California stands alone when it comes to environmental issues and the impact on agriculture. As difficult and irrational as they may seem, Clayton Camp, president of Kern Machinery with John Deere farm equipment dealerships in Bakersfield, Buttonwillow and Delano, Calif., says they present opportunities to help customers.

Not too long ago, his dealership learned a lesson that they will remember and have taken to heart.

At one time, the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) had funding programs to replace older tractors that put out high levels of emissions.

“I had a customer, a friend who bought a red tractor. I asked him ‘Why did you buy the red tractor?’

“He told me it was because a salesman at another dealership walked him through the NRCS program and told him how he could save money buying a new tractor. He felt obligated to buy a tractor from him.”

Where Kern Machinery’s sales people normally shined in situations like this, they stumbled in this case. It was a wake-up call.

“It reminded all of us that we need to be engaged, paying attention and interested in our customers’ business,” Camp says. “It’s all about having passion for the industry, passion for serving our customers, and not sitting on our hands.”