US hospitality for Quadrac owners
Visiting farms, factories and the famed Farm Progress Show in North Dakota and Illinois on the nine-day 2013 USA Case IH Tour of Duty was an exhilarating, eye-opening experience for 45 Steiger and Quadrac tractor owners.
They joined nine dealer staff and three Case IH representatives on the exclusive tour, which gave them access to leading global research while travelling through the US.
The trip was open to customers who ordered a new Steiger or Quadtrac during a designated promotional period.
After visiting the state-of-the-art Steiger production factory in Fargo, North Dakota, New South Wales farmer Peter Ricardo was impressed by Case IH's investment in new technology and design innovation, as well as the new models coming onto the market.
"I was amazed that every tractor is made to order, with such a high attention to detail. And after providing our order number, we could see our tractor was going to be made three days after we were there," he said.
For Victorian farmer Richard Kelly, the farm visits were another highlight.
"It was fascinating to see how other farmers do things. There's a lot of highly productive land in the USA - we drove for three hours and all we saw were cornfields," he said.
"And the farmers we met went out of their way to show us their tractors and equipment. It was all presented like a dealership - their sheds were really impressive, as was how they stored everything out of the cold."
The group was welcomed by the Case IH Global team and also had the chance to meet some Russian farmers at a dinner at Springfield, Illinois.
"It was great to hear how they farm in Russia - there's a big difference in the style and scale of their operations," Mr Kelly said.
A trip to Decatur, Illinois, for the world-famous Farm Progress Show, the US's oldest and largest outdoor farm show, also amazed.
"We had the chance to meet the three engineers who designed the tractor we've ordered," Mr Ricardo said.
While WA farmer John Warr was impressed by the size and depth of the Farm Progress Show, he also returned home with a new view of Australian agriculture.
"Australian farmers and industry are definitely world leaders in terms of innovation and farming systems implemented. I was, however, overwhelmed by the American Government and the public's support for the American farmer, the education available and the importance placed on the industry. I feel this is lacking in Australian agriculture," he said.
But the tour wasn't all business.
"Not only did I leave with a better understanding of American farmers' costs and challenges, but I also made many friendships with Australian farmers that will probably last forever," Mr Warr said.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails