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[Question:] "How much of the farmer's income and also yours, then, is dependent on the government?"
     "Oh, the farmers, when the years were down, [government programs made a] total difference between having a substantial loss to actually making a little profit. To us, absolutely none except what it means to the farmer. We can't, we don't – We are not subsidized in any way by the government, but our customers are. So, it affects us directly. So, how much does government subsidies mean to us? A lot, even though we don't get a dime. Our saying is, we hope that the – When Mr. Farmer goes to the mailbox and gets his subsidy check and after he buys his new pickup, he has something left for us. And they usually, the good ones do."
     [Question:] "So pickups are more important than a tractor?"
     "Well, you know it is to a farmer. To some it is. The good ones have both."
     [Question:] "How closely then do you track government programs?"
     "Oh, quite closely. We have to. It means a lot because it means just about as much to us as it does to our customer, who is a farmer…"
     [Question:] "How much has OSHA affected your business?"
     "Quite a bit. And all the things that OSHA has done, some of them are very good. It's protecting people. Some of the other things that they have done, somebody that went on a bandwagon is totally counter-productive. That's my personal opinion.
     [Question:] "Can you give me an example?"
     "Well, sure I can. We sell bulk oil. And when we went into bulk oil all I had to do was have the fire marshal come out here. Oil, if it hasn't been gone through a motor or something else is just about as pure as anything you can get. Well, now with our bulk oil, our tanks, they say what we must do is put a waterproof base underneath it, a dike around it that will more than hold what the capacity of the tanks that we have in it. And it's really not needed, but that's the law. And we have to do it. In our shops, waste oil, we used to do a lot. And we burned all of our waste oil. And waste oil is contaminated. It's a hazard, there's no question about it. But when you burn it, and you heat your shops, and that's what we use it for. We have three different shops and we heat them all with waste oil. Quite frankly right now, we can't get any waste oil from anyone else but just whatever we produce ourselves. Now the reasoning for that is, I guess, they're worried that somebody might bring it in and, transporting it, he might spill some. And they have a possible real issue there. But its not like we're in the big city."

Jim Ermer – Government Subsidies

   

Other Excerpts from Jim Ermer’s Interview:

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