“Just one word … plastics.”

I’ve been thinking about that famous movie line from the classic 1967 film “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman. What got me thinking about it and what’s hot for the future, was a trip I took down to Stuttgart, Ark., last week to visit with the good folks at Greenway Equipment Inc., a large John Deere dealer (27 locations) in eastern Arkansas and southeast Missouri. We were filming an “On the Road with Machinery Pete” segment for an upcoming episode of U.S. Farm Report TV show.

Plastics were the one word future in 1967. Here in 2016 the one word future is drones.

This is true even when it comes to the used farm equipment biz.

For more than 3 years now I’ve been talking and writing quite a lot on the subject of “personalizing” the used equipment you are trying to sell to make it worth more money to potential buyers. Why I’ve been relentless in talking about this topic is because I’ve been witnessing it in action now for 27 years covering all types of farm machinery auctions as I have across North America.

What type of auction always produces the highest value for the equipment being sole? It’s a farm retirement or estate sale where all the local folks know, love and respect the owner who is retiring or passed away — a guy well known for his pride in the great care he’s given to his equipment over the years.

It’s personal. Buyers know the seller and the stuff sells for more money.

And it’s guys like the Petter brothers in Stuttgart, Ark. Robert and David Petter are good customers of Greenway Equipment. They are very meticulous. They always keep the plastic on the seat of the new tractors and combines they buy. The machines are always washed, always shedded — always.

It just so happens that when I was in Stuttgart, the Petter brothers had just traded in to Greenway Equipment a 2014 model John Deere S680 combine with 808 engine hours on it. I grabbed Robert Petter, positioned him in front of their 2014 S680 and used my iphone to film him telling me about the combine, about their farm, about why they always keep the plastic on the seat, about why he’d never squash a mosquito on the roof of the cab. When you hear and see Robert Petter say these things about their 2014 John Deere S680 it’s powerful. Local folks in the area know Robert and David Petter, but an hour away, a state away, 5 states away? They aren’t known. And using simple video makes it possible for you as a dealer/seller to present your good loyal farmer customer in a very positive, fun way. It tells us, the viewing audience, on social media, on Youtube, on your website, on MachineryPete.com, about their combine, tractor, disc ripper, etc.

Now, what about drones?

Robert Petter’s brother David showed me a handful of awesome drone videos he had just taken the prior week of them harvesting their rice with the 2014 John Deere S680 combine. It’s beautiful footage. You can see down into the bin, you can see their beautiful Arkansas farm and you can see that S680 rolling through their field.

I asked David if he’d share his drone videos with me. He was more than happy to. I had one thought in mind … pair the fun/cool drone video with the farmer interview and post as a promo YouTube video of this 2014 John Deere S680 combine with 808 engine hours For Sale. Here’s that video:



Very recently the FAA relaxed restrictions on who can legally operate a drone for business purposes. You no longer need a pilot’s license and machete to cut through the red tape to be licensed. It’s all pretty much open and up for grabs now. Literally anyone can get into the drone video business.

I think farm equipment dealers have to.

Think about every used piece of farm equipment you take in on trade from all your great, loyal, long time local farm customers. What if you let your customers know you have someone at your dealership available to come out to their farm and shoot fun drone video of them planting, video of them harvesting, video of their beautiful farm. Then when that loyal local farm customer trades in his machine to you, now you’ve got drone video of it in action on his farm.

How many S680s are there for sale in the used market? On MachineryPete.com, our dealer partners have more than 650 listed for sale.  And according to our Dealer Center analytics, there were 625.

But how many S680s belong to the Petter brothers who keep plastic on the seat and who are super meticulous? There’s just one!

Make what you sell, everything you sell, worth more money. Personalize it.

What is the new tool to help you do that? One word for you … drones!


Oh, one more thing to chew on … say your dealership did train a staff member to go out and shoot fun drone video of your loyal, local farmer customers at work on their farm harvesting, planting and shared those cool drone farming videos with them. Do you suppose that would be one more powerful reason for that local, loyal farmer customer to remain loyal to his favorite local farm equipment dealer … the one who came out and filmed them at work on their farm?

Yes, I certainly do.