AGCO has proudly partnered with the Zambia 4-H project to help prepare Africa’s children to meet urgent global needs, including hunger, sustainable livelihoods and food security. By 2015, 4-H will equip 250,000 young people in Sub-Saharan Africa with the knowledge and skills needed for improved, sustainable livelihoods. Click here to learn more about the #AG4Good initiative on our Facebook page.
Read the rest of this entry »
A legacy of sustainability is evident from the talk around the table in their farm shop on a recent warm afternoon. Dave Ring, his son Brent, 38, and grandson Dylan, 8, laugh about a story in which the boy informed his grade-school teacher that he may have to come home soon to farm full time.
The reason? It seems his dad had accumulated some gray hair around his temples. Dylan took that as a sign that Brent would be retiring soon and his time to take over was at hand.
“Dylan is 8 going on 21,” laughs Dave, obviously proud of his grandson. Dave also feels confident the operation will be healthy when Dylan is indeed ready to take over.
The Rings farm more than 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, milk 100-plus dairy cows and raise thousands of tom turkeys annually on a contract basis. They have always been proponents of good conservation. They seed cover crops in the fall, do minimal subsurface tillage, incorporate dairy manure and turkey litter in the soil, and buffer waterways.
“As for conservation, you have no choice in this part of the world,” says Dave. “We have rolling ground and you have to prepare the land to slow erosion. If we weren’t good stewards, there wouldn’t be anything left for my grandson.”
Dave is used to thinking about new generations. For 28 years, he was a high school business teacher, then vocational agriculture teacher and FFA leader. Now 68, he spent his younger days rising at 3 a.m. to milk cows and work the farm before heading off to his teaching job.
He thought the teaching would only be temporary—to help out the school district fill a sudden vacancy, then later to secure the agriculture program in danger of being cut for lack of an instructor. Turns out he was a natural. “I was starting to enjoy it,” Dave admits.
He is particularly proud of nearby Southridge High School’s FFA program, which had 15 members when he started teaching it and 160 when he retired in 2009.
Earlier this year, Dave Ring was recognized with the prestigious Master Farmer award from Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine. The nominees are considered for the honor based on the quality of their operation and community service. The awards were given this past spring at a banquet sponsored by the magazine and the Purdue Ag Alumni Association.
“The Rings have done a super job of being diversified,” says Kevin Lubbehusen of Blesch Bros. Equipment Co., Dave’s farm equipment dealer.
“You don’t often see someone of his age staying out front on the technology side,” says Kevin. “That ability to stay current, along with his years of experience and his reputation for being a straight shooter, make him someone people listen to.”
AGCO officials cut the ribbon Aug. 16, 2013, celebrating completion of a two-year, $40 million revitalization project to equip the Hesston, Kan., manufacturing facility with the latest finishing and paint technologies.
“We fully understand how important a high-quality finish is to our customers and dealers, and the impact it has on machine life and resale,” says Bob Crain, senior vice president and general manager for AGCO North America. “That is the reason we invested in this new E-coat and powder paint facility. It is the most advanced and extensive coatings application center in the North American agricultural equipment industry today, and we’re excited to start using it!”
The electrocoat (E-coat) and powder paint processes at AGCO are equivalent to those of the automotive industry and provide a thorough, consistent, durable finish on each part, enhancing the overall quality and longevity of the final piece of equipment.
The new 200,000-square-foot state-of-the-art dip and powder-coat paint facility consolidates AGCO Hesston Operations’ two paint stations into one streamlined, efficient building. Parts for all products manufactured in Hesston will be painted and finished there before being assembled into final products. Nearly 75 percent of parts will go through the 17-step E-coat process, which involves dipping parts in a series of solutions that remove all rust, scale and laser oxides, then applying a high-performance corrosion- and weather-resistant finish comparable to that used in the automotive industry. The E-coat primer is applied using a high-voltage and high-amperage charge for 180 seconds, ensuring thorough coverage. After curing in one of 10, 375-degree F ovens, parts receive a powder topcoat with one of five colors, then another final oven cure.
The remaining 25 percent of parts, including gearboxes and drives, components that cannot withstand heat, and parts that are best painted after they are assembled, will be painted using a liquid coating system.
Farm equipment has been built in Hesston, Kan., since 1947, and today, the Hesston manufacturing facility builds Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay harvesting equipment; Gleaner, Challenger and Massey Ferguson combines as well as White Planters; and its nine manufacturing lines produce as many as 45 pieces of farm equipment per day, depending on the season. Today, with more than 1,400 employees, AGCO is the largest employer in Harvey County and much of the surrounding area.
The phrase “world hunger” is widely recognized throughout the United States. Yet, what does the phrase really imply? More importantly, what can we, as members of a developed, net food exporting nation do to help? Monday, May 21, 2013 marked the second annual World Affairs Council of Atlanta’s Global Health & Hunger Summit. The summit focused on issues related to world hunger by presenting the thoughts and opinions of some of the best and brightest individuals in the realm of public health, public policy, and industry leaders whose line of work revolves around providing food to our planet.
United States, Georgia state Senator Johnny Isakson, led the opening discussion. Mr. Isakson explained that providing food to developing countries is much more than demonstrating The United States’ generosity and dedication towards helping people in need. Providing food security is not only an act of aid, but a matter of national security. Senator Isakson highlighted that terrorist organizations target the, “Hungry, Ignorant, and Thirsty” to strengthen their forces. Thus, providing food serves not only to make a healthier world, but also a safer one. That’s a fact that is often forgotten when world hunger is discussed; however, intuitively, it makes a great deal of sense.
The Atlanta Summit on Global Health & Hunger also emphasized the importance of child nutrition. The speakers endorsed the introduction of micro-nutrients into children’s diets to prevent stunting, the implementation of plans and educational tools for pregnant women in developing nations, and using cash and vouchers to feed hungry families across the world. This differs from the previously used method of shipping supplies directly to the people in need. Possible solutions were offered that might help to reduce the problem of child malnutrition: investing in female education, providing supplements to children in developing nations, and most importantly engaging the national government of the country in need.
As a member of the audience, it became clear that something was missing. Certainly, research facilities, non-profit organizations, and publicly funded medical institutes are absolutely crucial in assuaging world hunger; yet, part of the entire picture remained unpainted. A developing nation needs economic catalysts to foster sustainable food security systems within their own communities as well as for the global economy. This can be to provide them with the equipment, means of communication, income, and infrastructure necessary for growth to occur. There was only one actor in my mind that is capable of conducting this feat: corporations. The Collaborations Across Sectors- Successes and Challenges panel discussed the connections between corporations, research foundations, public agencies, and non-profit organizations to the overall picture of solving world hunger.
Corporations such as AGCO, UPS, and the Coca-Cola Company invest in emerging markets to support, and often times facilitate the country’s growth. Eric Raby, AGCO’s VP of Global Marketing and Commercial Development shared the panel with the Coca-Cola Company’s Denise McKnight (Global Sustainable Agriculture Director), Eduardo Martinez (President, UPS Foundation), and Jeff Johnson ( President, Birdsong Peanuts Company) to discuss the successes and challenges associated with collaborating efforts across sectors in developing nations. Conducting operations in foreign lands—especially in developing nations—is never an easy task. One of the issues revolves around coordinating efforts with the local population. For an operation to work, every affected party needs to be involved. It is for this reason that AGCO purchased a farm in Lusaka, Zambia. The farm will serve as one of AGCO’s Global Learning Centers and Future Farms. It will educate, acclimate, and spread best-practice knowledge to the members of the local community. Mr. Raby concluded with, “Success will be longer when you involve the people already inhabiting a place.”
World Hunger is a serious issue. Almost a billion children and adults in the world are victims of hunger and malnutrition. The Atlanta Summit on Global Health & Hunger highlighted that it will take coordinating the efforts of everyone—the non-profit groups, members of academia, public policy legislators, members of local communities, and corporations—to truly make a difference. AGCO has demonstrated its commitment to helping ease the problem of world hunger, and plans to continue in the future.
Africa Industrialization day strives to bring global media awareness to the challenges that face Africa’s progression towards becoming a more industrialized nation. In 1989, the United Nations general assembly proclaimed November 20th as Africa Industrialization Day. The observation of this day is managed by The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO is heavily invested in assisting Africa with its continued development of new technology, infrastructure, and mechanization.
As we explore ways to support our growing population, many believe that Africa may hold the key to finding a solution. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 15% of the world’s arable land is located in Africa. As of today, it is estimated that 86% of this land remains unutilized. However, through training in efficient farming practices and technology, farmers in Africa can be enabled manage this fertile land. In order for professional farming to succeed in Africa, governments and members of the private sector must work together and invest in Africa’s future.
AGCO understands the potential solutions that Africa may provide in our mission to address global food scarcity. That is why we are committed to investing USD 100 million for the development of Africa’s agriculture. AGCO’s Zambia model farm and training center will teach general mechanization to small and medium scale farmers, and provide training to large scale farmers on how to operate high specification tractors. Jason Burbidge, our General Manager of AGCO Zambia, states that “While there is no one solution to address food production and food security, AGCO is right at the heart of a sustained and carefully planned effort, developing capabilities that will help ensure farmers know how to produce food efficiently and responsibly.”
There is no doubt that growing Africa’s agricultural sector will be challenging. Earlier this year, AGCO hosted its first Africa Summit. Discussions took place about the challenges facing Africa’s agriculture, and ideas for managing them were shared. We look forward to reporting back on the progress that we and our partners have made for Africa’s agriculture.
Africa’s population grows towards 2 billion people, it is evident that further industrialization and development in agricultural must take place for the country to sustain itself. In order for this to happen, commitments must be made by governments and organizations globally. Learn more about AGCO’s contribution to sustainable development in the 2011 AGCO Sustainability report (page 41).