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DISCussions: Beloit, Kansas Hosts European Visitors

On 25 May 2011, AGCO Challenger dealers hosted nearly twenty customers from  Germany and Austria to a rain-soaked visitBeloit Visitors in Kansas, USA.  The visitors were part of the Challenger Tour 2011 to experience farming operations in the United States and see first-hand how AGCO farm equipment is produced.  After landing in Chicago, USA the group visited a farm in Iowa.  During their stopover in Minnesota they toured the AGCO Jackson facility. They spent the night in Kansas City, Kansas before arriving in Beloit.  A tour of AGCO Hesston and of a Wichita, Kansas grain elevator completed their North America journey.

The schedule of events in Beloit included a barbeque lunch, plant tour and farm visit.   As anyone knows who lives in, or regularly visits, the Plains States region, weather plays a large factor in outdoor activities.  This trip was no exception.

Beloit Visitors

Watching a computer-aided welding demonstration during plant tour.

The week prior, Kansas fields were dangerously dry.  On the day the guests were to be at a farm site, it was still raining from the previous stormy night.  Consequently, the barbeque was moved indoors and the plant tour took a little extra time.  Eventually, there was enough of a break in the rain to stop by one local farm west of Beloit.

The group was able to look at the machinery and “talk shop” comparing farming practices.

Engineering Manager, Rye DeGarmo had this to say, “the highlight of the trip was the farmer-to-farmer discussion.  Both the local and European farmers were interested in each others’ farming practices, especially yield amounts and fertilizer usage. Farmers from both continents were surprised to find the numbers of large farms are growing in a very similar fashion to their own — but on opposite sides of the world.”

What is considered a large farm where you live?

Jo Herian: DISCussions

“Toto, I’m not in Kansas anymore”.Jo Herian

It is amazing how this blog can take me from Kansas to the world — and bring the world to Kansas.  Glad you could stop by for a visit!  Contrary to popular belief, Kansas is not flat {a motorcycle out of gas will confirm that fact}; we like barbeque; and working hard/ playing hard is a way of life.

Wheat harvest is June when it’s hot and windy.  Beans and milo are cut in the fall around frosts, rains and snows.

And in the middle of it all is AGCO located in Beloit, Kansas with a satellite plant in Cawker City, Kansas.

AGCO Beloit’s website www.sunflowermfg.com tells the plant’s history and details the Sunflower branded product lines.  This transplanted city girl has the privilege of visiting with you about the happenings at AGCO Beloit and the area farm community.

My name is Jo Herian and have worked at the Beloit plant over 20 years.  Please join me and let’s put some gravel in our travels.

AGCO Employees Making a Difference

The following post was submitted by Jo Herian at AGCO’s Beloit, Kansas facility:

AGCO’s core values include Team Spirit and Accountability.  These values are never more evident than at AGCO’s Beloit and Cawker City, Kansas, USA facilities before the annual ‘Relay for Life’ fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

AGCO employees support Relay for Life

AGCO employees in Beloit, Kansas support Relay for Life

Our Sunflower team has supported the Relay for Life for more than fifteen consecutive years.  Funds raised do not come from the community nor the company, but from the pockets of AGCO’s 300 employees.  Over the past five years, the average amount contributed is $5,500 (USD) and they are on target to exceed that goal this year!

Whenever possible, FUN goes into the FUNdraisers. This year Kirk Cool, AGCO Supervisor, has agreed to cut his hard-earned ponytail for ‘Locks of Love’ if the goal in the “hair fund” is met.  Scissors are ready!

Spaghetti meals, bake sales, motorcycle poker runs, homemade quilts and tickets to major league baseball games have all encouraged employee generosity.  One of the most popular prizes is a designated Relay for Life parking spot.

Monies for the American Cancer Society count in the fight against cancer.  But what really counts is the heart of AGCO Sunflower employees who give of their time and money because they BELIEVE.  They believe one day cancer can be controlled and there can be more birthdays.

Does your community support Relay for Life? How do you get people engaged?

Sunflower Manufacturing

I attended a fantastic class yesterday hosted by AGCO’s own Seeding and Tillage expert, Bob Boelsen,  and I learned so much! For example: did you know that Sunflower has over 140 models and sizes available, making it the broadest line of seeding and tillage equipment available? Check out the video below to see our Beloit manufacturing site where our Sunflower implements are made:

Do you use Sunflower seeding or tillage equipment? Where is your farm located and what are the conditions in your area right now?

Kayla’s Farm Life Lesson #6: A Time for Rest

Once again, in case this is your first visit to the AGCO blog, it is my pleasure to introduce you to AGCO’s Blog Contest winner: Kayla Ferris from Texas USA.  Her “farm life lessons” have been very popular so we asked her to guest blog for us occasionally.  You can check out her latest life lesson below:

Farm Life Lesson 6:  A Time for Rest

I was working on stuffing in the last box of decorations into the closet.  The Christmas gifts had been unwrapped, the stockings un-stuffed, and the tree un-decorated.  I leaned against the door, willing it closed for another year.  And ever so slowly I sank down to the floor.  It had been a wonderful Christmas…but I was exhausted.  I really do love the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  I love all the fun activities and family gatherings, but come January, I am ready for a break!

You know…it reminds me of our fields.  All summer long those fields work at growing our crops.  Then comes the busy fall harvest and the field work that prepares the soil bed for next year’s crop.  But oh, the winter!  That is when our fields get their much needed rest.  It is a time for the natural break down to take place.  Last years stalks decompose, adding nutrients to the soil.  The winter snows collect and melt, building a water profile and adding nitrogen.  The dirt clods soften up, getting the soil composition just right for spring planting.  This time of rest is vital to next year’s crop.  My grandpa was a dry land farmer.  Field rest is so important with dry land farming. Grandpa discovered early in his career that by setting up a crop rotation, he was able to increase his yield, sometimes double.  Those fields needed a break!

I believe in working hard.  In fact, I love working hard.  But sometimes, a little rest is called for.  Appropriate even.  Maybe it even makes us more productive.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to grab my mug of hot chocolate and my garden seed catalog.  I’m thinking I could use a little break.

What do you do to take a break in the “off” season?

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