We’ve hit the road this week heading to Boone, Iowa, for the Farm Progress Show, and it looks like it’s going to be a wet one! We’ll be sharing what we see through Facebook and Twitter. But in addition to checking out the latest products, our editors are setting up interviews with top management at the 5 major OEMs (Deere, Case IH, AGCO, New Holland and Kubota) for a special series we’ll be developing in the coming months. Farm Equipment has done a report like this twice before — first in 2006 and then again in 2009. We plan to focus our conversations about what they see ahead for the dealers.

In 2006, the majors were clearly intent on “consolidating” their distribution channels by reducing the total number of dealers selling their equipment and “encouraging” their strongest dealerships to expand their operations. In the three years between the two reports, this was accomplished to some extent. AGCO’s locations went from 1,917 in 2005 to 1,400 in 2008, Case IH stores went from 1,075 down to 950. For New Holland, there were 1,157 locations in 2005 and by 2008 that number was reduced slightly to 1,100. Kubota saw its store locations drop by 60 between 2005 and 2008. Since then, dealer consolidation has only picked up. The tone of most of the conversations in 2008 centered around dealer support and re-connecting with their customers.

What are some of the questions you want to ask your major line or, better yet, the what are the questions you have for the top brass at another color manufacturer? Leave a comment below or send me an email at kschmidt@lessitermedia.com to let us know what questions or concerns you want addressed.

Also be sure to keep an eye on Farm-Equipment.com, our social media channels and our daily email updates for the best of what we’re seeing at the Farm Progress Show!