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Antarctica2 – For Those Who Dare to Dream

Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), has celebrated the launch of an ambitious mission to drive a tractor to the Geographical South Pole, the fulfillment of a dream for a Dutch theatre maker that also aims to inspire others to dare to dream.

Antarctica2 follows in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary, who drove a specially adapted Ferguson TE20 to the South Pole in 1958.

Richard Markwell - Vice President & Managing Director Massey Ferguson EAME handover the key to Manon, Tractor Girl

Richard Markwell – Vice President & Managing Director Massey Ferguson EAME handover the key to Manon, Tractor Girl

But the 2014 mission, which departs Cape Town on 15th September for the 2350km journey, has enlisted the help of leading industry partners to take a wheeled tractor to Antarctica for the first time.

The MF 5610, modified by the engineering team at AGCO’s Beauvais tractor plant, will be driven by Manon Ossevoort, better known as Tractor Girl, who has already driven a tractor from her childhood home in the Netherlands to South Africa.

“It was my dream to drive a tractor to the end of the world, and I was inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary’s mission,” Manon explains, “I found that along the way my journey inspired other people to talk about their own dreams, so I set about collecting these dreams with the goal of taking them to the South Pole with me.”

When her original mission – which was undertaken largely with only local support –ended with Manon unable to make the final leg to Antarctica, she remained convinced that she had to finish it. She approached Massey Ferguson via its distributor in Holland, Mechatrac, and was assured of the company’s commitment to help her follow her dreams.

Support for Antarctica2 will be provided by partners including Massey Ferguson, Trelleborg, Castrol, AGCO Finance, AGCO Parts and Fuse Technologies. There are still opportunities for additional partners to join this exciting project, which will reach a global audience.

Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director of Massey Ferguson EAME,who handed over the keys to the MF 5600 to Manon in a special ceremony at Beauvais, said: “I congratulate our Engineering Project Manager Olivier Hembert and his team, who worked in their spare time, along with AGCO Power in Finland, to adapt the tractor for conditions that are probably the toughest in the world.”

“As John F Kennedy said about the mission to the moon in 1962 – ‘We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’ This is Massey Ferguson, wanting to take on a challenge and work in the spirit to achieve not only easy things, but challenging things. On behalf of AGCO and the full team of sponsors, I wish Manon and her straightforward, dependable MF 5610 a safe and exciting journey to the South Pole.”

Expedition specialists Arctic Trucks will provide guidance and safety support with the help of two Toyota four- and six-wheel drive pick-up trucks, and has worked closely with Trelleborg and Massey Ferguson to develop tyre technology for the mission.

Gudmundur Gudjonsson, Arctic Trucks Project Manager for Antarctica explains: “Tyres are more efficient than tracks in this kind of expedition, being capable of higher forward speeds and using less fuel. They also provide suspension, which is beneficial to the environment as well as the vehicle and the driver.”

Under Arctic Trucks guidance, MF 5600 tractors have undergone extensive cold weather testing, while the expedition team has received polar training, including guidance from seasoned polar explorers Matty McNair and her daughter Sarah McNair-Landry who will be key team members for Antarctica2.

A technical support specialist and former Massey Ferguson photographic specialist Simon Foster complete the team.

The expedition will call on not only the straightforward and dependable engineering of the MF 5610 to endure temperatures down to minus 40deg centigrade, altitude of 3400m and deep, soft snow, but also AGCO’s impressive parts and technical capability.

Up to 1000kg of parts will be carried on the mission, a twice daily maintenance regime adhered to, and the Agcommand™ telematics system will relay performance information back to a 24 hour support team in Beauvais.

The latest broadcast and social media technology will also be employed in stark contrast to when Sir Edmund Hillary’s arrival at the South Pole was marked by at telegram of thanks to Harry Ferguson. Live streaming and regular updates via a dedicated website will keep the rest of the world in touch with the mission’s progress.When the MF 5610, with its Tractor Girl and her cargo of dreams on board, arrives at the South Pole around 7th December, it will be a testimony to the work of all the partners in the Antarctica2 project and their tireless commitment to its message – #BelieveInIt

Massey Ferguson Children’s Character “Little Grey Fergie” Opens a Dedicated Attraction at Norway Theme Park

The Land of the Little Grey Fergie  – Gråtassland – opened in grand style in Stavanger Norway on 4 June.

This fantastic brand-new attraction area at the Kongeparken in Stavanger is a celebration of the children’s character ‘Little Grey Fergie’ (Gråtass) which is based on an original Ferguson TE 20 tractor. Over the last 20 years the original story of his adventures, written by Morten Myklebust, has grown into two feature film hits, a TV series, several stage shows and DVDs, plus a brand-new production filmed in England which is available on the itnernet and features a full-size live-action tractor.

Photo Kjersti R. DolvikUltra-modern technology has been employed at Kongeparken, one of Scandinavia’s foremost theme parks, to ensure Little Grey Fergie comes to life for visitors. “It’s like walking into the movie!” says Håkon Lund, CEO of Kongeparken.

Visitors will be welcomed by the character himself and will also be able to meet the animals on the farm at the petting zoo. An exciting tractor ride takes visitors through the captivating story of Little Grey Fergie and his friends. There are also play tractors and an old country store. Bringing things right up to date, there is the chance to experience one of the very latest Massey Ferguson tractors especially adjusted for kids.

Massey Ferguson Norwegian dealer – Eiksenteret – and the dealership chain are key partners in this exciting new project along with Fantasifabrikken A/S, the production company behind Gråtass.

With the opening of Gråtassland in Stavanger, the Ferguson TE 20 is effectively returning to its origins in Norway. More than 60 years ago not far from the town, Christian Eik started to import the tractor into the country from England. His pioneering work played an important part in laying the foundations for mechanised agriculture in Norway.

“As importers of Massey Ferguson today, we want to make sure that the history of the Little Grey Fergie is embraced, along with the Massey Ferguson brand name,” says Trond Kjempekjenn, General Sales Manager, AGCO Norway/ Eikmaskin a/s. “We have a very good partnership with Kongeparken – Fergie is in the best hands. Gråtassland will be a great place for the whole family to enjoy. Fergie has many fans both in Norway and abroad. Children and grown-ups alike can now share their fun with him as he returns ‘home’ to Stavanger.”

Find out more on Gråtassland at www.kongeparken.no
You can watch the live-action series at www.littlegreyfergie.com

London Premiere For Little Grey Fergie

Thursday 17 October at London’s Soho Hotel sees the first screening of the brand-new children’s series ‘Little Grey Fergie’ featuring the adventures of a full-size, live-action Ferguson TE20 tractor.

MFLittleFergiefilminginUK photoFilmed on location at a Warwickshire farm, this new show is an English version of the popular Norwegian children’s story and TV series ‘Gråtass’. Over the last 15 years, the original story has grown like topsy with not only the TV series but two feature film hits, nine theatrical productions, several more books, DVDs and spin-off articles.

Aimed at pre-school kids, the new adventures of Little Grey Fergie are set on a farm near Coventry in England in the present day with English farm animals, settings and characters.

Production company, Farmyard Stories shot the series on a farm not far from Massey Ferguson’s UK Sales operations at Abbey Park Stoneleigh and only 20 km from the site of the original Coventry factory where the TE20s were built between 1946 and 1956.

A new star for the series is a shiny red, ultra-modern MF 7600 which adds 21st century tractor power to the narrative. Creator of the programmes, Morten Mycklebust is very excited about the launch of the new series. “Massey Ferguson is one of the world’s most recognised brands,” he remarks. “We’re really pleased that our films are giving a completely new generation of youngsters the opportunity to learn about and enjoy the brand and its history.”

“We fully support the development of the Little Grey Fergie character,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Brand Development Manager. “The stories are captivating and we’re sure kids and their families will love him.”

The films have no dialogue – the tales are told through action, sound effects and music – so they will be understood all over the world. You can watch the first adventure at www.littlegreyfergie.com from 18 October.

Charity Tractor Convoy to Conquer Morecambe Sands

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A convoy of vintage red and grey Massey Ferguson tractors is to cross the hazardous sands of the UK’s Morecambe Bay in a charity run to raise money for Diabetes UK.

Led by retired Massey Ferguson employee Bob Dickman, up to 20 tractors will make the 17 mile (27 km) fully-guided return trip on 2 June.

81-year-old Bob, who retired in 1995, spent 40 years working for Massey Ferguson culminating in his role as Export Service Manager. He will be driving a fully reconditioned 1954 Ferguson TEF 20 tractor across the sands.

Helping to raise money for Diabetes UK, former Massey Ferguson employee, Bob Dickman is leading a vintage tractor drive across Morecambe Bay in his 1954 Ferguson TEF 20.

Helping to raise money for Diabetes UK, former Massey Ferguson employee, Bob Dickman is leading a vintage tractor drive across Morecambe Bay in his 1954 Ferguson TEF 20.

“A similar crossing was undertaken by Land Rovers some years ago but this is the first time for tractors,” he says. “I am  raising money for a Diabetes UK Type 1 research project after seeing the impact the disease has had on the lives of family and friends.”

Massey Ferguson is supporting the event with the supply of raffle prizes including an all-expenses-paid trip to its tractor factory in Beauvais, France.

Bob’s mission has also attracted the support of some of his former Massey Ferguson colleagues now retired including Glynn Patrick who was Managing Director of European Distribution and Gordon Graham, previously General Sales Manager Eastern Europe. Glynn will be behind the wheel of his family farm’s refurbished 1968 MF 135 and Gordon will be assisting with the logistics of the event. Other ex-Massey Ferguson employees will be among the spectators.

At low tide which occurs at 1.45pm on 2 June, the notorious Morecambe Bay in northwest England exposes 120 square miles (310 sq km) of sand and flats. To ensure the safest route across the bay, Steve Morris, another key organiser of the tractor convoy, worked closely with a father and son team of experienced guides who use their own tractors to fish Morecambe Bay sands.

The guided crossing, which starts and finishes at Cark Airfield near Flookburgh is expected to take three to four hours. Four- year-old Neev Renton from Cumbria who suffers from Type 1 diabetes will set the tractors off at 12 noon.

Anyone interested in sponsoring or watching the event can visit: www.justgiving.com/bobdickmanMF-fergusontractorroadrun

To the Pole . . . by Massey Ferguson Tractor!

Reliability is always high on the priority list when shopping around for new farm machinery. Here is a story based on some extreme conditions that you probably won’t face in your everyday life, but truly demonstrates the necessity to purchase a reliable machine . . .

On January 4 1958, driving trusty Ferguson TE20 ‘Fergie’ tractors, Sir Edmund Hillary and his team became the first overland explorers to reach the South Pole since Captain Scott’s expedition in 1912, and the first EVER to do so using mechanised vehicles.

In his now famous telegram he told the ‘Massey-Harris- Ferguson Farming Company’:

“Despite quite unsuitable conditions of soft snow and high altitudes our Fergusons performed magnificently and it was their extreme reliability that made our trip to the Pole possible. Stop. Thank you for your good wishes = Hillary”

At the time the press described this as the ‘The Last Great Journey in the World’, although the expedition’s official title was The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58. Led by Englishman Sir Vivian Fuchs its aim was to be the first to cross the continent overland while gathering scientific data.

Fuchs’ plan was to make the journey from each side of the continent with teams including men from Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Sir Edmund Hillary sent a telegram to the company praising the performance of the TE20 tractors.

Hillary led the New Zealand team and their primary role was to set up depots and stash supplies of fuel, food and equipment in a line towards the Pole.

It was this supply work, which first brought Hillary into contact with the Ferguson TE20s. The tractor had already established itself a good Antarctic reputation in 1954 when one tractor worked for 565 hours without the need for a single repair after arriving on the continent on February 13 in temperatures of -10° C.

So when faced with unloading and transporting 500 tonnes of stores across 16 km from the ship to his base camp it is not surprising Hillary turned again to the Fergie: “For unloading the ship it was necessary, of course, to have vehicles. Our problem was overcome by the generosity of Massey-Harris- Ferguson in the UK and their agents in C.B. Norwood in New Zealand. These firms lent us five Ferguson tractors modified to operate in snow conditions,” he wrote.

They were fitted with full tracks and painted red (as opposed to the normal Ferguson grey) to make them easier to spot in the snow.

Hillary’s journey across Antarctica traversed deep crevasses in the snow and ice. Eventually the team reached Depot 700 on 15 December 1957 – despite nearly losing a tractor down a crevasse. It (and its driver) was only saved by the roll-bar jamming against the wall of the ice and holding the vehicle up.

On reaching this destination Hillary commented: “Our Ferguson’s had brought us over 1250 miles (2000 km) of snow and ice, crevasses, soft snow and blizzard to be the first vehicles to drive to the South Pole.”

One of the actual Ferguson TE20s (named ‘Sue’ by the team) that was used on this remarkable expedition is now in the Massey Ferguson Technology Centre in Beauvais, France.

What extreme conditions do you put your tractor through?