When we launched the Progressive Farmer Reader Insights program earlier this year, our goal was to gather more than just information about the color of iron farmers and ranchers buy and use on their operations. We wanted to go much deeper and ask about your overall ownership experiences, owner loyalty and brands you evaluated having the fewest problems.
Admittedly, we were a bit anxious with this first-of-its-kind survey. Frankly, we didn't know what level of response to expect. Our apprehension soon turned to applause. Your participation has been overwhelming, and for that, we thank you.
The enthusiastic response reinforces how passionate you are about the equipment you own and operate, and your willingness to state your opinions so we can share the information with other farmers. Another purpose of the program is to amplify your voice so the equipment manufacturers can use the survey's insights in the development of future products.
We've collaborated with SOCAL Approach Marketing and Consulting Group, an expert in the marketing research industry, to develop the Progressive Farmer Reader Insights program. Their guidance has been invaluable, as well as that from other farmers and machinery manufacturers who helped to fact-check questions in the surveys.
In our July 2020 issue (page 24), we released the first round of results from the study. Nearly 2,000 owners supplied detailed information on more than 7,000 tractors in three categories: Small Tractors (less than 100 hp), Medium Tractors (100 hp to 235 hp) and Large Tractors (236 hp and above).
On page 18 of this issue, you'll learn how you and your peers evaluated combines, pull-type planters and drills in our current study. In all, farmers evaluated nearly 2,300 pieces of equipment. Top assessments in various areas were given to multiple equipment manufacturers.
But, our study shows it's not just the color of the equipment that influences a farmer's purchasing decision. As was pointed out in July's tractor survey, the dealership relationship is critical. In the evaluations that were returned in our latest survey, 80% indicated dealers are somewhat or very important to a farmer's final purchasing decision for combines. The ease that farmers can do much of the maintenance themselves also plays a role in the choice of brand of equipment growers choose.
Plans are underway to expand the program to add more categories in 2021. If you receive a survey in the mail or a notification to complete it via email or social media, I encourage you to do so. Your evaluations are invaluable to other farmers and the farm-equipment industry. Look for future announcements in the months ahead.
> Write Gregg Hillyer, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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