I made a quick stop at the 2009 National Farm Machinery show on my way to the airport on Saturday. I had a chance to meet with Tammy Wecksler, Massey Ferguson’s marketing communications manager, before the day’s events really got under way. Tammy and I had a marvelous conversation about upcoming Massey compact tractors, the rural lifestyle market and life in general. Stay tuned for more on Massey’s new releases.
The mood at the 2009 National Farm Machinery Show was optimistic. Most folks whose product line serves the rural lifestyle reported no, or minimal, layoffs. Some companies were committed to making adjustments through attrition by not filling vacant positions. Most corporate folks I spoke with had at least one extra hat added to their portfolio of duties, but all were optimistic that the economic pain would ease in the next year or so.
The mood of show goers at the 2009 National Farm Machinery Show was equally optimistic. Hundreds of thousands of people streamed past booths large and small. Orders were up on larger pieces of equipment, and they were holding steady on the machines geared toward the rural lifestyle market. I see this as a sign that when it comes to getting the most out of your property, people are still willing to risk a large purchase in these less-certain economic times.
A few more cautious individuals suggested that the economic-slowdown bull ride was just beginning. Their approach was to hold on for dear life in anticipation of the ride of their lives. I suspect that the reality of our current situation is somewhere between the very optimistic and the pessimistic. Much of any economic crisis boils down to attitude and perception. If the American farmer is any indication, it looks like better times are right around the corner.
My flights took off and landed without a hitch on the way home to Kansas. I was communing with the pigs by 4:30 p.m., just in time for a nice Valentine's Day evening with Kate at the farm.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.