There’s a southern Arizona city that borders California and Mexico, just west of the meeting point of the Colorado and Gila rivers. It’s one of the driest, warmest places in the United States, where the Fahrenheit reaches 90 degrees or higher
175 days each year.
Would it be surprising to find out this summery city is actually the winter vegetable capital of the world – and that agriculture is its number one industry? The city is Yuma, Arizona; one that most associate with being a dusty, desert landscape is rich and vibrant with agricultural variety and is home to one of the places growers can find RDO Equipment Co. and John Deere tractors.
If it’s hard to believe Yuma is a bountiful agricultural community, just look at Jon Dinsmore’s Instagram account, @thefarmerjon. Yuma is the place where this fourth-generation farmer learned about planting, harvesting, caring for the crops that are now his livelihood.
With 1,200 acres of farmland in Yuma’s diverse and year-round farming area, Dinsmore Farms grows a variety of crops throughout the year.
“We grow a large mix of lettuces and cilantro during ‘produce months’ then alfalfa, Sudan grass, and Durum wheat in the spring and summer,” Jon said. Along with producing a large variety of crops comes the challenge of finding equipment that can handle the different practices each requires.
“It’s tough to see large tractors parked on the sidelines,” he explained. “If they’re not suitable for the crop we’re growing at that time, we can’t use them.”
Jon was always interested in a tractor that could handle a variety of Dinsmore Farms’ practices, particularly its various tillage needs, so it could be productive and working most of the year vs. sitting idle.
The challenge was finding a tractor that could work with the different implements, to go from tilling one season to listing up beds during produce season. If the right equipment was deployed, Jon estimated that it could get them, “an additional two to three months of work out of the one tractor.”
As Jon set out to find the right tractor, he had to confront some of his own preconceived opinions. The farm had historically owned and operated a certain brand of equipment, a decision that traces back years before he was ever involved in the business.
“A main reason our farm ran the color and brand we did for so many years is because we were always told John Deere was too expensive,” Jon said. But he wanted to explore all of his options and set out to find a dealer that could help him get to the bottom of this family folklore and educate him on his options with Deere.
It was then that Jon confronted his second preconceived opinion: dealer reputation. More than two decades ago, the Deere dealer in Yuma wasn’t a great partner to Dinsmore Farms. Jon explained, “The service aspect just wasn’t there, both my grandfather and father didn’t have positive experiences.”
It’s easy to see how this type of family tradition gets passed down. But Jon says, throughout the years, he noticed the new Deere dealer that entered Yuma in the 1990s, RDO Equipment Co., was different. The way it does business, partners with customers, even its presence in the community have all helped erase the memories of the previous dealership for Jon. That, plus the genuine approach of the team members themselves gave him ample reasons to overcome his long-held convictions. He decided he needed to give RDO the chance to earn business.
About five years ago, Brant Palmer, Precision Product Specialist, Joe Twomey, Regional Sales Manager, and Bobby Walker, Account Manager, began working with Jon, trying to build a relationship and offer solutions they believed would further Dinsmore Farms’ success and solve their unique challenges.
“They gave us opportunities to demo smaller tractors to see if John Deere machines would be a good fit for us,” Jon said. “We really liked how the Deere tractors ran, they’re strong machines with more power than what we’d been running.”
That initial experience gave Jon the motivation he needed. As a result of the strong personal relationship plus a new conviction in the power of Deere, Dinsmore Farms converted to three Deere machines for hay work, then made a bigger move two years ago with Deere’s 8345 tillage tractors.
Green equipment would continue to find its way into the Dinsmore Farms’ fleet with another opportunity to address one of Jon’s biggest problems, the earlier-mentioned need for a more productive, robust tractor.
In the spring of 2020, Dinsmore Farms’ Account Manager, Bobby had been talking about Deere’s new 8RX tractor and that it might be the versatile workhorse Jon was looking for, one that could handle multiple tillage practices and give the farm
the extra two to three months of productivity it needed.
Coincidentally, Jon had been doing his homework on this tractor. All the online reviews he saw were good. He also follows Precision Product Specialist, Brant on Twitter and enjoyed all the photos and experiences in the valley he was sharing of the tractor.
“Plus,” he said with a laugh, “it looked like a cool tractor. It kind of draws out the little kid in you when you see it.”
As they had done in the past, the RDO team arranged for Jon to demo the tractor. Jon was interested to see how the tractor would handle the farm’s various implements, how much impact it had on the field, and how it integrated technology and data management.
When it came to Jon’s goal of less field impact, the 8RX performed as he’d hoped, saying, “With the 8RX, I was really surprised it could turn as sharp without leaving as much of a trace. Our experience with two-track tractors was they’d
leave a mound of dirt after pivoting at the end of each row.”
In addition to fields looking more aesthetically appealing, the performance cut down on added clean-up work of the mounds.
Jon was pleased with the tractor’s performance, both in terms of having the power to handle implements, as well as the added bonus of comfort.
“It’s a good, stable tractor in the field,” he said. “It really grabs the ground and distributes that power.” Jon continued, pointing out the 8RX could handle a variety of implements, while being fuel-efficient and providing a smooth, comfortable ride.
The technology aspect also impressed him, saying, “We had no GPS issues. When trying to get an A/B line, the tractor didn’t waver off point, which is a big deal, because with other systems, we’ve experienced down moments when they drop the satellite signal.”
Jon further commented on this key aspect, noting the ease of data sharing from the machines to their devices.
“I can pull up everything right on my phone, be able to monitor hours, keep track of where the machine is, watch all the data easily. RDO also has access so Brant can send us breakdowns and make it easier to understand the usage reports. It takes the pressure off us because, we all know that when work gets busy, you can get complacent. But the reports make it easy to understand the data and get us to best usage.”
Speaking of usage, the real benefit Jon experienced from the 8RX demo was the one that he’d hoped for and directly affected the bottom line.
“Using the 8RX, we realized we can downsize from running two competitive-brand tractors because it does everything we need,” he said. Jon also recalled his earlier comment, his father’s and grandfather’s previous concern with Deere equipment being too expensive.
“There’s a lot of available technology that gives us more opportunities. That’s on top of the savings that come from getting more production out of a single machine. Overall, it saves us money.”
While not a drawback of the machine, Jon acknowledged one adjustment they’ll have to make with the 8RX is monitoring hours and maintenance due to the tractor running more hours than they’re used to.
“With two tractors we’d normally share the workload, so with the increased hours per machine, we’re cautious not to over use it.”
The demo period went so well that Jon decided to move ahead with a purchase of the 8RX tractor. He’s eager to have it as a permanent fixture in the fleet so he can keep doing what he loves – farming.
Jon’s long family farming history is certainly a point of pride but he’s glad he further investigated the family’s folklore on Deere and the local dealer. In selecting his Deere equipment, Jon is starting new family traditions
and using those machines to power them forward.
“It wasn’t until I got a little older I really started to grasp and understand what a blessing of an opportunity it was to grow up on the farm,” he said. “I always wanted to follow my grandpa and dad, and now I get to provide that same opportunity for my kids.”
Jon says that, even if they don’t share his same passion and follow in the family’s farming footsteps, the lessons learned on the farm will serve them well, no matter the path they take.
“I don’t know if any of them have it in their heart but I hope they find whatever it is that lights the fire like farming does for me,” he said.
Interested in more about precision agriculture technology? Check out the RDO Equipment Co. Agriculture Technology Podcast, browse past episodes, and find out more about everything from equipment to UAVs to specialty crop care.
Browse options of used agriculture equipment for sale or find options by visiting your local RDO Equipment Co. store.