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AGCO Expands Massey Ferguson Line in Jackson

An expansion of AGCO’s tractor plant in southwestern Minnesota is expected to generate up to 150 new jobs, many in production.

Gov. Mark Dayton arrived at the plant this month in a Massey Ferguson tractor to officially open the 75,000-square-foot addition in Jackson. Some 900 employees gathered to celebrate the expansion, which brings the Massey Ferguson product line back to the United States.

AGCO’s addition includes a visitor’s center with a showroom, dining area and movie theater.

The Fairmount Sentinel reports the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development estimates Jackson’s economic output will grow by more than $2 million.

AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, recently announced it plans to make investments in its North American manufacturing capabilities. “We are continuing to focus on increasing our manufacturing presence in North America, particularly with investments in our Hesston, Kansas and Jackson, Minnesota facilities,” said Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO of AGCO. “We intend to make substantial investments in our North American plants over the next few years. These investments will reinforce our commitment to our North American customers and dealers.”

In a first step, AGCO will transfer its high horsepower, wheeled tractor assembly for tractors sold in North America from its tractor manufacturing facility in Beauvais, France to AGCO’s operations in Jackson, Minnesota. “The expansion of high horsepower tractor production will include an extension of the assembly line and investments in advanced material handling systems to efficiently deliver parts and material to the assembly line,” said Robert B. Crain, Senior Vice President and General Manager AGCO North America. “In addition, AGCO will build a state of the art visitor center in Jackson to significantly enhance the experience for our customers and dealers.” In total, the existing plant will be expanded by about 75,000 square feet. Plans are to begin assembly of AGCO’s high horsepower Massey Ferguson 8600 Series and Challenger MT600C Series tractors sold in the North American market in late 2011.

AGCO has made significant progress in improving its North American operating results, mainly driven by new products, factory productivity and logistics savings initiatives. “We see continued strong demand in the high horsepower tractor market sector driven by improving economics for the professional farmer,” explained Mr. Crain. “The production of high horsepower row crop tractors in Jackson will allow us to be more responsive to market demands and customer needs.”

AGCO’s Beauvais, France facility will also receive significant investment in 2011 in order to boost new model introductions, meet new market opportunities and complete the introduction of lean manufacturing improvements which began in 2010.

Minnesota-China Trade Bond: Strong and Getting Stronger

Minnesota’s relationship with China dates back to the 1870s, when the first Chinese immigrants traveled to the state, and is expertly chronicled in Sherri Gebert Fuller’s book, Chinese in Minnesota. Over the decades, the bond between China and Minnesota has grown significantly and today Minnesota enjoys many sister-state/city relationships, academic partnerships, business relationships, and cultural and humanitarian ties.

Minnesota and the Province of Shaanxi, home of the famous terra cotta warriors, established a sister-state relationship on October 19, 1982. Minnesota Governor Al Quie and Shaanxi Governor Yu Mingtao formally signed the agreement at a ceremony in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Minnesota Trade Office and the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association of Minnesota USCPFA-MN jointly manage the relationship for Minnesota, with the (USCPFA-MN) acting as the executive agent. Contact: Dong Li, Chair, Minnesota-Shaanxi Sister-State Committee. Email: dongli2k@yahoo.com

Other sister relationships include:

• Minneapolis and Harbin (1992)
• St. Paul and Changsha (1987)
• Rochester and Xianyang (1993)
• Coon Rapids and Zhaoqing
• Red Wing and Quzhou
• Dakota County and Chengde
• City of Ramsey and Loudi (2005)
• Mankato and Tamsui Township (Taiwan)

The University of Minnesota, along with many Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and Minnesota Private Colleges, host thousands of Chinese students and faculty annually, offer programs to study and teach in China, collaborate with Chinese universities on curriculum development and research, among other ventures. Currently, a comprehensive catalog of academic connections between Minnesota and China does not exist, but there is an ongoing initiative through the Minnesota-China Partnership to document the various connections. In addition to the abundant connections among institutions of higher learning, an increasing number of K-12 schools are beginning to establish relationships with Chinese schools.

While there are countless Minnesota companies doing business with China today, some of the more notable ones are 3M, Cargill, Northwest Airlines, Best Buy, Target, General Mills, Medtronic, Hormel, Imation, Ecolab, Thomson Legal & Regulatory, Carlson Companies, Turck, Hutchinson Technologies, Skyline Exhibits, Polaris, Satellite Industries, and Anderson Corp.

Today, Minnesota is the eighth-largest U.S. exporter of manufactured goods to China. Nearly 20,000 Minnesotans claim ancestral connections to China, which has helped foster numerous ties between Minnesota and China. These ties also are expanding through the growth of organizations such as the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association of Minnesota, Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM), Center for Chinese Culture (3C), Children’s HeartLink, Global Volunteers, all of which work to make cultural and humanitarian ties deep-rooted and extensive.

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