Ag machinery parts and service a national priority
Kim Rominger put it bluntly. “In order for crops to be planted, harvested, and brought to market, our members and their employees are critical. No crops means no food, no meats, no fruits, no vegetables . . . nothing to eat. Machinery needs to be maintained, repaired, and key parts must be on hand and accessible,” says the head of the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA).
The EDA along with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) sent letters to all of the 50 state governors asking them to designate machinery manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and service technicians as essential to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At a time when farmers are preparing for a new planting season, contractors are looking to build and maintain critical infrastructure assets, and utilities are working to keep homes and hospitals powered, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the equipment and parts, as well as the repair and maintenance services they need to perform these functions,” the letter stated.
At a local level, equipment dealers are making changes so business can go on without interruption. Dozens of dealers are encouraging farmers to order parts online and then make arrangements to have parts set outside the dealership for pickup or delivered to farms. “Simply call or text when you are at the store, and we will be glad to bring the parts outside to your vehicle,” Mike Hedge of Birkey’s Farm Store in Urbana, Illinois, told customers.
S&H Farm Supply in Lockwood, Missouri, has gone further with what the firm’s president, Eric Schnelle, calls EQ Buy options. “Customers can call or text what they want, fill out our online credit application, or call with the info, and we can deliver the unit to them and do all paperwork on delivery,” Schnelle offers.
“Need a parts diagram? Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to email it to you for reference,” offers Farmers Equipment of Urbana, Elida, and Lakeview, Ohio.
And as for equipment that needs to be serviced, an increasing number of dealers are offering to make arrangements entirely over the phone or online, including taking credit card payment. Equipment can be dropped off for servicing, after which vehicle cabs will be sanitized.
“Still want to test drive that tractor?” asks the Farmers Equipment website. “You’re more than welcome to, with our sales team a safe distance away and in a welcoming and open-air environment. And, we’ll make sure to sanitize the unit before and after you test-drive.”