Prairieland Partners holds tillage event

News editor

A tractor and tent village materialized last week in Dennis Funk’s wheat field three miles east of Hillsboro on old US-56.

John Deere dealer Prairieland Partners is conducting a tillage training and sales event Tuesday and today for staff and customers from all nine of their dealerships in central Kansas.

“We’ve got discs, vertical tillage, strip till, applicators for high-speed application of nutrients, disc plows, chisels, and cultivators,” director of marketing Drew Durst said.

He said they chose Marion County for the event because of a local connection.

“Our training manager, Yuri Miller, used to work in the Marion store, so he knows this area very well,” he said. “We very much appreciate Dennis Funk letting us hold this event here.”

Sales, parts, and service staff took turns Tuesday operating nine pieces of equipment at stations scattered out across the field.

“Some guys work on this stuff all day but never have the opportunity to get out in the field to see how it performs,” Durst said. “We have our sales, parts, and service guys out here learning the equipment, being able to get some time in the tractor, and really get a hands-on feel for what our customers deal with.”

Sales director Darrell Pankratz said the event is an example of how industry training is changing.

“This is a little bit of a paradigm shift in that John Deere is going away from the big annual hoopla,” Pankratz said. “Farming is dynamic, customers are dynamic, certainly the technology side moves very fast. Training is a culture, and that’s what we look hard to accomplish.

Between 70 and 80 Prairieland employees were expected to take part in the training portion of the event.

Marion manager Mitch Guetterman said he was glad for his staff the event was close and had only one preference about which equipment he tried.

“Just as long as it’s green,” he said.

Today the activity shifted from training to sales as invited customers came to observe the equipment in action.

“We won’t have any hands-on with the customer. We’re trying to keep it moving,” Durst said Friday. “We have nine different pieces here we’re trying to showcase, and some extras that are static displays to look at. In order to keep on schedule, we can’t get people in the tractors.”

Guetterman said stores made concerted efforts to boost turnout.

“The last few days we’ve been making some phone calls and following up with a few guys,” he said. “I hope it’s a good impact, and that we have a good turnout of customers and they can see all the products and solutions we can deliver.”

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