- Many changes have been taking place in Oregon's agriculture.
Average size of farms has increased. The trend is toward fewer
but larger, highly mechanized farms, leading to changed demand
for farm machinery and consequently changes in farm machinery
firms to meet the changing demands of farmers. In general, the
research question of interest was: "What are the most effective and
efficient ways farm machinery firms might adjust to the changing
demands of farmers for used farm machinery and related products
The specific purposes of this study were to 1) evaluate farmers'
and dealers' attitudes and preferences relative to guarantees on used
equipment, farm service centers and information services, 2) to
evaluate inconsistencies between farmers and dealer attitudes and
preferences, and 3) to evaluate which of selected farm, farmer,
dealer, and dealership characteristics may or may not be related to
respective attitudes and preferences of farmers and dealers.
Farm machinery dealers in Oregon, Washington and Western
Idaho were sent questionnaires. Questionnaires were also sent to a
sample of all Oregon farmers. The relationships of interest were
tested for significance via a computerized contingency analysis.
The farmers' attitudes and preferences suggest strongly that
gross sales of used equipment could be increased if machinery dealers
would provide guarantees more acceptable to farmers. Apparently,
smaller farmers in particular might be induced to purchase more used
equipment if guarantees were more acceptable to them. Farmers in
general indicated a preference for used equipment guarantees that
cover all breakdowns for a longer period, with larger farmers preferring
guarantees covering only major breakdowns.
Farmers were divided as to whether used equipment guarantees
should cover all or half the labor costs of repairing breakdowns, but
felt more strongly that guarantees should cover all parts costs. They
were also divided as to whether the guarantee period should be 30, 60
or 90 days. Dealers, however, strongly preferred guarantees covering
30 days and 1/2 the labor and parts costs. Farmers preferred to
have more acceptable guarantees rather than lower prices, which
suggests a willingness to pay some price for the added services.
Farmers indicated farm service centers would be more convenient
for them. Smaller farmers were more inclined than larger farmers
to prefer doing business with a farm service center. The study
indicates about 2/5 of a service centers' customers would be within 25
miles and 4/5 within 50 miles.
Farmers much preferred to have service centers house competing
suppliers of products and services, and decidedly felt the service
center should be located outside the city limits of towns. Farmers
were divided as to whether the service center should be operated as a
farmers' cooperative, as independent business or as a combination of
Three fourths or more of the farmers preferred that farm service
centers carry the following products, listed in order of priority,
highest priority first: Farm machinery; fertilizer; chemicals; hardware
and power tools; tires, batteries and accessories; and feed, followed
closely by a preference for a blacksmith and machine shop, and
Farmers indicated a substantial preference for machinery related
information/educational services, with primary preference for
material relating to machinery and equipment maintenance, minor engine
repairs, equipment leasing and engine tune-ups. The information/
educational services appealed particularly to larger farmers,
farmers planning larger machinery expenditures and younger farmers.