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UWRF signs new machinery contract

December 10, 2009

Many UW-River Falls students on or around the lab farms, and even some on campus will be seeing more red over the next few years.

“It’s wonderful that your [Case IH] and our colors match,” Chancellor Dean Van Galen said Dec. 2 in his opening remarks at the ceremony held on campus to sign a contract with Case IH.

UW-River Falls, specifically the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, signed a 10-year rolling agreement with Case IH, based out of Racine, Wis. The agreement will allow the UWRF lab farms and facilities management to receive brand new Case IH machinery each year for the next 10 years. The same agreement was made between UW-Platteville and Case IH in May. The agreement was proposed by Case IH.

“It took some time to convince the University (both Platteville and River Falls) that we were sincere and real in this offer,” Manager of Government Sales Patricia Lardie said.

She said Case IH also has agreements with North Dakota State University, Texas A&M, Utah State and the University of Ontario. They’re also working out an agreement with Northcentral Technical College in Wausau for their dairy program. Lardie said this agreement allows a great partnership between UWRF, Value Implement, Case IH and the community, and allows the universities to be exposed to going forward. It allows an opportunity to experience equipment every year.

Jeff Rohrscheib, manager of the Osseo Value Implement, agreed that the agreement will help build the relationship between the school and ag community.

The chancellor spoke of the University’s commitment to education, and said he believes that this opportunity will fuel that commitment. UWRF lab farm directory Bill Connolly also spoke, saying that this is all about education for UWRF.

The school’s mission is to support the education of students, and the agreement with Case IH will enhance the mission. CAFES Dean Dale Gallenberg added that this agreement will expose students and staff on campus to technology.

Senior ag engineering major William Pettis said he wishes the opportunity had risen about four years ago.

“It would have been fun working with the new equipment in class. I believe that this will give the students more real world problems to solve,” he said.

Any machinery the University currently owns that Case IH manufactures will be replaced with brand new equipment, and the University will be able to create a wish list of machinery it would like to receive, but may not necessarily need.

According to Connolly, the University’s priority list for the lab farms includes a 180 PTO horse power front wheel drive tractor, a disc chisel plow, disc with spike tooth harrow attachment, a combine with yield mapping and skid steers. He said the approach to receiving the equipment would be seasonal; for example, the combine will arrive in early fall.

Unfortunately, construction machinery will not be available to the University, but according to Gallenberg, Case will provide accessories to tractors, such as grappling hooks, to allow work to be done.

Facilities management will have access to tractor mounted mowers, skid steers, and other equipment such as pay loaders to push snow and move fuel for the power generator. The complete line of machinery is not yet put together.

One piece of equipment Gallenberg specifically mentioned was the combine with GPS technology. The University has not been able to afford equipment such as this in the past, but with it will be able to utilize the GPS technology for yield mapping and field mapping.

Chair of the ag engineering technology department, Dean Olson, said that agriculture will have to increase food production by seven percent in the near future. He said that when he was younger, those involved in ag production had to work long, hard hours and be a “jack of all trades.” He said he feels the same holds true today. The agreement with Case IH will give UWRF a state-of-the-art, living laboratory on the lab farm.

Gallenberg said that though the contract is currently effective, most of the new equipment will not arrive until next cropping season. The University is receiving the equipment under normal lease terms, brand new and under warranty, for a very nominal fee.

The University will be responsible for maintenance and repair costs, but compared to the cost being saved by not having to purchase the equipment, the budget will not suffer.

According to Gallenberg, the cost to the University is one cent per piece of equipment per year. The machinery will be replaced at the end of every year, giving the University access to new equipment technology on an ongoing basis.

“Each new season is a new year with new equipment,” Gallenberg said.