In December 2010, when Jose Cantu purchased a pivot system from Valley Irrigation dealer Peerless Equipment Company in San Antonio, Texas, he had no idea that he was also entered into a contest to win a pivot system. Cantu was surprised when, in a Publishers Clearing House–style giveaway, a semi truck delivered the Valley 8000 Series center-pivot system, valued at $72,000, to his farm this past spring.
Surprising Cantu was no easy task. Farm manager Frankie Rihn said that Cantu didn’t plan on being at the farm on April 20, when the prize was to be delivered. So Rihn had to tell Cantu that his "luck was about to change" and he would want to be at the farm.
As the truck pulled in with the pivot, Len Adams, global president of Valley’s corporate parent, Valmont Industries, was there to deliver the prize in person and showed Cantu a video taken at Valmont’s McCook, Neb., facility with members of the manufacturing team expressing their congratulations to the grand-prize winner. The video was presented on an iPad 2, which was part of the winner’s prize.
Also present for the prize delivery from Valley Irrigation were Richard Panowicz, Valley sales director; Doug Dale, Valley sales manager; Jason Hester, Peerless Equipment salesman; and Eduardo Ruiz of the Valmont San Antonio office. Once Cantu realized what he had won, he proceeded to hug those present and expressed his gratitude. He said that he never expected to win this prize, but now that he had won, he would continue to be a loyal customer.
The contest. Valley Irrigation’s All Out Pivot Payout Sweepstakes started in August 2010 and ran through February 2011. Anyone who purchased a center pivot was entered into the sweepstakes or could enter at the dealership. More than 3,500 entries were received.
Jason Hester, a salesman with Peerless Equipment, says that Cantu is a relatively new client. Cantu recently expanded his operation by purchasing a farm near Devine, Texas. Rihn, the previous landowner’s farm manager, stayed on when Cantu purchased the place. Rihn had a relationship with Hester, which helped when Cantu began the process of upgrading some older pivots with Valley center pivots. Cantu is a longtime Valley customer who purchased his first pivot from the company in 1978.
"When Cantu purchased a pivot system in December, he had no idea that he was in the sweepstakes," Hester explains. "A lot of guys didn’t know they were in the drawing. If they didn’t come into the store or read the magazine, they had no idea about the contest. We promoted the contest with signs at the dealership."
At the dealership, being home to the winning pivot will give the sales staff something fun to talk about with customers who come in to buy equipment. With Cantu in the process of upgrading, the win is also good news for Hester. "His winning this pivot is a good deal because there will probably be three or four more on order shortly."
Cantu’s farm consists of approximately 1,800 acres of silage and oats that are used to feed 1,600 head of stocker cattle. The majority of that acreage is irrigated, especially now that South Texas remains under severe drought conditions.
Water Conservation and Drip Irrigation Benefits
With water conservation and nutrient runoff becoming a greater issue in public policy circles, irrigation strategies will become even more important to farmers.
Underground drip irrigation is one method that is catching on with farmers who are expanding corn and soybean ranges in the dry western and northern regions of the U.S. "Our drip irrigation business is growing by 30% a year," says Jan Windscheffel, district sales manager for Netafim. "There are about 60,000 acres in Kansas and Nebraska that are drip irrigated."
Benefits are 95% water efficiency, reduced labor, increased crop yields and fast payback. To learn more about the benefits of drip irrigation, go to www.netafim.com.