Farm Equipment Dealers say: "Build it, we'll sell it!"
By Michael P. Libbie, Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications
Many of you know that our agency tends to specialize in rural and agricultural type clients. During the past several months there has been a number of articles written suggesting that farm equipment sales for 2006 - 2007 would be sluggish. We thought we'd ask somebody that is very close to the dealer network and find out the real story.
Forget the "nay-sayers". For those of you who manufacture short line farm equipment the remainder of 2006 and at least through 2007 dealers are predicting excellent sales. We caught up with Andy Goodman, Executive Vice President of the Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association following their annual membership meeting and in Andy's words, "Things are looking great!"
Various articles over the past few months suggest agricultural dealers may be facing some tough economic times. Goodman says those predictions were premature. "Mid-year our member dealers were concerned with the 2006 outlook because of a lack of rain, the worry about an adequate harvest and generally depressed Ag conditions. However, all that has turned around over the past three to four months", says Goodman. The reason? He gave us a two-word answer: "Renewable Fuels". The fact that farmers are now getting $3.40 a bushel for corn has given our dealers a shot of optimism that they feel will carry them for the next several years."
Goodman also said his member dealers have taken advantage of the agricultural diversification taking place all across the Midwest. "Corn, soybeans and small grains have been the staple of Midwestern agriculture for years. Today we are seeing producers take on non-traditional crops that use vastly different pieces of machinery." One example Goodman points to is the phenomenal increase in wineries. "Currently we have over 70 active wineries in Iowa with another 23 in Nebraska. That was a market that did not exist for our dealers until very recently. This diversification allows our member dealers to sell new types of equipment that bolster their existing lines." (History Factoid: Until early in the 20th century Iowa was the leading wine manufacturing state in the United States. Good soil, and better grape varieties are some reasons for the resurgence of the industry.)
In addition to different crops, the region has also seen a major increase in the number of acreages and small farms producing a number of products outside of the corn and soybean world. Yet another emerging market for equipment dealers has been machinery designed to replenish food plots and other conservation programs. Farmers and non-farmers have taken on the responsibility to restore food and ground cover sites for upland hunting.
Goodman and his member dealers are "upbeat" with the promise of an excellent final quarter and a very positive looking new year. "Agricultural dealers are not predicting a sad and gloomy future and we see no reason that manufacturers should be any different."
If your dealership or manufacturing industry would like some help in marketing and advertising your products and services tot he existing and emerging markets we invite you to give us a call. We know those markets and together we can grow your brand and your business.