NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — The New Holland Ag marketing folks were going full throttle June 5 and 6 during a two-day news conference for the farm press as well as reporters from construction and landscape media.
A new compact tractor line was featured at the conference, and an expanded role for New Holland Ag dealerships was announced. A partnership with NASCAR on a program to benefit U.S. military personnel was also unveiled.
The conference began Wednesday night with a presentation describing New Holland’s long history, which stretches back to the introduction, in 1896, of a frost-free hit-and-miss engine developed by company founder Abraham Zimmerman.
In 1940, the company bought the rights to an automatic knotter invented by local farmer Ed Nolt, which enabled the company to produce a line of automatic balers and other hay tools that revolutionized haymaking.
In 1947, the company became Sperry New Holland. Then in 1986, Sperry New Holland was bought by Ford, and five years later Fiat bought a majority interest in Ford New Holland.
In 1999, Fiat, which also owned Case IH, merged the two enterprises to form CNH Global. Those are the highlights, but the company history is much more complicated and interesting than that.
Also on Wednesday night’s program was a presentation by Glenn Jacobsen, president of the board of directors of PLANET, a national trade association that represents some 100,000 landscape industry professionals.
Thursday morning’s presentations in New Holland began with a look at the company’s comprehensive line of equipment geared to the landscape and construction industries.
Skid steer loaders and compact wheel loaders, must-haves for many farmers, also got thorough looks.
Two lines of compact tractors — “Don’t call them toys,” was the corporate mantra — got a lot of attention.
But don’t call the Boomer and Workmaster lines “farm tractors,” either. They are “rural lifestyle” tractors, according to Doran Herrit, the company’s marketing manager for tractors with under 60 horsepower engines.
The tractors can mow, dig postholes and operate a rototiller, but they are not designed for heavy-duty production agriculture uses.
And in spite of multiple prompts from a reporter —”Gee, wouldn’t this be a great machine for small-scale producers of vegetables and ornamentals” —neither Herrit nor any of the other marketing execs would endorse that line of thought.
The Boomer comes in nine different models, three with cabs and six without, and the 45 hp model 3045 carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $35,700. That’s with the spacious nine-intern cab — they showed a video at the conference of nine interns climbing into a Boomer cab — and all the bells and whistles you’d expect with an air-conditioned cab and a port for your iPod.
Bells and whistles are not features of the Workmaster line, which is new this year. The 33 hp Workmaster model 35 has a MSRP of $17,500.
Herrit and the other presenters see multiple markets for both the Boomer and Workmaster lines. Government, construction, landscape and farm users were all mentioned as buyers, and the rental market was frequently cited.
As with compact tractors, there is a lot of crossover in New Holland’s customer base, said Mark Hooper, director of marketing for the company’s North American operations.
Many New Holland ag dealers already carry construction equipment. Merging the construction segment into that existing dealer network should streamline the way dealers do business with New Holland and with their retail customers.
It can also mean better “bundles” for dealers. A bundle lets a dealer buy two or more machines and get a bigger combined discount than would be available by buying each piece separately.
In the past, a dealer may not have been able to bundle a backhoe from the construction side of the business with a tractor from the ag side. The new setup makes it easier for New Holland to offer that kind of deal.
Another new program for New Holland is its partnership with NASCAR’s “American Salute” program designed to honor and aid U.S. military personnel and their family members.
Dan Valen, marketing manager of the new pro work tools department — the name for the ag-construction equipment combo — explained the company’s American Salute participation.
For every thank-you letter sent to an active duty service person, New Holland will donate $1 — up to a maximum of $10,000 — to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families visiting hospitalized service members.
The company will also donate proceeds from an auction at which a hood from a compact tractor will be sold. The hood bears the signatures of NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a dozen others.
And, until July 6, New Holland will offer active and retired military personnel, veterans, and their spouses, children and parents $750 off the purchase of a range of New Holland products.
For each piece of equipment sold under the program, another $100 will be donated to the Fisher House.
Information about the American Salute program, as well as information about New Holland products, can be found by visiting http://agriculture.newholland.com.
Dick Wanner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-419-4703.