MF: Would you say that 2014 was a year of maintaining the momentum of CEJA’s work?
MB: 2014 has been a crucial year for CEJA. Following the achievements made in 2013 with the inclusion of a mandatory measure for young farmers in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it was essential that we ensured the implementation of this historic political agreement in an effective and concrete manner. In a similar vein, it was also important that we made use of the momentum that the CAP reform negotiations had given CEJA the previous year, and that we maintained an increasing amount of visibility and awareness of the age crisis in European farming. This was despite the retreat that agriculture, due to the end of CAP discussions, made from the central position it had been occupying in EU current affairs for the last two years. Progress has been made on the policy front even beyond the remits of the CAP, including putting the need to strengthen EU policy for young farmers at centre stage within the agricultural priorities of the Italian Presidency.
MF: What else was notable in 2014?
MB: 2014 witnessed the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. Among several joint events, we held a CEJA working group at the MF tractor plant in Beauvais, France. The event also included a tour of the tractor production facilities for a number of leading young farmers from across the EU. 2014 saw the end of an era as the previous European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş, was replaced by Irishman Phil Hogan. In addition, we saw an array of newly-elected MEPs take their seats on the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament. As well as this, CEJA welcomed a new Secretary General a year ago to assist what was then the newly-elected Board, with me at the helm as the new President. Despite all these changes, CEJA accomplished a number of achievements over the last 12 months and I am proud to say that the issue of young farmers was still high on the political agenda right through to the end of 2014.
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Staff at Massey Ferguson in the UK gave a warm welcome to Manon Ossevoort who drove an MF 5610 tractor on the adventurous Antarctica2 mission to the South Pole.
The 38-year-old Dutch-born Expedition Ambassador and Lead Driver, better known as ‘Tractor Girl’, visited Massey Ferguson’s offices at Abbey Park Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on 23 January. Manon captured the imagination of millions worldwide as she and her team battled across the vast icescape with the MF tractor on a gruelling 28-day, 5000 km round-trip from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole. On reaching its destination, the MF 5610 made history to become the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.
Throughout the expedition, a Massey Ferguson team at Abbey Park was responsible for coordinating the expedition communications and relaying news and pictures of the epic journey to a global audience.
“It was a great pleasure to welcome Manon to the UK and hear yet more details of this extraordinary story,” said Declan Hayden, Vice President, Global Sales & Operations Planning. “It is truly an awe-inspiring feat, highlighting the strength and endurance of the MF tractor, as well demonstrating the fortitude and resilience of the crew.”
Manon commented: “By supplying the MF 5610 to Antarctica2, Massey Ferguson showed its belief in this incredibly ambitious mission and took up my challenge to take a tractor to the South Pole. I am thrilled to be here and back with the MF team who worked with me on planning the expedition over a period of three years. They never stopped believing that we could achieve our goal. I know the team at Abbey Park was eager to hear more of my story but I was equally fascinated to find out how they supported the expedition communications day-to-day.”
Manon was joined at Abbey Park by fellow team member, Antarctica2 cameraman Simon Foster. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “Taking pictures and video in the extreme cold was exceptionally challenging. We were able to take some great shots of the tractor on its voyage which were used widely by the world’s press and across social media.”
Paul Lay, Massey Ferguson Manager, Public Relations and Communications who led the Abbey Park-based communications team adds: “Antarctica2 was an amazing project for the team to manage. The technical challenges of conveying communications and developing news from Antarctica quickly to a global audience were immense. There are no geosynchronous communications satellites at the Earth’s Poles so digital communications are very slow and unreliable. We overcame those and were delighted when, together with other world media, the BBC ran a four minute live news broadcast with Manon when her MF 5610 tractor reached the South Pole – a first.”
The Antarctica2 MF 5610 expedition tractor will be a highlight of Massey Ferguson’s stand at the upcoming SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February 2015.
In January 2012, when Ismaël and Sébastien Villeneuve moved to their new farm in Northeastern Quebec, the brothers were on their own. The 600 kilometers between the siblings’ new property and their family’s pig farm in Lanoraie, Quebec, made the remoteness even more pronounced.
So did their youth, or more accurately, that others perceived them to be inexperienced. Yet, Ismaël, 27, and Sébastien, 24, spent most of their childhood working around their family’s farm and those of their neighbors. They knew the ropes.
So, perhaps it was providence or just great luck that the brothers stumbled upon what has become their farm equipment dealer, as well as something of a welcome committee. Ismaël had been shopping for another brand of tractor at a dealership close to his farm. “I asked for prices and had to make a lot of phone calls,” says Ismaël. “It took way too long. They didn’t take us seriously because we were young and new to the region.”
Then, destiny intervened. On the way home from the other dealership, Ismaël got lost and ended up at Machinerie J.N.G. Thériault, the Massey Ferguson dealer in Amqui, Quebec. And while the visit was happenstance, it was time well spent.
The very next day, the brothers received pricing for an MF5450. Two days later, a representative from the dealership dropped off the tractor and demonstrated its use. Such a speedy response, says Ismaël, “really took me by surprise.”
The MF5450 has since been their go-to for numerous and far-ranging tasks around the farm. From spreading herbicides and fertilizer on the fields to pressing and moving hay bales, its maneuverability and exceptional visibility from the cab make it indispensable for farm work, says Ismaël.
“The versatility is the biggest advantage of the 5450. For its size, it is very strong and very powerful.” In addition, says Ismaël about Machinerie J.N.G. Thériault, “The service with these guys is five star.”
With such a positive experience, the brothers have since purchased an MF7616. “For the work we have to do at this specific farm, it’s perfect,” says Ismaël of the 150- engine HP tractor, which he and Sébastien use for sowing seeds, spreading manure and snowplowing. “Compared to other [tractors], the price is affordable and the fuel efficiency is better.”
“Farmers have a lot of data coming from many directions,” says Scott Shearer, professor and chair of food, agricultural and biological engineering at The Ohio State University. “We need to continue to make it easier for that data to be put to good use … to help producers make more informed decisions about their specific operation.”
What doesn’t make it easier to use that data are roadblocks put in place by proprietary software and extra steps required to download and translate the information. That’s why AGCO is developing its Fuse® Technologies open-architecture platform, says Matt Rushing, of AGCO Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS).
“Fuse is an open approach to decision support software,” says Rushing, the vice president, product line at ATS. “That enables growers to seamlessly integrate their AGCO equipment with the trusted service providers and software partners they use.
“It’s all about making sure farmers have choices,” Rushing says, which is why AGCO is partnering with a variety of companies that provide decision agriculture software, such as computer-based applications and agronomy services. DuPont Pioneer is one such provider working with AGCO in the U.S.
The two companies reached an agreement earlier this year that allows growers to wirelessly transfer data collected through AGCO’s VarioDoc, TaskDoc™ and AgCommand® systems to Pioneer Encirca (SM) services. Essentially Encirca, a data-driven, agronomy-based whole-farm solution available for corn and soybean farmers, can seamlessly use information from AGCO equipment provided by participating farmers.
“There is a great synergy between both the companies, AGCO and DuPont Pioneer,” says Michael Sharov, senior manager, Encirca services business development and planning. “There were a number of reasons we wanted to partner with them. No. 1, AGCO is one of the leaders in the farm machinery space … and AGCO is also pursuing an open approach. That’s very important to us that farmers be able to choose.
That, concludes Rushing, “will allow each farmer to get the most out of his operation in the most efficient way possible.”
By: Nicole Schrock, Miss Rodeo Oregon
Growing up, agriculture and farming had a huge influence on me. Farming was a family affair. Both my parents came from farming families, so that lifestyle was the only one I knew. Being the daughter of farmers taught me to have a lot of respect for the land and our way of life. As I grew older, I had no desire to leave that way of life, and I chose to pursue a higher education in a field that would keep me close to the agriculture lifestyle that I had grown up loving.
During my travels as Miss Rodeo Oregon, one of the organizations I worked with was my local Oregon Women for Agriculture chapter. I have so much respect for these women, not only because of their involvement on their own farms, but for their passion for agriculture and their willingness to take extra time out of their schedules to promote that way of life to the public. They support other women in agriculture through fundraisers and scholarships for youth, and they work to educate through public events such as fairs and ag day celebrations. Women for Ag and Miss Rodeo Oregon walked parallel paths and so it was an honor and pleasure when I got to work side by side with them — working toward a common goal of promoting agriculture in our area.
Another thing that I noticed in my travels as Miss Rodeo Oregon is the common misconception among the general public that farming and ranching are all-male vocations. Growing up on a farm, I know firsthand that farming is not just for men and boys. In our house, everyone had a role to play. Whether it was in the office or the field, everyone contributed to the success of the harvest — man or woman, adult or child, we all helped out.
As a woman in agriculture, I think the most challenging obstacle to overcome is stereotyping from outside people. Because agriculture is generally viewed as a male-dominated industry, I’ve found that women often have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove their worth and knowledge in the industry. But women are slowly making their presence known, and I look forward to a future where women and men are recognized equally as they work toward promoting and making innovative leaps in techniques, practices and technology for the industry.
I love being a woman in agriculture… getting to work outside and admire nature’s beauty while giving back to my community. On my family’s farm, summer is the busiest time of year — the same time that rodeo season hits full swing in the Northwest. So, like clockwork every year, I find myself dividing my time between the two loves of my life… and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Whether I am driving my Massey Ferguson tractor in the fields or galloping my horse in the rodeo arena — you can bet I’ll have a smile on my face!