"When I came to York in '76, the farm economy was kind of in the middle of the highs and lows that you get into. And it was good. There was nothing wrong with it. Then about '80, things just really got darned good. The price of land went up. There's no way it could support itself. But the people that bought it [land] had another piece of land or stuck their neck out [financially] and got to be really quite highly leveraged on what they bought.
     "Then we had – I think it was about 1983 or '84, the bottom dropped out. And it was a terrible time for agriculture because they were losing what they had. Anybody that was highly leveraged – and they had variable rates of interest, the interest rate went up – there was no way they could make their payments. So, history has told us what happened. The farm credits [agencies], they went broke. They went under. Then they took a lot of farmers with them. Made deals.
     "Then, by the way, that happened to be the best years I ever had in the implement business."
     [Question:] "Why?"
     "Because I was buying from all the credit corporations. I went through many states around here. Well, I went to Kansas, some Texas, Missouri, Iowa. And I would buy implements that were repossessed – combines, tractors – bring them back to York. Never had to lay off a man in all those times. And then we were able to recondition these machines and sell them for, oh, so much less than new. And they just would do a super job. Best years I ever had, financially and everything. It really was."
     [Question:] "Amazing."
     "It was great. I enjoyed it. It was fun. But then after that would take us towards the latter part of 1980s. Then we had that little [period] where it started coming back up. And then things were really pretty good again all the way through, I would say, right up until maybe 2000."

Jim Ermer – The Bust of the 80s


Other Excerpts from Jim Ermer’s Interview:

Government Subsidies
Jim's Immigrant Parents
Farm Equipment Brands
Tractor Technology
Planter Technology
Harvest Technology
Computers on the Farm
About David Wessels