The JGW Story
JGW was started by a talented young man with outstanding machinery know-how, determination and the ultimate goal of getting back on the land himself one day.
Like many in the agriculture industry, Jeremy Whitty experienced a baptism of fire starting his own business in a monumental drought with no backing.
The business started out as a one-man agricultural machinery servicing operation and has now grown into JGW – a local family owned and operated dealership with branches in both Cowra and Wagga.
Taking in a massive area of Central and South West NSW and growing, JGW is now a dealer for Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Challenger, Gleaner, Valtra, Iseki, Simplicity, John Shearer, Lely, Goldacres, Croplands, Midwest, and Topcon Precision AG. They also service agricultural equipment of all makes and models, along with supply and retail of spare parts.
This is the JGW story…
It Started with Jeremy…
A local Gooloogong boy, Jeremy grew up on “Bodalla” a 1,500-acre, second generation, mixed grazing, merino wool property with complementary cropping and a small piggery.
Jeremy attended Gooloogong Public school and went on to Canowindra High. He took up an apprenticeship after completing year 10 in 1993 with Stephen Farley Machinery in Cowra.
“I learnt a lot during the eight years at Farley’s,” Jeremy outlined. “Field service was huge in that role and it formed a large part of building many of the relationships in the area that still exist today.”
At Farley’s and in his next role as Service Manager for McClintock’s then moving to Forbes to work for Forbes Machinery as their Combine Harvester specialist – Jeremy soon developed a reputation as one of the country’s leading agricultural technicians with a specialty on Combine Harvesters.
“On the farm, I was always drawn towards operating machinery. I lived to drive tractors and headers. I took every opportunity I could to tinker with machinery under the guidance of my Dad & Uncles who were very mechanically minded,” Jeremy recalled.
Just like farming is a calling and being a stockman is in your blood, diesel also seems to run through the veins of some.
“I was often kicked out of the stockyards for not having enough patience with the sheep. Give me a toolbox and a piece of machinery and I could happily spend hours,” Jeremy laughed.
Taking the Plunge
After being in the industry for 12 years, Jeremy was flat-out on weekends doing a lot of specialist header and machinery repairs on request.
“With two years of weekend work under my belt, I could see there was a market for a specialist on-farm repair service,” Jeremy explained.
“I drove around and talked to a few people about it. I then sold my pride and joy, my old Harley Davidson Shovel Head, and with $10,000 in my pocket, a toolbox and an old ute that I was still paying off – I took the plunge.
“I actually watched a business documentary which gave me the best piece of advice. It outlined that if you are going to have a crack in business on your own – you need to do it while you are in your 20’s. I knew I just had to do it now!”
On the Up & Up
At 27 years of age, Jeremy canned his plans to buy a house and threw himself fully into his new venture. He rented half a shed in Cowra to operate out of. Six months later he employed his brother-in-law as a truck mechanic.
In the next six months, he managed to take on the lease of the rest of the shed and employ his youngest brother Simon as an apprentice – a move he says was one of his best business decisions to date. Jeremy believes Simon could be an even better technician than himself bringing an added element to the business in his outstanding knowledge of electronics.
“It definitely wasn’t easy going,” Jeremy said. “We had a lot of tough years opening with 12 years of dry conditions. We were always investing money back into the business to make it grow and facing cashflow challenges. The banks didn’t want to lend us money, but we got through with our long-term vision.
“Coming from a farming background, we understood there are always going to be highs and lows in an industry that is weather and commodity driven. There were a few sleepless nights for sure.”
Full Steam Ahead with AGCO
The business focused on servicing combine harvesters and tractors to begin with and a solid customer base quickly grew. Customers began coming from as far as the QLD border to have their harvester preseason serviced.
A parts department was created and a spare parts person was employed. JGW took on Donaldson Filters, Fuchs Lubricants and a long list of parts distribution as required.
By 2009, JGW was now a well recognised service centre with a reputation in quality repairs and service. It was at this time, JGW also took on the AGCO brands – Massey Ferguson, Gleaner and Valtra to become a full machinery dealership.
A new larger facility was essential to keep up with the workload. The McFeeters Wool Store became available and the development of a state of the art workshop and showroom began.
“I remember walking into the huge empty space of McFeeters and thinking that we could never fill this shed,” Jeremy explained. “In our second year in the new facility, we had an enormous run with new harvesters and actually were the highest selling AGCO dealer for 2010.
“By 2011 we added the Wagga Wagga branch to the dealership. With all AGCO brands; Massey Ferguson, Gleaner, Fendt, Iseki, Challenger, Valtra in the lineup.
“JGW have taken the Massey Ferguson machinery range to the Riverina to many satisfied customers. In January 2017, AGCO made the decision to allocate the full line Massey Ferguson range to our Cowra dealership, this included Tractors & Hay machinery.
“In March 2018, JGW Cowra was allocated the Fendt franchise with a new larger territory to support, this includes Forbes, Bathurst, Orange and Cowra.
“With AGCO’s continued investments in research and development and new state of the art factories, the brands we now can offer to farmers is second to none.”
Building a Business on Service, Reliability and Trust
“A big part of our business is building trust in our brand and trust with the people we are dealing with,” Jeremy outlined.
“Trust and ethics is key to JGW and it is definitely what people migrate towards. What many businesses don’t understand is that you don’t get second opportunities in the tight-knit agricultural community.
“Service and customer support is the core of our company philosophy. We work hard to maintain and always improve the service we provide to the customer.
“Our service reputation stands out. If you buy something from us – we will give you 100 percent service!
“We have an ethical approach to business. Honesty and integrity is important to us and we are well known and respected in the industry for it. Customers for life are based on that.”
“Our staff undergo regular training courses to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest technologies and processes.
“We put a lot of emphasis on up-to-date factory training. Our ability to diagnose and repair along with the high-level electronics and hydraulics work we carry out is second to none.
“Customers have direct access to department Managers to discuss everything. Every customer comment is taken seriously. We listen so we can improve!”
Family Owned and Run
“We are a family owned business, with a family approach to our staff and customers. We now employ 25 staff members – all with a strong background in the industry,” Jeremy outlined.
“At JGW, we understand that the staff are the business. We work hard to keep both the staff and therefore our customers satisfied.”
JGW – Where to From Here?
Jeremy says he doesn’t get “on the tools” much these days, but still enjoys getting out and about on-farm.
“My favourite part of the job is still getting out on the farms,” he said. “I enjoy selling, but I get the biggest buzz delivering the equipment that we sell. Seeing where and how the equipment is going to be put to work is definitely a highlight of my week.
“Developing an appreciation of Massey and Fendt in the region has also been rewarding. These machines have come such a long way in the past ten years and now represent superior value for money on so many levels.
“Expansion is always on the horizon for JGW with our reach pushing west into the Forbes region this year and a longer-term expansion east into Orange and Bathurst.”
One day, Jeremy is still looking to get back onto the farm himself to run a few sheep and cattle.
“Buying property myself has always been the driver behind what I have done,” he outlined. “We’d love to establish a mixed operation – bit of hay, bit of cropping. I guess a good excuse to get out and use the machinery that I sell!”