The AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin in January came and went by very quickly but not so fast as to deny me of memorable moments. First of all I would like to thank AGCO for granting me this great opportunity as their Africa Ambassador 2013. It was overwhelming to be chosen via the video contest from more than 30 applicants and it was a great experience to host such a top-class international conference.
As was to be expected, the high profile representatives from industry and government from within and outside Africa left indelible impressions on me with their varying perspectives about agriculture. Agriculture plays a major role in Africa’s future and the world’s food security. It was not a surprise that the final keynote speech by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, was potent enough to make any businessman, who may have never considered becoming a farmer, to entertain thoughts of serious involvement in ‘agri-business’.
Meeting and interacting with experts of various nationalities and cultures who all have Africa in common one way or another was indeed an experience of high value. It was a particular delight and also a deep honor to announce the speeches of Former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuour (Ghana) and Horst Koehler (Germany).
I cherish the memories of each distinguished speaker that I had the honor of presenting but there is certainly one that stands out much more than any of the others in my mind. Laetitia Mukungu started her entrepreneurial journey at a very young age and indeed at the time of the conference she was 16 or 17 years old. Her delivery of the story of how she started her foray into rabbit farming in Kenya was as remarkable as the content of the story itself. It is no wonder that she is a 2012 Anzisha Fellow, one of several laurels that I expect this young dynamic woman to win. (She has also most recently won the Diana Prize, March 2012.)
Laetitia spoke very clearly about how and why she started rabbit farming, an initiative that would grow into an excellent example of social entrepreneurship with her Women Rabbit’s Association and My Idea Rabbit Center. Her presentation about why she chose rabbits over other livestock was so compelling that I have begun to ponder why I should not start my very own rabbit farm in Nigeria.
The AGCO Africa Summit, Agriculture in Africa – From Vision to Action, served as a call to action for all involved; policy makers, farmers, financiers and entrepreneurs. Participants got insight into the peculiarities of the African agribusiness landscape with the incredible opportunities available through sustainable agriculture.
I am certainly pleased to have been involved and I am grateful to AGCO’s leadership and very talented international team for the opportunity. It was a great honor to meet and interact closely with Martin Richenhagen , Nuradin Osman and several other inspiring leaders of this leading global agricultural equipment manufacturer.
This report would be incomplete without mentioning the delight of experiencing Germany for the first time: the food, the people and the architecture that had me take pictures and video clips enough for a mini documentary. Visiting Berlin in the dead of winter was indeed as cold as expected but the allure of the city could not be overcome by the snow and chill. The sophistication of the city and its rich history is hard to go unnoticed while looking through the windows of your taxi or while going on foot down any Strasse.
I look forward to another trip to Berlin, but more importantly I envision the many great and innovative actions that AGCO, its partners, customers, suppliers and you and I will take on in the coming years for agriculture in Africa. Thank you AGCO for your commitment in Africa and thanks to all the participants for moving last year‘s conversation forward – I am glad to be a part of this and I am happy to be your AGCO Africa Ambassador in 2013.
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AGCO announced the availability of AGCO’s latest global mobile application built to serve agriculture professionals on-the-go, allowing them to manage their operation from anywhere, anytime. “AGCO’s industry-leading telemetry service, AGCOMMAND, has gone mobile. Building on the capabilities of our existing AGCOMMAND wireless information solution, it’s exciting to deliver an app designed for the increasing demands of professional farmers and the dealer network that supports them,” said Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO of AGCO. “Professional farmers and agriculture enterprises can increase their productivity through this new, wireless agriculture management tool that focuses on fleet management, vehicle health and overall machine uptime.”
AGCOMMAND is a complete end-to-end wireless information solution that provides actionable machine information for professional farmers and their dealers to support improved operations. With more than 13 new features in the core telemetry service*, including new baler-specific functions that benefit hay and forage farmers, the enhanced fleet management capabilities allow users to more productively manage their operation. AGCOMMAND telemetry service for remote machine monitoring is available as an option on Challenger, Massey Ferguson and Valtra tractors, harvesting and application equipment as well as fleet vehicles.Features of the AGCOMMAND app include:
- Unique, integrated radar feature tells you the weather conditions where your machines are located**
- Turn-by-turn directions to machines, from your current location
- History of machine status and machine data
- Ability to compare the performance of multiple machines
- User-defined alerts from vehicles and machines
The new AGCOMMAND app is available as a free download in the Apple App Store. The simple, yet powerful iOS application for both iPhone and iPad is easy to use and is available in 15 languages worldwide. To learn more about the AGCOMMAND telemetry solution, please visit http://www.agcotechnologies.com/naen/AGCOMMAND.htm. Visit the Apple App Store to download the AGCOMMAND app today.
* Cellular service coverage may vary by region.** Radar functionality currently available in North America, Australia and New Zealand only.
AGCO is a proud supporter of the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program. During the 2012-2013 FFA scholarship year, AGCO and 60 local Challenger, Massey Ferguson and Gleaner dealers will distribute a total of 120 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. The local scholarship program which AGCO launched in 2011 has seen tremendous support from dealers with four new dealerships joining the effort for the 2012-13 scholarship year.
“Our dealership has supported FFA in Idaho since the business was founded in 1990. We do so because FFA is a program that addresses the agricultural interests of young people in our communities, many of whom are going to be our top farm operators and customers in the future,” says Cleve Buttars, president/CEO, Agri-Service, a participating dealership headquartered in Twin Falls, Idaho. “AGCO couldn’t have chosen a better agricultural youth organization to support. The company’s sponsorship of local scholarships fits in perfectly with what we were already doing, giving us an additional opportunity to support these youngsters through college.”
On a national level AGCO will distribute 12 scholarships and AGCO Finance will distribute six scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each. The 2013 Scholarship application process opens online November 15, 2012, and applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EST February 15, 2013. For more details on the scholarship program and a list of participating dealerships offering local scholarships, visit www.ffa.org/scholarships.
“The young men and women involved in FFA are the future of the agricultural industry and are the key to feeding the world whether they return to the family farm after college or get involved with other areas of agriculture,” says Jason Marx, vice president of marketing at AGCO. “We salute FFA for its fine work and are proud to be a part of the National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program that recognizes and supports these students.” Through the FFA scholarship program Massey Ferguson, Challenger, and Gleaner dealers financially support students through post secondary school to help launch their careers in the agricultural industry. “Agriculture constantly faces new challenges and provides new opportunities, and these scholarship recipients are the future of our industry, thanks in part to the role FFA has played in their lives,” says Marx.
AGCO is one of FFA’s longest-standing sponsors with 2012 representing 67 years of support. During this time, AGCO has provided more than $1.2 million dollars in support of FFA, with individual dealers contributing in addition. Supporting the scholarship program is just one way the company and its employees express their appreciation for FFA and today’s youth. AGCO’s corporate involvement also includes the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., and has a recruiting presence at the Collegiate Career Fair. Marx mentions that many AGCO employees credit FFA with helping them to develop their own skills and lifelong interest in agriculture.
Students receiving scholarships through the National FFA Collegiate Scholarship program are selected based on leadership they have shown in their schools and communities as well as academic performance. Planned majors include engineering, communications, education, business management and economics. Supervised agricultural experience programs and future goals are also taken into consideration. FFA members are trained in leadership, goal setting, consensus building, and problem solving. These students are not afraid to work and know what it means to make a profit. Collectively, FFA members earn $4 billion annually through their hands-on work experience.
For more information about AGCO and its products, visit www.AGCOcorp.com.
AGCO opened its expanded manufacturing facility and Intivity Center in June with a two-day Grand Opening celebration. Since that event, farmers from across the Midwest and around the globe have been touring AGCO’s 75,000-square-foot tractor manufacturing line and taking in the exhibits within Intivity Center, the company’s new 17,000-square-foot visitors’ center. More than 2,700 people have toured the Jackson, Minn., facility since it opened to the public.
“We built this new plant in Jackson because we wanted to give our dealers and their customers the opportunity to see our workmanship,” says Steve Koep, Vice President of Sales, AGCO North America. Koep goes on to say that this straight-line-configured manufacturing line, with its four quality-gate inspection points and high-tech automated quality-control systems, demonstrates to farmers the attention to detail that goes into every product. The line is spacious, and the progress of each tractor is visible on the overhead LCD monitors throughout the process. The assembly team members and customers can read on the screens what is being built, the stage of production it is in, and even for whom the Massey Ferguson or Challenger tractor is being built.
For more information on how to schedule your Intivity Center tour.