Area Sales Managers and Sales Support staff. Colleagues from the Beauvais factory in France also joined us to promote the forthcoming Vision of the Future event and give support to our UK team.
The event employed more than $1 million worth of audiovisual equipment to put on a wide range of presentations, including a video tracing the company’s development and achievements from its foundation to the present day. There were also presentations by Campbell Scott, Director of Brand Development for Massey Ferguson, as well as a commentary in the centrally-positioned ‘Ultimate Dealership’. A full seminar programme, addressing farm management, agronomy and livestock issues, was fully booked by visitors before the event.
David Sleath, Director Sales UK and Ireland told us, “The indoor facilities at the NEC provided the opportunity to show our massive range of equipment to our customers in a professional space, in a business-like manner and without any distractions. As well as being able to look closely at specific machines, customers could also talk to senior executives, staff and specialists in comfort, in great detail about their specific needs and, in many cases, with their dealers at the same event,” adds Mr Sleath.
One customer, Chris Gardner, from Mill Farm Ashorne, in Warwickshire, who runs a specialist grassland and agricultural contracting business, praised the show for the choice of venue and its professional approach. “The NEC is an excellent venue – warm and dry! We found the show was well laid out and I really appreciated the way we were able to take a long, detailed look, at the equipment, without feeling we were being hassled by salesmen, there was no ‘hard sell’. But as soon as we did want extra information somebody was always available to provide what we wanted.”
Sam Mercer, Sales Director of the Reekie Group, travelled to Birmingham with two coach loads of customers from its depots at Perth, Stirling and Cupar. “It was a long way to come from Central Scotland, more than six hours travelling, but it was well worth it. It was good for our customers to see not only what Massey Ferguson has to offer but the other services and products available.”
“Our customers said the show put over a very professional image. The feedback on the way home was all positive – they found it interesting and informative and, despite the long journey, well worth the visit,” Sam told us.
AGCO has released several key updates to its industry-leading farm fleet management tool, AgCommand as available for use with Massey Ferguson machines.
The updates will streamline wireless data capabilities for customers and improve dealers’ customer service opportunities, resulting in customer and dealer time savings, and greater visibility into farm operations.
A key component of AGCO’s new global technology strategy, FuseTM Technologies, AgCommand is AGCO’s global telematics and asset management tool. It offers complete fleet management with machine performance reports, wireless communication, theft recovery and a web-based application for easy access to data, along with iPad® and iPhone® mobile apps. AgCommand helps connect mixed fleets for any size of operation.
Key updates include:
- Machine and Account Management functionality improvements that allow customers to ‘hide’ parked machines, and allow large operators to make their operation visible to multiple dealers. Dealers can now easily reflect transferred ownership of machines sold aftermarket.
- New mobile app features – including more detailed historical reports, improved map view and navigation, weather radar and improved dealer access to AgCommand’s at-a-glance dashboard which will provide dealers with the ability to receive turn-by-turn directions to a customer’s machine.
- Report enhancements and additions – including a new report to see machine hours by date and improved search capabilities within reports
For more information about AgCommand and Fuse Technologies, AGCO’s connected precision farming strategy, visit http://agcotechnologies.com.
Honours have gone to Massey Ferguson farm equipment at AGROmashExpo in Hungary and the Polagra-Premiery International Fair in Poland.
The MF 5611 tractor and MF 9812 row-crop planter both received prestigious International Premium Awards at AGROmashExpo in Budapest, Hungary’s biggest agricultural exhibition. The MF 5612 won a coveted Gold Medal at Poznan’s Polagra-Premiery Fair which this year attracted more than 40,000 visitors.
In making the awards, the jury in Budapest described the MF 5611 as having broad appeal in Hungary and made special mention of its AutoDrive system, Dyna transmission and reliable AGCO POWER engine. The MF 9812 planter was praised for its planting accuracy, robust construction and narrow transport width.
In Poland, the Gold Medal is awarded to modern, innovative products manufactured using the latest technologies. Professor Grzegorz Skrzypczak, PhD, Rector of the University of Life Sciences in Poznan chaired the jury.
“We are thrilled to receive these three awards which provide further testament to the fact that we are delivering the straightforward, dependable machines that farmers need to produce their crops no matter where they are in the world,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development.
Thanks to the endeavours of a group of Massey Ferguson vintage tractor enthusiasts, over £5500 has been presented to the Diabetes Research Group at Kings College, London.
A cavalcade of 19 vintage red and grey Massey Ferguson tractors completed a 17-mile crossing of the treacherous sands at Morecambe Bay last year to raise money for the charity.
At the head of the convoy was mastermind of the event, 81-year-old retired Massey Ferguson employee Bob Dickman driving his 1954 Ferguson TEF 20 tractor. Massey Ferguson supported the event with the supply of raffle prizes including an all-expenses-paid trip for two people to its tractor factory in Beauvais, France.
Bob was delighted to hand over the cheque to the Professor of Endocrine Biology at Kings College, Peter Jones.
“We were thrilled to raise £5,554.00 which was more than double our original target,” says Bob. “We are also hoping to make a further contribution from sales of the DVD of the Morecambe Bay event. The Diabetes Research Group is doing great work and we are pleased to add to their much-needed funds.”
Winner of the top prizes in the Massey Ferguson raffle were Steve Morris and Alister Renton. Steve, who helped organise the guides for the tractor crossing, is a Type 1 Diabetes sufferer and his family has farmed in the Morecambe Bay area for many generations. Alister is the father of four-year-old Neev who also suffers from Type 1 Diabetes and who waved the flag to set off the tractor convoy on the day.