"In 1959, you're probably looking at a combine – because I can recall a number of them that we bought at that time – you'd probably be looking in the area of $55- to $60,000 depending on how you had them equipped."
     [Question:] "Wholesale or retail?"
     "That would be a wholesale price."
     [Question:] "OK, and retail would be?"
     "Probably in the area of $65- to $70,000."
     [Question:] "OK, and now?"
     "You've got to qualify it now. The combine is, oh, it's three to four times higher, but it might do twice as much work. A combine – Well, I'll just cite you an instance of a unit that was just sold down at our place. Just a bare combine without the corn head, without anything else, $250,000. Then you add another $60,000 for the corn head and another $30,000 for the platform. So it really has changed."
     [Question:] "And what's the platform?"
     "The platform is what you cut small grain, mainly like soybeans and wheat…
     "We used to sell – our most popular was a six row [planter], four rows and six rows. Then it went into a lot of six rows and eight rows. Now it's almost no six rows. They're either eight or 12."
     [Question:] "Why has that changed? Why is the equipment getting so much larger?"
     "Bigger farmers. A lot less farmers."
     [Question:] "Why are farmers having to be bigger?"
     "It's just kind of the way it goes. In other words, the cream on the top get bigger and the smaller one finds another job, is a weekend farmer or gets out."

Jim Ermer – Harvest Technology


Other Excerpts from Jim Ermer’s Interview:

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