Over the past 85 years, FFVA trade associate member Caterpillar Inc. has grown to be the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company also is a leading service provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services and Progress Rail Services.
John Janes serves as the industry representative for Florida at Caterpillar. He specializes in agriculture and local contractors such as landscapers, and works directly with two Florida dealerships, Ring Power and Kelly Tractor.
“We have a number of machines that benefit Florida producers,” Janes said. “We have, under the Caterpillar name, a line of 35,000- to 25,000-pound wheel loaders, for example. Those are used to basically move whatever needs to be moved on the farm – dirt, manure, any number of items. And our forklifts move extremely large items up to 10,000 pounds. Pallets of produce would be an example,” he said. “Some of the larger customers will use the wheel loader when they’re loading out rail cars to move the car between loading points,” he added.
“Rounding out our product line are the small ‘dozers that are common on farms,” Janes said. “And we offer mini-excavators and the whole excavator line that’s used for everything from dropping in a one-inch water line to cleaning and digging out irrigation ditches. We also have our full tiller-handler line from 6,000- to 12,000-pound tiller-handlers.”
Janes sees three distinct characteristics in agriculture customers that set them apart from others.
“First is safety,” he said. “When one is on a construction site and a safety incident happens, there are typically a number of people around who can respond. In an ag situation, many times it’s one person alone on 60 acres. Just ensuring that all machines are intrinsically safe … that is a key differentiator,” he said.
Second, Janes says, is the importance of considering the total cost of ownership. “If we look at different pieces of ag equipment, some of those are held for 12 months, some are held for 12 years. The common theme is total cost of ownership. Without that being at the center of the decision-making process, then one could end up in a rough financial spot.”
The third item that differentiates ag for Janes is service. “If a machine needs to be fixed, it needs to be fixed quickly. Because of the timeline associated with harvesting or planting a crop, there’s no such thing as a rain delay that you might see in the construction industry. If you take a rain delay in ag, you take a money delay. It hits immediately. So if a piece of equipment goes down, the demands of servicing that equipment are significant. There’s not the flexibility that some other industries may have.”
Janes is excited about a new product launch. “The product we are really excited about is our D Series Skid Steers line. It’s a significantly redesigned machine with leading-edge ability to meet all current and future requirements associated with the EPA Tier 4 requirements,” he said. Tier 4 requirements refer to emissions standards for non-road diesel engines.
“The D Series Skid Steers line’s ability to deliver hydraulic horsepower in an extremely timely, safe, efficient manner may be unsurpassed. This series, we think of, is a real game-changer. We’ll finish refreshing our product line over the next 90 days and then the machines will be available for dealer lots for demonstrating and for purchase and for rent,” he said. “Since we’re machine nerds, we look at this as an IT person might look at a new iPhone. We would stay up till midnight to go demo one.”
Not long ago, Janes had a chance meeting with Sonia Tighe, who leads FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program and is executive director of the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation. He said he appreciates that FFVA values mentoring and educating those who’ll be in charge of the future of the Florida agriculture industry. Janes added that the FFVA program mirrors what Caterpillar Inc. and its dealers are doing.
“I think there is such a high alignment with what Sonia is doing, with the future leaders in FFVA and what Caterpillar and dealers in Florida do in terms of developing the future leaders in our industry,” he said.
“We became FFVA members because we believe in the association’s mission. We believe in the members and what they do and how they do it,” Janes said. “And about three times a day at mealtime, we are additionally thankful for them.”
Find your nearest Caterpillar dealer here or call John Janes at 919-605-2361. “Contact your Caterpillar dealer and let them know you are an FFVA member, because we have aggressive targeted pricing only for members of FFVA,” Janes said.
More information about Caterpillar Inc. is available on the company’s website.