Valley Truck & Tractor is in the middle of “big ag” country in California, where large operations grow corn, wheat and tomatoes. The dealership is also seeing growth in the small acreage segment.
“In the last 5-6 years, we’ve seen a continuing growth in the small ag segment. Individuals may be subsidized with another income and they are purchasing property outside of town — 5-20 acres,” says Mick Dinsdale, salesperson for Valley Truck & Tractor, a John Deere dealership with 9 locations in northern California. Farm Equipment, Rural Lifestyle Dealer's sister magazine, recently named Valley Truck & Tractor its Dealership of the Year in the over $75 million in annual revenues category.
The dealership has been supporting the trend in its area by working with the Center for Land-Based Learning, a non-profit organization that loans equipment and leases land to small farmers. Most recently, it worked with the center on a special rent-to-own program for a John Deere 5065 E tractor and loader.
“They came to us with the need for a tractor and loader, but had to stay within a budget because of grant money. They were looking for a lease, but didn’t have the funds to do it, so we were able to work within their budget,” says Dinsdale. “We set up a special rent-to-own plan for 2 years. They have the option to purchase it or walk away. They are under no obligation if something happens to their program or its funding.”
Dinsdale says one of his large ag customers serves on the center’s board, so it was a natural fit for them to support the program as a way to support agriculture at any size. He says dealerships have the opportunity to offer much expertise to new farmers. “What I’ve found is that small farms and micro-farms are heavily reliant on the dealership for parts and service as well as equipment. They can get recommendations and specialized equipment they might not find anywhere else,” he says.
To learn more, read "Finding Opportunities in the Small Farming Trend" from Rural Lifestyle Dealer's archives.