AGCO names 2019 Sowing Good Deeds Winner

AGCO Corporation recently announced the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Committee, of Santa Maria, Calif., as the 2019 Sowing Good Deeds award winner. AGCO’s Sowing Good Deeds program, in its third year, showcases rodeo committees throughout North America and the positive impact they have in their local communities. The winner is announced each year during the PRCA Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

“Most people don’t realize how much rodeo committees throughout the country give back to their local communities. That’s why AGCO brands Massey Ferguson and Hesston created the Sowing Good Deeds program,” said Darren Parker, director of marketing communications and Massey Ferguson at AGCO. “We want to showcase their tireless devotion to the sport and the many contributions and services they provide youth, elderly and others in need within their hometowns.”

As part of the award, AGCO, a longtime sponsor of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association through its Hesston and Massey Ferguson brands, will award a Massey Ferguson tractor valued at more than $50,000 to the Santa Maria Rodeo Committee. The Massey Ferguson model 4710 with loader, which will replace the rodeo’s 30-year-old tractor, will be presented in Santa Maria later in December.

“Winning this award is the culmination of what has been a Cinderella story for our rodeo,” said Peter Sterling, president of the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Committee. “The relentless dedication and commitment of our rodeo family in Santa Maria has put an entirely new face on the Santa Maria PRCA Rodeo. We have a first-class facility and have been honored to host events such as the CBS Wrangler Champions Challenge. Winning this award is due entirely to the commitment and creativity of our team and the more than 500 volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year. This award proves determination and hope pay off.”

In addition to holding four rodeo performances, Santa Maria Elks also offer the Elks Minetti Mini Rodeo attended by 6,000 third graders from throughout the community as an opportunity to help them learn about rodeo, the western way of life and agriculture. The Elks Rodeo queen contest has given more than $13 million to youth recreation programs and facilities throughout the Santa Maria community, and the annual Golden Circle of Champions project was created to bring awareness to childhood cancer. Each year, the Santa Maria Rodeo brings 25 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to the rodeo for special activities. The Golden Circle program is now showcased among the programs at the WNFR. In 2019, the Santa Maria rodeo raised a record $800,000 for charitable causes during its four-day run.

“The PRCA was excited when AGCO approached us in 2017 about the Sowing Good Deeds award program to reward and recognize one of our deserving rodeo committees each year,” said George Taylor, CEO of the PRCA. “We are very happy for the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Committee. Their scrappy determination, bold marketing and fearless commitment to trying new things has revived the Santa Maria rodeo. Today it is a model for committees throughout the country and an example of a rodeo community that truly embodies the rodeo spirit.”

A committee of judges selected by AGCO and the PRCA evaluated the applicants based on three key criteria: community impact, innovation and overcoming adversity. These criteria highlight work that improves the local community, exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship within the non-profit sector, and has initiated change or responded to significant challenges to build a stronger more sustainable organization.

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AGCO names 2019 Operator of the Year

AGCO Corporation, a worldwide distributor and manufacturer of agricultural equipment with facilities in Hesston, names Mose Middleton of Nutrien Ag Solutions in Rochester, Ind., the 2019 Operator of the Year. The award recognizes professional operators for their hard work and commitment to their customers and their local communities. This is the 14th year for the industry award sponsored by AGCO.

Middleton, a professional applicator for more than 30 years, applies on 33,000 acres per year. He credits the people he meets as one of the best parts of the job.

“I like to stop and talk to the farmers when I am applying,” Middleton said. “The farmers I meet are good people and just like me. I want them to succeed, which helps me be successful as well. I love to see that what I’ve done makes a difference at the end of day. I enjoy my job and meeting all the people is the most rewarding thing about it.”

He believes if you do your job to the best of your ability and are honest with people, the rest takes care of itself.

“Mose is a great example for our new applicators,” said Curt Kline, Nutrien sales manager, who nominated Middleton for the award. “He is the first one to arrive and the last one to leave during the busy season. This sets the expectation for our younger applicators, many of whom Mose has trained.”

Middleton credits machinery with helping him be one of the best at his job. Advances in technology, from covered cabs to precision application, help Middleton ensure he is applying products exactly where they need to be.

“I have children and grandchildren, so being responsible with products is important to me,” Middleton said. “Looking to the future, I would want someone to be precise when they apply, so I make sure I am precise. Today’s equipment makes that much easier than in the past.”

A sports enthusiast, Middleton has coached many local school and Little League teams. He also helps at the state hospital, playing sports with the patients. His willingness to volunteer and his passion for life has made Middleton well known in the Rochester community.

Middleton was presented with his title and grand prize, a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, on Dec. 4 during the 2019 Agricultural Retailers Association Conference & Expo in New Orleans.