[Question:] "Why is it that farmers tend to be red or green [Case IH or John Deere owners]?"
     "Well, the name of the game for whatever brand you have is the ability to get service, parts and service. And there's more John Deere and International Harvester [or] Case International dealers than anything else, particularly in our locale. And a lot of machinery is very good, but if you can't service it or fix it you can have a real problem…
     "And most of our customers do have some mix."
     [Question:] "Really?"
     "Oh, yeah."
     [Question:] "I didn't think that was the case. I thought everybody was either one or the other."
     "Well, you have some that are just right down the middle of the road. But you have a lot of other farmers that have some of each. Predominately, it's usually one or the other."
     [Question:] "Is it a risky business?"
     "Oh, [for] a lot of people, it's a risky business, there's no question about it. You're so subject to climatic changes. You're subject to government subsidies. And then kind of what's hot. Just like we're saying now – You've heard so much about corn and ethanol [creating good prices]. Who would have thought that five years ago? You'd better be ready to go with the flow because it's changing and it's changing I think more now than when I started. I don't think there's any question about that."
     [Question:] "Interesting. This is interesting to me because I asked you how risky your business was, and you ended up telling me now risky the farmers' business is, right?"
     "Yeah, that's our business. Whatever the farmer – what's good for him is good for us. If they have a tough time, we have a tougher time because we have more inventory than they do, and we've got to satisfy for it."
     [Question:] "Take me through a list of things that you will sell in a typical year."
     "OK. Well start with tractors. We'll always say that's basically number one. Number two – I'll probably go with values – combines, corn head, platform or whatever combine goes with it. Probably number three now would be planting equipment. Tillage equipment, [we sell] some. That had a huge turnabout. You've heard about it and you read about no-till, minimum-till, ridge-till. All that that means is to eliminate trips through the field and costly equipment that digs the ground up and lets the moisture escape. And that's really – History has proven that."

Jim Ermer – Farm Equipment Brands


Other Excerpts from Jim Ermer’s Interview:

The Bust of the 80s
Government Subsidies
Jim's Immigrant Parents
Tractor Technology
Planter Technology
Harvest Technology
Computers on the Farm
About David Wessels