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AGCO Equipment: Tried and True

Like his grandfather, Cody Waters buys Massey Ferguson tractors and serves in the military. These days, Waters, who farms both near his current home in Missouri and also where he was raised in Southern Illinois, owns an MF235, an MF275 and an MF285, in addition to two Gleaner F2 combines and an N6 combine.

“They’re standardized. They’re tough and they’re easy to work on,” he says of his AGCO equipment. “They’re nimble, easy to handle and easy on fuel.”

Waters acknowledges that his older equipment does not come without headaches. Breakdowns can be all the more troublesome for someone who works a full-time job, serves in the National Guard, farms in two states and has a young family. Yet his dealership, Lauf Equipment Co. Inc. in Jefferson City, Missouri, has been a port in the storm when repairs are needed, he says, with high praise for the dealer’s ability to respond quickly to his requests.

Cody Waters

Cody Waters

He buys parts and gets advice from Lauf’s knowledgeable staff. “They usually have the part on hand, and they have a good service department,” he says.

Waters, who’s been deployed overseas twice in his 15-year career with the Army National Guard, helped Afghan farmers improve their farming operations when he served as part of an Agribusiness Development Team. While in that war-torn country, he witnessed an ingenuity similar to farmers back home. He also saw much of the durability and versatility in Massey Ferguson tractors while there.

USAID donated 40-plus-HP tractors, including MF240 models, to help the Afghan farmers. According to Waters, they were a good fit for the Afghan operations because of their “small size, simplicity [and] power.” The Massey Ferguson machines also got points for durability and fuel efficiency in a country where fuel is expensive and trained mechanics are almost impossible to find.

See the full story on Cody Waters at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/veteran-farmers-coming-home/.

Earth & Sky

As a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, David Garfrerick jockeyed a rocket while helping to protect his country. He broke the sound barrier and mastered the art of aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings, piloting a 20-plus-ton jet loaded with ordnance and fuel on and off a football-field-size runway.

“It was a thrill, a challenge,” Garfrerick says, after a little cajoling on the subject. “It’s like being thrown off into the wild, out of control, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Even while flying high, Garfrerick says he’s always been fascinated by something decidedly more down to earth: gardening. While still in the Navy, he raised a variety of vegetables and other plants. “I’ve just always loved growing things and wanted some land to retire on, and bought this land, and just started growing things. It got bigger and bigger,” continues Garfrerick about the property near Alpine, Ala., “and at some point, I guess, I just had to start calling it a farm.”

All told, he and wife Dede own about 200 acres of rolling hills, including 80 acres of timber, 80 acres of pasture for his cattle, and about 5 acres of crops and orchard, from which he grows fruits and vegetables.

His produce and meat have a starring role in his latest “adventure,” a restaurant he owns and runs in Oxford, Ala., about a 45-minute drive from his home and farm. Opened in 2008, the philosophy behind the restaurant, Garfrerick says, is that “fresh, healthy food can be delicious.”

With so many responsibilities, Garfrerick counts on his MF275 to help him get the job done. The MF275 performs a multitude of chores on the 200-acre farm. It’s used to operate a vertical tiller, move hay for cattle, maintain the roads on his land, work a front-end loader, pull a wagon—and that’s just a sampling.

“The Massey is the only thing I’ve ever used, and I find it very convenient,” says Garfrerick. “It’s easy to change out implements and maintain. It just saves a whole lot of physical labor, having a good-size tractor like that.”

It’s also reliable, he says. “We don’t have to do a lot of repair work on it, which is a surprise because it’s old.” Garfrerick, who bought the tractor used, hazards a guess it’s at least 30 years old.

Because of the tractor’s age, maintenance is all the more important. “It’s the only one we own, so it’s critical we keep it running,” he says, adding that his dealer, Bannister Tractor Co., in Oxford, Ala., “keeps me advised on what to do.”

Listen to Garfrerick talk about how his Massey Ferguson helps him grow produce for his restaurant.

“They’re familiar with the parts and the typical things that will solve issues when I need maintenance and repair. And they’re familiar with the preventative maintenance I need to keep up with. They’re just knowledgeable about the tractor itself.

“That’s a huge help for me,” says Garfrerick, noting that, with running a restaurant and farm, he’s got a lot going on. “Taking care of the tractor is one less thing I have to worry about.”

Read more at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/earth-and-sky/.

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