Farm Ireland
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Sunday 22 October 2017

'Biggest fans' Ned and Pat win competition to feature in official John Deere catalogue

Ned Furlong is pictured with his John Deere tractor collection and Gem, the sheepdog
Ned Furlong is pictured with his John Deere tractor collection and Gem, the sheepdog
Peter Gaffney is pictured with a small part of his collection
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

John Deere fans Peter Gaffney from Lusk in Co Dublin and Ned Furlong from Co Wexford are the Irish winners of the company's 'biggest fan' photo competition, which has been running on John Deere's European website since August and attracted more than 500 entries.

The winning Irish photos will be featured along with seven other fan photos from Austria, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland in the next official John Deere Collection merchandise catalogue, which is available at all John Deere dealers.

Ned Furlong keeps 100 ewes and grows an acre of strawberries for public sale. He bought his first John Deere tractor, an 1120, around 30 years ago for spraying his strawberry crops, and has since built up a collection of 12 models, which are all in working order, along with a John Deere plough.

The full line-up also includes a rare 303 built at the Saran factory in France, a 710, a 1020 and 2020, a 1030 rebuilt by Ned almost from scratch, two 2030s - one of which includes a very rare MFWD model. There are also two 1040s, a 1640 and a 2650.

Most have been bought in and around the Co Wexford area, at auctions or private sales, but the 303 tractor was found in Wales. Mr Furlong buys all his tractor parts and John Deere merchandise from local dealer Templetuohy Farm Machinery at Enniscorthy in Co Wexford.

"I saw an article about the competition in the Farming Independent, but I never thought any more about it," he said.

"My son Sean then looked it up on the John Deere website, and it was my wife Helen's idea to get all the tractors lined up for the photo. I didn't expect to get anywhere with it at all, so it was a lovely surprise to hear I'd won."

The other Irish winner, Peter Gaffney, is pictured with a small part of his John Deere collection, much of it acquired from his local John Deere dealer Hanlon Machinery at Donabate, Co Dublin.

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Mr Gaffney said: "I have been a fan since the age of 13, when it all started as a school project on agriculture around the world.

"Long before e-mail, I wrote letters to various worldwide manufacturers of agricultural machinery, but the only reply I got was from John Deere in the USA -- a man called Dick Sellon, who worked as an export co-ordinator at Moline and is now retired, wrote back to me and we still keep in touch.

"The rest is history. I have since visited various John Deere factories and facilities in the USA, Germany and England and have a collection of literature, photos, models and various merchandise pieces, as well as being the owner of two classic John Deere tractors from the 1980s -- a 2140 and a 2250 -- and a ride-on mower.

"A good friend of mine, Michael Hoey, is the owner of Country Crest Farming, and he and his brother Gabriel along with other friends in the farming community, including the Flynn family and Eamonn Murphy, have kindly allowed me to drive various John Deere tractors and machines over the years.

"Mr Hoey persuaded me to enter the competition after he saw an article in the paper," said Mr Gaffney

All the competition winning photos can be seen on the John Deere website at www.johndeere.co.uk/biggestfan.

Irish Independent