Covering many ag retail/equipment-oriented events, I normally don’t get to interact that often with growers. However, once each year, virtually the entire agricultural community gathers for one week in Louisville, KY, to attend the annual National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS). Here, approximately 500,000 people from all corners of the ag market get together to look at equipment, share stories and hear about the latest issues from friends, co-workers and suppliers.
And plenty of these visitors are growers, many with their whole families in tow. Listening to them talk with equipment makers about their products (or oftentimes telling them how their machines could be improved) can be eye-opening. In many years, grower enthusiasm going into the upcoming is usually tempered with the comments of a handful of naysayers.
But not this year. No matter where I went at the 2013 NFMS, growers were universally upbeat about how 2013 will play out for them.
“This should be another great year,” I overheard one grower tell an equipment representative. “If 2012 didn’t kill our ability to make money, I don’t see what will.”
Equipment exhibitors at the event told a similar tale. Most were already swamped with orders for 2013, with more coming in from show attendees. “Right now, if a customer orders a product from us today, we could get it to them by the end of May,” said one company representative. “But I’ve heard that some other equipment makers aren’t promising delivery before the end of summer or later.”
So grower-customers are in a good mood, meaning they are looking to spend money for the upcoming season. Equipment makers are taking orders and doing the best they can to keep pace with demand for their products.
Overall, I think this bodes very well for ag retailers as we head into the 2013 growing season.