AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO) and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two organizations. The specially designed facility located in Bloomington, Ill., is the home of the new Applicator Training Course, a four-day program dedicated to educating individuals with little or no background in the application of crop protection products and plant nutrients. Nearly 200 agriculture and crop protection industry guests attended an open house at the center on June 12 to learn more about the one-of-a-kind program.
“Today, the agricultural industry must maximize food production while carefully stewarding complex technologies and our natural resources. The Applicator Training Center and this extensive educational program will help support the entire industry in this effort – retailers, farmers, their rural neighbors and down the line to consumers,” says Bob Crain, AGCO senior vice president and general manager for the Americas. “This program is an example of AGCO’s commitment to meeting the ever-changing needs of our customers. Soon, we will introduce all-new application systems that will solve today’s challenges and help the industry better manage and steward crop protection products,” Crain adds.
The Applicator Training Course is open to anyone involved with crop production, from farmers to professional applicators. Through a 12-month period, the course will be available to 400 students who will learn about application as well as about the crop retail business and the agricultural industry from highly regarded instructors, top professional applicators and industry leaders.
“Safe, accurate application of fertilizers and crop protection products has never been as important as it is today,” says Tom Warner, president of Crop Production Services. Warner began his career as an applicator and is a featured speaker for the course. “Students will leave well prepared to deliver quality application services and manage risk using today’s products and application equipment. They’ll also gain an appreciation for providing exceptional customer service and understand how heavily farmers rely on an applicator’s expertise and attention to detail.”
Comprehensive course focuses on hands-on exercises
Curriculum for the Applicator Training Course was built with extensive input from ag retailers and industry partners. It is a comprehensive, well-rounded course using practical learning experiences that range from basic math and measurements for proper pesticide mixtures, to hands-on training in the safe operation of application machines while maneuvering field entrances, railroad crossings, overgrown entrances, roads and a variety of field conditions. The course includes fundamentals of machine maintenance, understanding sprayer components and systems, proper tank cleanout procedures and the importance of recordkeeping.
“This week, the first 20 students will graduate from our Applicator Training Course having gained the knowledge and comprehensive thought processes needed to diligently perform the job of a professional applicator,” says Allen Summers, president of the Asmark Institute. “They will have the ability to evaluate the situation for each load and field and be prepared to optimize the application or make the decision to delay or not spray if that is the right thing to do.
“We’ve received positive response from all levels of the retail and crop protection industry, so we’re excited to get underway,” Summers adds.
AGCO and the Asmark Institute have long histories of supporting the needs of agricultural retailers. Established in 1990, Asmark became a well-respected and established provider of risk management services and products for the agricultural industry. In September 2005, the Asmark Institute was formed as a private, not-for-profit educational organization to deliver Asmark’s unique collection of educational training materials to the retail agriculture sector to effectively support and advance the industry.
AGCO has been designing, developing and providing the latest in application equipment and technology since its purchase of Ag-Chem Equipment Co. Inc., in 2001, a legacy which began in the 1960s. The company has supported and recognized the industry’s top professionals through the AGCO Operator of the Year Award program since 2006.