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Tractor ride explores ag in Canada


June 14, 2011
By Massey Ferguson

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tractorride01June 14, 2011, Duluth,
GA — Dr. John Varty, a professor who taught agriculture and environmental
history courses through the MacMillan Center at Yale University, is setting out
to chronicle how and why agriculture production has changed in Canada as
farmers work to meet the demands of an increasing global population.

June 14, 2011, Duluth,
GA — Dr. John Varty, a professor who taught agriculture and environmental
history courses through the MacMillan Center at Yale University, is setting out
to chronicle how and why agriculture production has changed in Canada as
farmers work to meet the demands of an increasing global population.

As Varty travels across
the country, driving a Massey Ferguson® 1660 compact tractor, he
will explore a variety of agriculture-related subjects, from the enduring
family farm to the new generation of farmers to food production and land-use
changes. The trip will be filmed and the footage used to produce a documentary.

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tractorride01 
Dr. John Varty is
traveling across Canada to help consumers learn more about how and why
agriculture and food production have changed in Canada. Varty, who will
traverse the country in a Massey Ferguson 1660 compact tractor, will film
interviews with farmers, food processors and others along his route. The
information will be used to create a two-hour documentary.
 

Varty will depart June
30 from Atlantic Tractors and Equipment Ltd., the Massey Ferguson dealership in
Charlottetown, P.E.I.

“There have been a fair
number of books and documentaries released in recent years that explore how
food is produced,” explains Varty. “There are two poles of thought that much of
this literature would have us believe. The first is the idea that our food is
right on the edge of becoming nonexistent via corporate involvement. And, on
the other end of that scale there seems to be this type of white-knight story,
where someone is supposed to ride in and save us all. The truth of the matter
is that the majority of farmers in Canada are still working out of a family
unit, and I want to talk with these farmers to learn more about the challenges
they face each day.”

Massey Ferguson, which
is sponsoring the tractor ride, has a deep connection to Canadian agriculture.

tractorride02 
During his trip, Varty
will make stops at local events, such as art, music and theater festivals and
sporting events to gather information and help educate consumers about food
production and agriculture. His effort is sponsored by Massey Ferguson, an
agricultural equipment company founded in Canada, and he will visit more than
20 of its dealerships along the way.
 

“What Dr. Varty is
undertaking is truly a unique project in every sense of the word. Given our
Canadian history, it made perfect sense to get involved with this effort,” says
Rajesh Joshi, director of marketing at Massey Ferguson. “It’s not every day you
hear about an individual who wants to hit the road to connect with farmers to
better understand who they are, what they do and how they work. It’s just as
much our responsibility as it is anyone else’s in agriculture to help consumers
understand how and why the industry has evolved.”

During the tractor ride,
Varty will visit more than 20 Massey Ferguson dealerships throughout P.E.I.,
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.

As Varty travels from
town to town, he will make additional stops that coincide with local events,
such as art festivals, music festivals, theater festivals and sporting events,
among others. At each stop, farmers, food company officials, government
representatives, community leaders and university professors will be invited to
share their respective thoughts and ideas as they relate to food and food
production in Canada.

“Our travels will
include a hay wagon featuring a small cabin that replicates a 1950s’-style
bungalow to provide us shelter and sleeping quarters,” says Varty. “I’ll
conduct the majority of my interviews with people in a seating area on the
wagon. While we’re going to invite people on board to share their thoughts and
ideas, I also envision some creative uses for the wagon as well, such as
inviting a local band to use it as a grandstand. I really don’t know what to
expect until we depart from Charlottetown. That’s when all of the experiences,
interviews and personal stories we’ll use in the documentary will truly begin.”

Additional amenities on
the hay wagon include a freshwater tank and solar-generated electricity for
lighting and laptop usage.

Varty’s interest in
Canadian agricultural history extends beyond the classroom. He has numerous
family members who have carried on the family’s five-generation farm in
east-central Ontario. The tractor ride will wind through the back roads of
Canada, reaching Leamington, Ont., by the end of August.

To learn more about Dr.
John Varty’s cross-country tractor ride, visit http://www.tractorcanada.com.


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