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More Optimism in Farm Country Since Election

November 18, 2016


I bring you this only as an unbiased observer/reporter…there is a noticeably more positive attitude in farm country since last Tuesday’s presidential election.

I covered 2 large farm machinery auctions this week in western Minnesota, one we filmed for our Machinery Pete TV show. Very good crowds at these auctions. As I’ve done for 27 years now, I talk to folks at the sale. Mostly I listen. We talk about lots of things, whatever is top of mind for folks on that day, in that area. What stood out to me this past week about these conversations?

Even with stubbornly low commodity prices, folks just seemed more upbeat looking ahead into 2017.

You could argue that collectively we’re all just happy to have that campaign season and its negative tone behind us. But what I’ve seen and heard the past 10 days is more than that. Heads are up just a bit.

An old friend of mine from northeast Iowa, a guy who farms, who buys and sells used equipment, who runs a local hay auction, relayed this to me the other via a Facebook message: “The last two weeks since the election the attitude has done a 180 out here. Farmers smiling, feeling things are gonna turn and optimistic for the first time in a while.”

An auctioneer friend of mine from rural Minnesota relayed a story from an auction they had (not a machinery sale) Nov. 9th, the day after the election: “People at the sale were smiling. No one was saying who they voted for, but the attitude was noticeably upbeat.”

Funny how powerful it can be to feel like you were listened to.

Folks are hopeful about meaningful change. The constant gridlock in Washington had gotten old many long years ago. That’s not to say there aren’t certainly reservations about what lies ahead, all the unknowns, but again, the vibe I’m getting is just overall more positive.

And I would add in I’ve been seeing the exact same slightly more positive attitude in the social media world in which I’ve lived the past 7 years. It took 5 or 6, maybe 7 days for the real heated, passionate back and forth posts to begin to quiet down a little bit, particularly on Facebook. Since then, like I said, just slightly more upbeat tone from farming folks on social media.

So, has the election result had an effect on used farm equipment values? Good question. What I would say is this, based solely on the mountains of actual auction sale price data we compile day by day from all points throughout North America….used values have remained surprisingly strong since the Nov. 8th election. Here’s proof the (2) farm auctions I covered last week in western Minnesota:



But I would add this…November to me is the optimal time of year to sell. Beat the rush. Buyers beginning to look ahead to the coming farming year. What do they need for their operation? Along come nice farm auctions with good condition used equipment on November sales. I’ve seen generally strong sale price trends on November machinery auctions going back to 2010. If I were retiring it’s when I’d have my sale.

Particularly nice to be a seller when buyers are feeling bit more optimistic about the future.

Again, I relay these thoughts to you as an unbiased observer. If we did get specific about feedback I’ve been hearing out there from folks I’d offer two points that have been crystal clear:

* Folks wanted change, real change

* The proposed higher estate tax of up to 65% espoused by candidate Clinton did not sit well…when the hand in your pocket goes in past the elbow….too far




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