Case IH has two ProHarvest teams that support custom harvesters as they make their way from the Texas/Oklahoma border up through the northern plains states all the way to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in late fall. These three-man teams provide parts when needed and 24/7 emergency breakdown assistance for the custom harvesters. They also support local dealerships and host combine demonstrations as they work their way up the center of the U.S. and Canada. Case IH has remained dedicated to the ProHarvest support program for 24 years.
Case IH ProHarvest Support is crucial to a smooth harvest, supplying parts, technical advice and operational instruction to Axial-Flow® operators.
Each spring, Case IH offers a half-day safety training and equipment orientation known as the ProHarvest Kickoff at Great Plains Technical College in Frederick, Okla.
“We have reached more than 5,000 custom cutters in 20 years,” says Dan Renaud, Case IH Combine Product Specialist.
The Agricultural and Mechanization Instructor, Jim Smith, opens his doors to Case IH employees, ProHarvest Support and about 500 custom cutters who run all colors of combines.
The local FFA chapter, headed by Bill Blankenship, works with Box Implement to serve breakfast.
“I know guys who run other colors and they feel perfectly comfortable at the training,” says custom harvester Eric Wolgemuth. “It’s definitely not just for red customers.”
The Case IH ProHarvest Kickoff celebrated its 21st anniversary this past May. The FFA chapter has participated for 16 years. Renaud says the event stresses the importance of safety.
“There are a lot of new people every year. They need to understand what they are getting into and how fast it can happen,” says Renaud.
The custom harvester crew leaders completely agree.
“I get my crews to the event every year,” says custom harvester Rick Farris. “Usually half of the crew is new. It’s not a full-time job, so you get in a lot of new guys.”
The training includes safety videos and a combine and header walk-around. Case IH Combine Marketing Specialists give the cutters updates on all the combine’s new features.
Case IH is the only major agricultural manufacturer to offer this type of service and training.
“That safety message can never get overused,” says Farris.
“It’s a high turnover of guys, so the message is always fresh,” says Wolgemuth, who has attended the Kickoff every year. One year, he even drove 120 miles to make it to the event.
This year, Oklahoma Rep. Don Armes attended the event to show his support for the industry.
“He’s a big supporter of us and what we do,” says Renaud. “He recognizes the importance of it and the cooperation of Case IH and the college to put on this event.”
The ProHarvest Kickoff had another visitor as well. Conrad Weaver, director of the “Great American Wheat Harvest” documentary, attended the event to cover the Kickoff and its unique training as part of the wheat harvest.
“It’s something Case IH doesn’t have to do, but they have chosen to support the whole harvesting industry,” says Wolgemuth.