Many Wisconsin farmers reported a bumper crop this year, but it’s not translating into record profits. According to the Wisconsin Farmers Union, low commodity prices and consolidation within the agriculture industry is a big part of the problem.
Back when I was farming with my father, there were about two dozen different tractor and ag equipment dealers and service centers within around 15 miles of our farm. There were dealers or service people in almost every small town and city all around us; Clark Mills, Whitelaw, Reedsville, Valders, Michicot, Keil, Forest Junction, Hilbert, Chilton… Pretty much every little town had either a dealer or an independent service facility.
Today your choices are one of four mega-dealers who have pretty much taken over the entire ag equipment market in three counties or more.
Competition basically doesn’t exist any more. If you don’t like the prices at a particular tractor dealer, think you’re getting shafted on repair bills, well, too bad, Charlie, there’s no where else you can go.
Same is true with feed companies, fertilizer sales, seed sales… Competition pretty much doesn’t exist any longer. Your choices are limited to one of an ever decreasing number of suppliers, and that’s it. If you think you’re being overcharged, think you aren’t being given a good deal, well, go somewhere else.
Only there isn’t somewhere else…