Notes From Owen



Trade tensions and tariff wars….New worries for American agriculture.  There is little doubt that the US has been taken advantage of by our trading partners around the world for many years, and most especially, by the Republic of China.  It is very unfortunate however, that American agriculture is shouldering more than its fair share of the burden, especially our soybean, beef and pork producers. Hopefully, trade talks between China and the US are fruitful, trade resumes and the grains resume the solid upward trend that was in place prior to the announcement of trade tariffs in early June.   One would hope this all could happen by the time harvest wraps-up later this fall, but who knows.

Tariffs, on the other hand, have an even more direct impact on agriculture as they have especially impacted steel and aluminum prices….both major components in the manufacture of most farm implements.   With a very few exceptions, tariffs have already impacted pricing on the products we sell….both Deere and non-Deere equipment, where we have seen surcharges and direct price increases in the 5-10% range that are directly attributed to rising raw material cost increases.

Add to the trade and tariff issues and their negative impact on commodity prices; rising interest rates; a shortage of both skilled and non-skilled labor; rising crude oil prices; and major freight and logistics issues caused by a severe driver shortage……Hold it.   Time for a time-out! It is easy to get caught-up in everything that we can’t control. Let’s focus on managing what we can control….Yield, Uptime and Productivity….the things that drive your cost of production. Harvest season is here. This is when all the hard work and investment you have been making all year comes together.   Harvest is when you find out what worked well….And, what did not work so well!

As I have said many times before, “Data” is the key to farming differently and harvest yield data is a key piece of information that can be used to “farm differently, next year.   I don’t mean farming differently in a negative sense….What I mean by farming differently is taking all the data that you have collected during the growing season and using it to make decisions that allow you to farm differently next season with the goal to increase yields and/or reduce costs.   These are decisions that are within your control and can positively impact your bottom line.

We here at 21st Century Equipment are happy to review your options for acquiring, calibrating, storing and transmitting your yield data, depending on the age of your combine.   We believe the data you create has value and helping you manage that data depends on our mutual relationship built on integrity and trust. It is YOUR data, but sharing that data with your trusted business advisors further increases the value of that data to you.   Our role is to make sure your data is handled with strict confidence and only shared with people on your advisory team that you trust.

In closing, I want to thank you for your business.   I hope that you agree we bring long-term value to our mutual business relationship.    As I’ve said many times, our success depends on your success! On behalf of everyone here at 21st Century Equipment, we wish you a safe, successful and bountiful harvest.


Owen Palm