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.”