Posts Tagged ‘Canada’
Time has stopped, he’s in the zone and on autopilot.
Body is square to the jump, knees bent as he pops up and off at 25 mph. Flying high into the air, body twisting, contorting in different directions at once—gazing skyward, blind to the ground and seemingly out of control.
Air squeezes puffs of snow spray out as the board and rider land as one, straight and true. The jump is nailed.
Mitch Keet says he still revels in the feeling of when he has nailed a landing, or “stomped it,” even thousands of successful jumps later. “It feels so good. You just know that your hard work has paid off,” he says.
Growing up on the family poultry and grain farm amid the Canadian prairies, snow-covered mountains and big bodies of water are not exactly something in Mitch’s backyard. The nearest ski hill is more than 100 miles away, and the closest lake about the same distance. Old-fashioned rural ingenuity brought the altitude and wet stuff to the farm near Grandora, Saskatchewan.
During the winter, one of the family’s Massey Ferguson® tractors scoops and pushes snow together to build a small jump beside the poultry barns. An elongated pond of water was dug behind those same barns for summer wakeboarding. With his father, Derick, at the throttle, a homespun, carnival ride-sized winch pulls Mitch through his practice maneuvers for both wakeboarding and snowboarding. He can do more jumps in an hour than he can in a whole day on the natural slopes or water.
Mitch’s wakeboard achievements include being named Saskatchewan Rookie of the Year in 2011 and the Most Improved in 2012. He won gold at the provincials in 2013. Mitch has also achieved membership on Canada’s National Development Team.
Mitch gives much of the credit for his work ethic and the confidence to pull off his amazing areal stunts because he’s been so grounded through his experiences on the farm. The Keet family’s 600-acre farm, Double D Poultry, was started by Mitch’s grandfather David. Derick took over much of the day-to-day work of running the family farm the year Mitch was born.
Every eight weeks they ship 100,000 broiler chickens for processing to the nearby city of Saskatoon. Derick and David handle most of the work using their fleet of Massey Ferguson tractors. Mitch, however, can be counted on to handle a daily list of chores. “I go through the barns and pick up chickens, and when the birds go out, I’ll clean barns and spread straw and dump feed and spread manure, and harvest and combine for long days in the fall,” says Mitch.
While Mitch has his sights set on making the National Pro Team and competing at the world championships, he wants to do it his way. “The farm is the best; it’s open, it’s nice here all year round. And,” he continues, as if divulging the secret ingredient to his success, “the farm, it taught me skills and working, and that kind of stuff. I’ve got a good family, so I don’t want to go anywhere,” he says.
Mitch said being raised on the farm with chores and parents who take the time to teach him has made him both tougher and definitely more confident. “I’ll always remember that my dad taught me how to drive a tractor. He taught me how to drive the combine. My father’s confidence in me makes me very much more confident.”
And that attribute, says Mitch, is a big reason for his success, in boarding as it is in life.
On the morning of June 20, Les Smith went into work at Farmway Machinery as usual. No one—not even meteorologists watching the storm systems that were uniquely aligning—anticipated what would happen later that day.
Record-breaking rainfall coupled with snowmelt in the mountains, unexpected wind patterns and large, converging weather systems created an unprecedented storm. With the ground already saturated, the Highwood River, which runs through the town of High River in Alberta, Canada, had nowhere else to go but up and out.
At 7:05 a.m., officials called a state of emergency. First responders did their best to evacuate those stranded by the waters, but by noon traditional rescue vehicles—even boats—could not navigate the swift current of the overflowing river.
“One of the firefighters came up and said they needed something to rescue people from across the street,” says Smith, a combine mechanic for the local Massey Ferguson® dealer. “The tractor they were using was no good because the engine was too low and it was getting water in it. They needed a vehicle with the engine high up.”
Smith, along with other Farmway personnel, including owner Hugh Joyce, waded through waist-deep floodwaters to three Massey Ferguson combines. “The combines are heavy, and they were able to stabilize and not get washed away,” Joyce says. Since the combine’s engine is 12 feet up in the air, it was impervious to the rising water.
The Farmway team, shuttling flood victims in the combine cabs and hoppers, continued their efforts until 10 p.m., when Canadian Forces arrived. Smith estimated that the combines rescued about 1,000 people. “It doesn’t take long to make the decision in that kind of emergency,” Joyce says. “We were trying to do anything we could to help.”
Pets were loaded up too. Children rode in the heated cab. “They were in awe,” Smith says. “We had all the lights in the cab blinking to keep them entertained and distracted from what was going on outside. They loved it.”
Dr. John Varty, a professor who taught agriculture and environmental history courses through the MacMillan Center at Yale University, is setting out to chronicle how and why agriculture production has changed in Canada as farmers work to meet the demands of an increasing global population. As Varty travels across the country, driving a Massey Ferguson 1660 compact tractor, he will explore a variety of agriculture-related subjects, from the enduring family farm to the new generation of farmers to food production and land-use changes. The trip will be filmed, and the footage used to produce a documentary. Varty will depart June 30 from Atlantic Tractors and Equipment Ltd., the Massey Ferguson dealership in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
“There have been a fair number of books and documentaries released in recent years that explore how food is produced,” explains Varty. “There are two poles of thought that much of this literature would have us believe. The first is the idea that our food is right on the edge of becoming nonexistent via corporate involvement. And, on the other end of that scale there seems to be this type of white-knight story, where someone is supposed to ride in and save us all. The truth of the matter is that the majority of farmers in Canada are still working out of a family unit, and I want to talk with these farmers to learn more about the challenges they face each day.”
Massey Ferguson, which is sponsoring the tractor ride, has a deep connection to Canadian agriculture, dating back more than 150 years. In 1847, Daniel Massey opened a small workshop to build farm implements in Newcastle, Ontario. Ever since then, Massey Ferguson has been a pioneer in the agriculture equipment industry, developing innovative equipment that farmers count on to help overcome the obstacles and challenges they encounter in the field. And, although a lot has changed in agriculture since 1847, one thing hasn’t: the tremendous pride the Massey Ferguson brand has in its Canadian heritage.
“What Dr. Varty is undertaking is truly a unique project in every sense of the word. Given our Canadian history, it made perfect sense to get involved with this effort,” says Rajesh Joshi, director of marketing at Massey Ferguson. “It’s not every day you hear about an individual who wants to hit the road to connect with farmers to better understand who they are, what they do and how they work. It’s just as much our responsibility as it is anyone else’s in agriculture to help consumers understand how and why the industry has evolved.”
During the tractor ride, Varty will visit more than 20 Massey Ferguson dealerships throughout Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.
As Varty travels from town to town, he will make additional stops that coincide with local events, such as art festivals, music festivals, theater festivals and sporting events, among others. At each stop, farmers, food company officials, government representatives, community leaders and university professors will be invited to share their respective thoughts and ideas as they relate to food and food production in Canada.
“Our travels will include a hay wagon featuring a small cabin that replicates a 1950s’-style bungalow to provide us shelter and sleeping quarters,” says Varty. “I’ll conduct the majority of my interviews with people in a seating area on the wagon. While we’re going to invite people on board to share their thoughts and ideas, I also envision some creative uses for the wagon as well, such as inviting a local band to use it as a grandstand. I really don’t know what to expect until we depart from Charlottetown. That’s when all of the experiences, interviews and personal stories we’ll use in the documentary will truly begin.”
Additional amenities on the hay wagon include a freshwater tank and solar-generated electricity for lighting and laptop usage.
Varty’s interest in Canadian agricultural history extends beyond the classroom. He has numerous family members who have carried on the family’s five-generation farm in east-central Ontario. The tractor ride will wind through the back roads of Canada, reaching Leamington, Ontario, Canada, by the end of August.
Do you live in Canada? Are you interested in seeing Dr. Varty during his trip? Visit the website to see a full map of Dr. Varty’s stops, and plan your trip to visit Dr. Varty and the Massey Ferguson tractor. http://www.tractorcanada.com.
Have you ever noticed how true winners seem to find each other and join forces to make things happen? This has been the case for two truly innovative products in Canada – the RoGator® and BASF’s HEAT® herbicide.
Our top-of-the-line self-propelled sprayer and BASF’s innovative new herbicide are enjoying a co-promotion across the western part of Canada. BASF is featuring the RoGator in all of its print advertising, positioning our machine as the applicator of choice for use when applying HEAT herbicide, which features a unique class of chemistry designed for burndown of targeted weeds and grasses for pre-seed and chemfallow applications.
In the first quarter of 2011, BASF held a contest across western Canada in which growers signed up in record numbers to win a one-year lease on a RoGator 1194 self-propelled sprayer and a case of HEAT herbicide.
The prize winner was chosen in April: Gordie Mueller of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, who manages a 3,500-acre farming operation that grows canola, peas, wheat, oats, barley and lentils. As the winner, Mueller gets to use a 1194 Self-Propelled RoGator for one year or 200 hours – whichever comes first, in addition to winning enough BASF HEAT herbicide and MERGE® to treat 640 acres. The total value of the prize is more than $54,000.
Upon winning, Mueller said the prize was a “pretty big shock!” He even added that he was intending to switch to a high-clearance sprayer next year, so this win was an absolutely perfect fit for him.
The RoGator is a common sight across the prairies of Canada, providing application of a wide variety of fertilizers and crop-protection products for wheat, canola and other crops common to that country. With large tracts of land to cover – often when racing the clock to make timely applications in a short timeframe – the RoGator is a natural choice for Canadian farmers and professional applicators alike.
Paired together, the RoGator and HEAT herbicide are simply unbeatable. Check out http://www.applylikeapro.com/AboutUs/Testimonials/ to see what customers are saying about the RoGator and www.agsolutions.ca/heat on BASF’s HEAT Herbicide.
Be on the look out for our next co-promotion. In the meantime – what are some of the winning combinations you’ve put together with your AGCO machines?