Before the end of 2011, high horsepower Challenger and Massey Ferguson wheeled tractors will roll off the line at the AGCO factory in Jackson, Minn. The announcement was made by AGCO officials at their national dealer meeting in early January.
“This announcement actually kicked off our meeting,” says Bob Crain, Senior Vice President and General Manager for AGCO North America. “This is one of the many things our company is doing to get closer to the North American customer and dealer.”
Crain says the manufacturing move will provide two services to the North American dealer and farmer: more specific configurations and shorter delivery times from the factory. Previously, the Challenger MT600C Series and Massey Ferguson 8600 Series had a minimum of 30 to 60 days for delivery from Beauvais, France.
The manufacturing footprint in Jackson will be expanded by 75,000 sq. ft. Currently, this factory produces Challenger track and articulated four-wheel-drive tractors in addition to application equipment, including floaters and self-propelled sprayers.
“This facility has an approximate 50 year history manufacturing agricultural equipment,” Crain says. “Just about everyone at that factory is tied to agriculture and you can’t put a price on what that means to have every employee understand the expectation of our customer and dealers.”
The public announcement was made on Jan. 27 in Jackson. More than 1,000 people attended including the factory employees and local and state government officials.
The factory employee total is expected to rise by approximately 100 employees after the expansion is complete. In addition to the manufacturing footprint increasing, there will be a 17,000 sq. ft. visitor’s center constructed on site.
The Jackson business began in 1963 when Ag-Chem Equipment was founded as a distributor of spraying equipment. AGCO acquired Ag-Chem in 2001.
“This is just one example of the company’s continued commitment to success in serving the North American market,” Crain says. “As a company, we’re making record high capital investments, and our research and development budget as a percentage of sales is industry-leading for many products. In a recent meeting with customers and dealers, someone said to me, “This isn’t my father’s AGCO,” and I took that as a compliment.”