From Novice To Pro

A first-time farmer fast-tracks his farm with Massey Ferguson.®

By Jason Jenkins

Flying high-tech aircraft doesn’t qualify you to operate farm equipment. Jimmy Smithers of Warrensburg, Missouri, knows this all too well. When the former B-2 Stealth Bomber pilot decided to start a horse farm with his wife, Sonia, he had absolutely no idea what type of tractor or baler to buy. 

“Before I bought this place, the closest thing I had to farm equipment was mowing my yard with a push lawn mower,” he says. “So, I approached the challenge like any I’ve had with aviation.”

During his time in the Air Force, Jimmy’s aviator call sign was “The Brain.” So, it’s par for the course that he conducted extensive research before purchasing equipment. Doug Vahrenberg, owner of Vahrenberg Implement Inc. in Higginsville, Missouri, refers to Jimmy’s studied process as “smithering.”

“Jimmy is precise. That’s the best word to describe him,” says Doug, who has sold two tractors and two balers to the Smithers family. “He asks a lot of questions with a very open mind. He’ll look at everything out there and buy not only what fits the most needs, but also what has the most value to him. He’s not buying because of color or brand.”

So far, Jimmy’s smithering always has concluded that Massey Ferguson® equipment affords him the best value with the features that allow him, as a novice, to farm like a professional. “I don’t have the expertise, so I have to rely on the innovation and technology in the equipment to help me out,” says Jimmy, whose most recent purchase is a Massey Ferguson 4707 Global Series utility tractor. “I also have limited time. When it comes to hay season, I may only have three days, so I need my equipment to work efficiently.”

Jimmy paired a Massey Ferguson 5613 mid-range tractor with a Hesston by Massey Ferguson® 2946A round baler to make putting up hay quick and easy. He says the baler’s Auto-Cycle feature makes a perfect bale every time. 

“It’s exactly what I’m used to in an airplane,” he says of the automation. “It’s telling me what to do. I may not need that in 10 years, but right now I do.”

Part of Jimmy’s smithering process also includes finding a dealer he can trust, and he says that Vahrenberg has filled the bill. “They’ve mentored me,” Jimmy says of the folks at the dealership. “They’ll talk to you. They’ll give you advice, and they’re always there for parts and service. With that kind of service, you can’t go wrong.”