What was Learned at the 2015 Farm Progress Show

I am pleased to announce that today we have a guest blogger, who is not only an industry pro but also the Principal & Chief here at INTEGRIS Group! The man I am speaking of is Andy Berberich.  Coming from a dynamic engineering background encompassing Testing, Bio, Agricultural, Mechanical and Legal Engineering projects, Andy formed INTEGRIS to provide value to those he works with.  Andy enjoys sitting down and conversing with clients to learn more about their products, ideas, and goals in order to have a sound understanding of how we can help them.  In his free time, Andy enjoys Auto Racing, Volunteering and was recently named to the Central Illinois 40 under 40.  Andy (along with INTEGRIS’ Dir. of Business Operations, Eric Myers) recently attended the 2015 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois and the following post is what he gathered from his experience while in attendance.  Enjoy!

What I learned at the 2015 Farm Progress Show

INTEGRIS Group develops and supports products across a diverse range of industries. In order to effectively support and develop the products, we must stay in tune with the industry trends, challenges and opportunities. The best place to stay in touch with the industry is by attending industry shows and symposiums. This month, Eric and I attend the 2015 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. As we heroed through the 90 plus degree weather, here are the highlights of what we learned by talking to different exhibitors.

  • Overall, everyone is hopefully optimistic that the agricultural industry will climb out of its slump. It’s hard to say if it has hit bottom yet, but there are pockets that seem to be doing well. Replacement parts seem to be doing the best because farmers are hesitant to make any large capital purchases. Capital purchases under $30,000 aren’t uncommon, with small tractors being a pretty popular purchase. Purchases between $30,000 and $50,000 seem to be doing okay as well. Combines, large sprayers, and large tillage tractor purchases are pretty stagnant and there doesn’t seem to be much positive movement on the horizon until confidence is built back up.
  • There is a large variance between the productivity of commodity products like corn and beans across the Midwest. The story in Iowa is the complete opposite of the story in Ohio. Iowa is on track to have a very productive harvest, with Illinois being slightly less, Indiana less than Illinois and parts of Ohio really taking a beating. On aggregate, it’s going to be an okay year, but there are always winners and losers and this seems to be trending from West to East, respectively.
  • Several exhibitors follow the agriculture show scene across the country. One person explained when he was in Texas, they didn’t even know the industry was in a downturn. Texas isn’t tied to the commodity products like we are in the Midwest. Hay, forage, and livestock are their primary products and they are less susceptible to the government regulations and industry manipulation. This portion of the industry seems to be doing pretty well.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and farming with data has been a growing topic amongst the industry and especially next generation farmers. With the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) not defining acceptable applications for UAVs, aerial ag products are being funded by individual investors since using UAVs in commercial applications is technically in violation of FAA laws. There have been some changes in the past year, this was the case at the 2014 Aerial Ag Show in Decatur, IL. The aerial ag companies are trying to determine where the market is going without having customers and getting customer feedback. There is also a wide range of products being offered. Some companies take off the shelf components and freeware and market it for the application. Others are developing purpose-built hardware and software. Only time will tell who will come out ahead in this race to aerial ag domination.

Overall, there was a steady flow of attendees and there was a lot to see. I even ran into some farmers from my hometown in Southern Illinois and got the chance to catch up with a friend that I used to work with at Caterpillar and was glad to hear that he is doing well. As for the industry, we are hopeful and optimistic and look forward getting back to feeding the world.

Andy had a great experience (besides the brutal heat) while he attended the Farm Progress Show! INTEGRIS is involved with projects in many different industries, and the agriculture industry is one main focus here at our East Peoria, IL Headquarters.  All in all, it was a positive trip for both Andy and Eric as they gathered beneficial information on the Ag industry and market standings and were able to network with fellow industry professionals.  Great day had by all!  Did you attend the Farm Progress Show in Decatur this year? If you did, we want to hear about your experience! Leave us a note in the comments, or visit our Facebook Page, Twitter Page, or our LinkedIn Page to share your experience with us!

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