About Reynolds Farm Equipment

Reynolds Farm Equipment has been an authorized John Deere dealer serving central Indiana since 1955. We are an authorized John Deere dealer that markets John Deere Tractors, John Deere Farm Equipment, John Deere Agricultural Equipment, John Deere Commercial Worksite Equipment, John Deere Golf and Turf Equipment, John Deere Lawn and Garden Equipment, John Deere New Parts, John Deere Used Parts, John Deere Tractor Parts, and John Deere Toys. Our blog, John Deere Stuff, will provide you with useful information related to our business in the farming equipment industry.

If you are looking for further John Deere information or products, visit the Reynolds Farm Equipment website.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Small Farmers Experi-Mint With Crop Diversification

Story from the Detroit News

As Crosby Mint Farm prepares for its 98th harvest of the fragrant herb, siblings Jim and Linette Crosby, fourth-generation growers, are busy forming business partnerships they hope will keep the family farm operating for many years.

With the cost of farming going up and the price of mint oil increasing only $8 per pound since 1925, Jim Crosby said it was crucial to look for new ways to make the farm -- the oldest mint producing operation in the United States -- profitable. But, when the farm in St. Johns, near Lansing, recently came under the threat of foreclosure, diversification became a matter of survival.

"I had to do it," he said, "because I wanted to keep the farm going."

Above: Double The Fun -- Jim Crosby, right, has partnered with Dr. Eugene Watkins, who owns Pure Herbs Ltd. in Sterling Heights. The firm recently bought 200 gallons of spearmint oil. (Pure Herbs Ltd.)

New products boost business
Crosby, who goes by the nickname "Peppermint," started looking for a mint oil distributor 25 years ago, but couldn't find one who shared his commitment to improving the quality of customers' lives.

So, he diversified the 130-acre farm in other ways, including opening the farm to tourists in 1998 and developing a mint-based cleaner and a mint-based compost, which he began selling in 1997. In the past year, Crosby formed partnerships with a candle company, a candy company and a honey producer that use the mint oil in their products.

Before him, his parents and grandparents sold the mint and oil wholesale to a broker. During the 1940s and 1950s, mint farming was profitable, Crosby said, but markets changed and the price of mint held steady while expenses went up; smaller growers lost contracts because larger farms could do it cheaper. Crosby could see he was going to have to do things differently if he wanted to keep the farm viable.

Jim Crosby said it was crucial to look for new ways to make the farm -- the oldest mint producing operation in the United States -- profitable

His dad died in 2005, and his uncle, who helped maintain the farm, had a stroke a year later, leaving Crosby on his own. He was so busy taking care of the everyday operations that he let the business aspect slip away. Four years ago, he had taken out four loans, but wasn't able to repay them all.

That's when the lender Greenstone Farm Credit Services started the foreclosure process. Shortly after that, all the partnerships Crosby had begun forming crumbled because no one wanted to do business with a farm that wouldn't be around for long.

"We had done a lot, but it goes back to wearing all the hats," he said.

Pete Lemmer, an attorney for Greenstone, said the agency is working with Crosby and they have agreed on a repayment plan.
Interest in mint oil increases

Crosby has since formed new partnerships with candymaker R Candies in Bellevue, Soy-Beam Candle Buffet in Owosso and Frantz Honey in Davison to use the mint oil in their products. Henry Ford Hospital also is buying the oil for medicinal uses, he said.

The partnerships have generated more income for the farm and give the mint oil international exposure, Crosby said. Business is up 125 percent since the partnerships were formed, he said, and customers all over the country and as far away as Europe are interested in buying the oil and mint.

"We're able to offer more products people are asking for or wanting to buy," Crosby said.

R Candies began using Crosby's mint oil in its candies a year ago and it's getting rave reviews from customers.

"My strongest impression is that they love the freshness of the mint," said Ed Baker, whose family operates the company. "It makes a humongous difference."

Pure Herbs Ltd., an herbal manufacturing company in Sterling Heights, just bought its first shipment of 200 gallons of spearmint oil from Crosby Mint Farm last week, fulfilling Crosby's wish 25 years ago to partner with a business that shared his philosophy. Pure Herbs plans to sell the oil to its 6,500 active U.S. distributors.

The company bought the oil after owner Eugene Watkins tried it and loved it, said Al Pfund, production manager. The staff also liked the fact that it was 100 percent natural.

"We were very, very impressed," Pfund said. "We don't want the kind of oil that's made for food or has anything synthetic in it."

Even with all the financial trouble Crosby and his sister have faced during the past couple of years and their ongoing struggle to save the farm, he still believes in what they are doing and vows to continue growing mint and educating the public.

"Every day is a challenge and every day is a test of faith," he said. "It's always easy to walk away, but when you're doing what your heart believes, there are no obstacles."

Friday, June 19, 2009

John Deere Adds To Its 1910 Commodity Cart Line

Story from WebWire.com

LENEXA, Kansas .— John Deere expands its lineup of 1910 Commodity Carts with the addition of two larger models — a two-tank 350-bushel, and a three-tank 430-bushel, tow-between configuration. These new models provide the increased capacity for customers to seed and fertilize a large number of acres in less time. In addition, the 80-bushel tank on the 430-bushel tow-between commodity cart can also be ordered liquid-fertilizer capable.

"For grain producers concerned about compaction and productivity, these new tow-between carts address both issues. Our customers can seed and fertilize more acres in less time and make fewer stops to refill. This increases their productivity and seeding efficiency" says Aubrey Grove, project manager, John Deere Seeding Group. "The new carts are ideal for large-scale, small-grain producers who own air seeders, and for growers or ag-service providers who apply fertilizer with strip-till equipment"

For the 2010 model year, the two new tow-between carts come equipped with a 10-inch diameter auger with steel flighting that allows a customer to fill twice as fast as they could when compared to smaller models equipped with an 8-inch diameter auger. The larger auger is also standard on the company’s existing lineup of 350- and 430-bushel tow-behind 1910 Commodity Carts.

The 1910 Commodity Cart is one component of an integrated John Deere seeding and fertilizer application solution. The carts are compatible with the company’s SeedStar™ 2 seed monitoring system and GreenStar™2 displays. The SeedStar 2 system displays the planting and seeding functions, seed population, coverage maps, field documentation, and guidance information together on one screen.

The new 1910 Commodity Cart models are now available for customers to order. For more details you can visit with your local John Deere dealer, or go online and visit the company’s Web site at www.JohnDeere.com.

Success In Europe For The GreenStar Lightbar Guidance System

Story from Stackyard News

Designed for newcomers to the world of guidance, including small and medium size livestock farms and medium size arable farms, John Deere’s recently introduced GreenStar Lightbar guidance system is emerging as a best-seller.

Only four months after its official launch, almost 2000 units of this easy to install and easy to use system were ordered throughout Europe.

“With GreenStar Lightbar, we have successfully addressed the needs of customers who seek a simple, straightforward and cost efficient solution for their farm,” says Ralf Ulrich, marketing manager of John Deere AMS Europe. “This parallel tracking system helps farmers to achieve higher levels of accuracy and input cost savings when operating in the field with wider implements like cultivators, crop sprayers or lime spreaders – especially in challenging conditions like fog, dust or at night.”

Ready to use in under 10 minutes, the system is compatible with John Deere machines and other equipment brands which operate with a 12V power supply. The system is based around the new StarFire 300 EGNOS only receiver, which is mounted on the vehicle cab. The GreenStar Lightbar display uses LED indicators, each representing a 10cm deviation from the ideal track, to help the driver steer straight and parallel with previous work.

For its unrivalled ease of use, John Deere’s GreenStar Lightbar has already been recognised with innovation awards at two Spanish trade shows this spring – CIMAG in Galicia and AGRARIA in Valladolid.

Committee Backs Farm Overtime

Story from the Post-Journal

ALBANY - What has already been a bad year for farmers could get worse if a bill requiring mandatory overtime for farmworkers is approved by the state Legislature.

On Tuesday, the state Senate's Labor Committee voted in favor of a bill that would require mandatory payment of overtime to farmworkers, require farm employers to allow at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week, provide for an eight-hour work day for farm laborers, makes unemployment insurance and workers compensation laws apply to farm workers, and requires farm worker injuries to be reported.

The bill has moved through committee in the Assembly, where a vote could be held this week. California is the only other state with such comprehensive labor rules for farms, according to the New York State Farm Bureau. Farmers say crops can only be picked during a short period of time, and having to pay overtime for the hours required during the harvest could make harvesting crops too expensive.

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean and ranking member of the state Senate Agriculture Committee, on Tuesday blasted the Senate committee's vote, saying in a news release that the proposed changes will drive labor costs high enough to force farms out of business.

''The impact will be devastating,'' Sen. Young said. ''Thousands of farms statewide will go under, and countless jobs at farms, processing plants and farm-supply businesses will be lost."

"Crops will rot in the fields because farmers will have no money to harvest them, and dairy cows will be taken to the slaughterhouse because farmers won't be able to afford to milk them. Weeds will overrun our vineyards; orchards; and corn, alfalfa and vegetable fields," Sen. Young continued.


Opposition is coming largely from upstate legislators and organizations, including the Farm Bureau. Sponsors of the bill in both the Senate and Assembly are all from the New York City area, and the farm workers bill has received the editorial support of the New York Times and New York Daily News. Support in favor of the Assembly bill was recently pledged during an Albany rally hosted by Sheldon Silver, Assembly speaker. Those in favor of the bill say farm workers should receive the same protections given to other workers

''That farm workers should be denied unemployment insurance, denied workers compensation insurance, denied the right to bargain collectively, is a moral outrage,'' Silver said in a news release. ''For too long, this state has turned its back on our farm workers. This must be the year we make things right. I came here this afternoon to tell you that the Assembly Democrats stand with you.''

According to a Farm Bureau of New York fact sheet, farm workers already have access to unemployment and workers compensation insurance, and farm work agreements are already required by state law for all farm employees. If a farm employs 10 or more employees or reaches $20,000 in payroll in a quarter, the farmer must pay unemployment. Workers compensation is required once a farm has an annual payroll of $1,200. Farm work agreements and state overtime law already stipulate work to be performed, wages, work hours in a standard day and week, the pay period, benefits and time off.

The additional stipulations in the Senate bill would, according to the Farm Bureau, cost the farm families of New York more than $200 million per year. Jon Greenwood, a dairy farmer from St. Lawrence County, estimated the bill would cost him $6,000 a week in overtime costs alone. Farm officials are also concerned that Canada, Mexico and China, which are competition for state farmers, are not required to pay overtime, unemployment insurance or other state mandates.

"If passed, this bill would put our industry into a major tailspin and wreck the already struggling Upstate and Long Island economy," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau and a dairy farmer from Batavia. "The tragic irony of the situation is that the sponsors are primarily from New York City or urban areas, and most of them have never been on a farm. If the bill's sponsors spent some time understanding the issue, talking to farmers and farm workers, they would know that the bill doesn't actually benefit the worker."


On Tuesday, Sen. Young said New York already has some of the strictest laws and standards in the country. She said farms are already subject to constant regulation and are regularly inspected by a variety of federal and state agencies. Adding mandatory overtime pay after eight hours, unemployment insurance and worker's compensation costs and collective bargaining rights will make farms unable to compete with other states and countries.

She said farmers are already receiving less for the food they produce and had to deal with cuts to state-funded agriculture programs totaling more than $11 million, and also had an emergency dairy relief program voted down.

Sen Young is calling on Senate Democrats, who took over the majority in the November election, to stop the bills from coming before the entire Senate.

''This year already has been an unmitigated disaster for farmers,'' Sen. Young said. ''They are getting dangerously low prices for the food they produce. The state budget piled on huge hikes in taxes, utility charges, and health insurance premium costs. Farming suffered severe cuts to state-funded agriculture programs to the tune of more than $11 million. Farmers had their emergency dairy relief program voted down. Now that the state has hammered agriculture, Albany may put countless farms out of business for good. There is only one way to stop this catastrophe, and that is making sure these bills never come to the Senate floor for a vote.''