Recognizing the vital role of custom applicators in supporting the agricultural industry, AGCO Application Equipment is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Operator of the Year program. Each growing season, these professionals spend long hours in the field, operating sophisticated application machinery to apply fertilizer and crop protection products on millions of farm acres.

Now in its eighth season, the Operator of the Year program pays tribute to top professional operators from the U.S. and Canada based on nominations from their ag retailers. A panel of judges from AGCO evaluates nominees based on their performance both on and off the field, including such criteria as skill, dedication, customer service and community involvement.  

“Every year, we are impressed by the high caliber of nominees for Operator of the Year,” says Mark Sharitz, director of marketing for AGCO Application Equipment. “The hard work and precision of custom applicators across North America have a direct impact on farmers’ productivity and their ability to provide food, fiber and fuel to the world. While we can only select one annual winner, the real goal of this program is to recognize these professionals and demonstrate appreciation for the work they do.”

Sharitz notes that nominees from previous seasons have been praised by their retailers and customers alike for their application expertise, knowledge of their customers’ fields, willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done, despite extremely demanding schedules, and their focus on treating every field like it’s their own. Many have also played active roles in their communities through volunteer service and many other contributions.

Sharitz adds that professional operators have also demonstrated skill in keeping pace with continuing advances in application technologies. These include new guidance systems, automatic boom controls, variable rate product application and many other precision systems to maximize application accuracy, machine efficiency and crop yield.  

Ag retailers can submit nominations for 2013 Operator of the Year at http://search.applylikeapro.com/. Deadline for entries is Oct. 19, 2013. The list of nominees will be narrowed to four finalists who will be invited to be AGCO’s guests at the 2013 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo Dec. 3-5 in Miami, Fla. At the conference, the 2013 Operator of the Year winner will be announced and presented with the grand prize of a new Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. All nominees will receive a certificate from AGCO recognizing their nomination for this prestigious award. 

AGCO manufactures the TerraGator self-propelled high-floatation applicator and RoGator self-propelled sprayer. The Operator of the Year program is open to all ag retailers and custom applicators regardless of the machine brands in their application fleet.