Sunday, 11 March 2018 08:55

Keeping up with the Jones’

Written by  Mark Daniel
The JJ’s team with a combined total of 137 years’ service between them: from left, Dave Jones, Paul Jones, Geoff Sadlier and Grant Jones. The JJ’s team with a combined total of 137 years’ service between them: from left, Dave Jones, Paul Jones, Geoff Sadlier and Grant Jones.

Do good things happen in threes? Sometimes: 1958 was a year of three notable events. 

This year Massey Ferguson celebrates 60 years in New Zealand, so does the well known South Island tractor and machinery dealers J.J. Limited, and lastly, your machinery editor enters his seventh decade.

Today, Massey Ferguson is part of the Global AGCO empire. In 1958, the new Massey Ferguson brand emerged from the merger of the Massey Harris and Ferguson companies in 1953. 

In late 1957 and early ’58 came the iconic ‘Massey’ -- the MF35 -- that even today still earns its keep on many farms worldwide. Then came the 100 series, e.g. the 135, 165 and 185, and during the late 1970s the 200 series that gave us the much vaunted MF 290. 

Through the 1980s we saw 600 series and of course the 300s with the likes of the 390 and the 399; then came the series 4200, 4300, 5400, 6600, 7700 and 8700. Today the product range encompasses miniscule compacts to high powered goliaths. 

Throughout those 60 years Massey Ferguson, or Fergie as they are fondly known, has brought innovation, technology and ultimately increased production and cost savings.

Also about then (1958), Abbey Jones and Jack Johnson formed JJ Ltd in Invercargill to sell the ‘new’ Massey Ferguson brand. This set the scene for a business now turning 60. 

Its success was soon followed by a second branch in Gore, and both branches still operate on the same sites. In the 1970s the Sadlier family bought into the Gore business. In 1983, when the two founding partners decided to go in different directions, Johnson moved into motor vehicles while the Jones and Sadlier families stuck with agriculture.

A third depot was opened at Mosgiel, Otago, in 2001 and a new depot in Hornby, Christchurch in 2009. Then came parts and service branches at Ashburton and Timaru; these duly evolved into full-line, stand-alone businesses.

Today, JJ’s employs 85 full-time staff throughout the South Island. The company encompasses three generations of the Jones and two generations of the Sadlier families. Between them Dave Jones, Paul Jones, Geoff Sadlier and Grant Jones have been in the business for 50, 24, 37 and 26 years respectively – a total of 137 years service over six decades – and they’re still counting.

As for the third part of the story, a Welsh fella with a love of farm machinery worked for several machinery distributors in the UK. He caught a plane to NZ in 2001 and spent the next 13 years messing about with tractors at Power Farming Group, before picking up the pen to spread his wisdom. Two out of three aint bad!


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