Ag equipment sales were starting to improve in the last few months. Dealer sentiment has been more positive the last several months. All in all, things were starting to look a lot better for the farm equipment world. Then last week, President Donald Trump pledged to impose a 25% tariff on foreign steel that is scheduled to be enacted this week. From equipment manufacturers, to dealers to the farmers themselves, a tariff on steel only hurts the ag industry.
“The first thing you hear, and it's universal, is there's total alarm out there in our industry,” says Dennis Slater, president of the Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers. “What's going to happen here is you put this tariff on this, and you raise the price of steel for [manufacturers], you're going to basically raise the cost of their equipment at a time, really, when especially in the ag economy, it's pretty fragile out there. Sales are starting to improve a little bit, but not that much, and you're at a time here we're going to raise costs, costs they probably couldn't pass on to the farmer at this point, so that's pretty alarming.”
We polled Farm-Equipment.com visitors, asking “Do the benefits to President Trump’s just-announced tariffs on steel imports outweigh your concerns for the American farm machinery business?” Of those who responded, an overwhelming majority, 86.2%, said no, the benefits do not outweigh their concerns for the American farm equipment business.