Hoping For A Great 2016
Happy new year, everyone! I’ll be one of the first to admit that I couldn’t wait for 2015 to be over — and talking with others in the market, I’m apparently not alone in this view.
No matter what way you look at it, 2015 was one of the most brutal years the agricultural marketplace ever faced. Commodity prices stayed down (despite plenty of crop losses in the Midwest) and grower-customer income was cut in half from its 2014 total. All-in-all, much of the news from ag equipment companies in 2015 was mostly negative. In fact, according to data from the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (ELFF), equipment and software investment in 2015 grew only 1.7%, the slowest annual growth rate since 2013. Even more discouraging, this report predicts that investment in agricultural machinery for first half of 2016 will remain “weak.”
Still, the foundation estimates overall equipment and software investment in 2016 should improve from its 2015 performance, with overall growth hitting 4.4% by year end. “This outlook for 2016 projects decent, but not robust, equipment finance growth in the coming year,” said ELFF CEO William Sutton in a statement. “Navigating a changing marketplace, the equipment finance industry will adapt to economic and policy shifts as it always has — and will continue to find new opportunities for growth.”
I’m certain my friends in the ag retail equipment marketplace would echo these sentiments. So here’s hoping that 2016 will bring a much needed uptick to the agricultural industry! At the very least, let’s hope the struggles of 2015 are behind us all.