Lease program yields Pioneer Farm Case IH equipment machinery: Fleets inspire company president to help budget-stricken UW SystemBy Alyssa Bloechl • May 10, 2012 • Category: Opinions
It is finally that time of year, and all of the students and staff in the School of Agriculture are beginning to think about spring planting preparations. If they go home to their own family farms, work on one or are taking classes related to soils or horticulture, there is one key factor that ensures the crops are seeded. The machinery.
With a little help from some manpower and sunshine, by the time school is out, this part of the state will have fields peppered with green. This includes Pioneer Farm’s fields. For the facility to accommodate the dairy, beef and swine herds, the animals need to eat. But for them to eat, crops need to be planted, fertilized and harvested with brand new top-of-the-line Case International Harvester equipment.
The use of brand new machinery on the Farm didn’t happen by a stroke of luck or by means of copious amounts of funding to purchase the equipment, but by way of a state-regulated lease program. Terms for the program were signed in November 2009, and University of Wisconsin-Platteville became the first university to start this program, which is specifically between Ritchie Implement Inc., Case IH and UW-Platteville. All of the new equipment is brought to the Farm from Ritchie Implement Inc., out of Cobb.
It was while noticing the small amount of Case IH equipment in the UW System fleets that Case IH President Randy Baker got the idea to help out the budget-stricken system by supplying new equipment for the Farm. With the collaboration of UW-Platteville, Ritchie Implement Inc., and Pattie Lardie, Case IH manager of government sales, the agreement was made.
Now, and for the years to follow, the Farm is supplemented with new equipment before it is necessary for use. For example, a new corn planter was just delivered. This gives Justin Daugherty, beef herd enterprise manager, and Pioneer Farm workers time to make sure equipment is prepped and ready for the upcoming planting and harvest seasons.
During the course of the year, when any particular piece of machinery is being used on the Farm, the hours of use are recorded.
“The program allows Ritchie Implement and Case IH to provide machinery to the UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm as long as the equipment is salable in Ritchie
Implement’s marketplace,” said Kevin Depies, salesman for Ritchie Implement, Inc. “Once the university is done with the equipment, it can be marketed locally with a discount for depreciation. This is a win-win for the university, the community, Ritchie Implement and Case IH.”
There are three skid steers, 10 tractors that range from 31 to 350 horsepower, and harvest, tillage, and planting equipment on the Pioneer Farm. Anything that can be used in Southwest Wisconsin can be leased through to the university, but not everything the Farm uses is supplied by Ritchie Implement and Case IH.
There are benefits to using top-of-the-line machinery, other than it making the staff’s lives easier. Quality crops can be planted, grown and harvested, creating high yields of feed for the livestock on the farm, which ultimately results in high-quality dairy, beef and pork products.
Another benefit that the agreement provides is exposure and learning experiences for the students that work on the Pioneer Farm.
“It gives the students the opportunity to run top-of-the-line equipment and learn the newest technologies within the machines,” said Laurel Ballweg, senior animal science major. “This prepares the students for their future after college and allows them to be more well-rounded and experienced individuals.”
Jobs such as hauling bales, planting corn and hauling feed are all things that students have the chance to experience. Daugherty said that some students have experience working with farm equipment, but some have little to no training. Working on the Farm is a hands-on way for agriculture students to create a connection to what farmers do on a daily basis, especially if they are not going to be farming after college.
“They get to be proactive and use technologically advanced equipment that wouldn’t necessarily be on their home farms,” Daugherty said.
All students who are hired are required to take an in-house safety training course along with a Case IH-sponsored farm safety class for all workers.
“I thought the safety training was necessary,” said Ryan Ripp, senior animal science major. “I generally can jump in a tractor and go, but this is a good reminder of how to be safe and to teach others to be safe on the Farm.”
The partnership between UW-Platteville, Case IH and Ritchie Implement is a relationship that gives students, staff and community members the opportunity to learn about the emerging agricultural technologies both on and off the field.