The extra large doors in its service department are a good indication that Kern Machinery’s Delano, Calif., location wasn’t necessarily built for the equipment that it specializes in today. “Our shop was actually built solely for cotton pickers. We’ve gotten away from the larger tractors and cotton pickers,” says Matt Godinho, sales manager of the store. As a matter of fact, when I came here 17 years ago we had 4 slightly used cotton pickers for sale. The last one we had was probably 12 years ago. I repossessed that one.”
Today, the area around Delano is “wall-to-wall grapes and almonds,” Godinho says.
The product mix today consists largely of narrow tractors in the 90-115 horsepower range and everything having to do with growing almonds. “We sell the full line needed to harvest almonds from start to finish. From shaking the tree, sweeping the nuts into a row, picking it up off the ground and the elevator that puts it in the truck.”
Godinho also oversees sales for North Kern Motorsports, which shares Kern Machinery’s Delano facility. Separated by a wall, but accessible from the ag equipment showroom, North Kern Motorsports is a full service shop specializing in motorcycles and ATVs. Their primary lines include Honda, Yamaha and Beta.
“In ag sales we go out and get the customer. With motorsports, we bring them into the store,” says Godinho. Growers make up a significant base for the motorsports equipment as they do for the ag equipment, he says.
“We do have some fun bikes that are pretty good. We get good traffic from the general public who come up from Bakersfield 30 miles away. But our utility quads are primarily used by growers,” he says. “They use them instead of pickups or other vehicles to check orchards and irrigation equipment.”
According to Godinho, North Kern Motorsports is one of the top sellers of Honda quads in its district, which includes Los Angeles. “In a good year, we’ll move between 200-300 quads.
“The Honda research and development team, the people who design and develop new products, was out here recently. They don’t know much about farming, so we took them out to visit with some of our customers. We were able to supply them with some very good information that they’ll use to come up with new products for agriculture,” says Godinho.