Brad Wilcox, regional sales manager for Kubota Tractor Corp., said Kubota sells to hobby farmers and contractors, but the commercial farmer has been the company’s bread and butter at the Northwest Ag Show.
“Hobby farmers are great, but we hope we get a very diversified group of customers into the (2019 Northwest) Ag Show,” he said. “The commercial farmers are the ones that put a lot of hours on our tractors and replace them more often.
“They look at the depreciation schedule, the cost of maintenance, and they are the ones who are replacing tractors every four or five years, where the hobby farmer is replacing one tractor every 15 or 20 years or longer,” Wilcox said.
Through its many dealers, Kubota sells construction and farm equipment around the world. Some of its farm equipment is especially well suited for the Northwest, where specialty crops, such as wine grapes, berries and orchard crops, are widely produced.
“Our tractors aren’t big enough to get too much into commodity crops,” Wilcox said. “We are more into pears, cherries, blueberries, caneberries, some row crops, vineyards, cattle, hay and those kinds of markets.
“We make great vineyard and orchard tractors and we have a very strong share in those markets,” he said.
Kubota has been showing at the Northwest Ag Show for about as long as any major dealer, said Wilcox, who noted this will be his 20th show. This year, for the first time, Kubota is a co-sponsor.
“That part is new for us. Historically we’ve sponsored different aspects of the show, like free parking and other minor things,” he said. “But we thought we needed to help kick off the show and get it restarted after a year of not having it. And the package that EO Media Group put together was attractive to us.”
Wilcox said he likes that the ag show has changed venue from the Portland Expo Center to the Oregon State Fairgrounds, but believes it will be a tradeoff of sorts for Kubota.
“It is going to be interesting because we had a lot of people come to the Ag Show when it was at the (Portland) Expo Center from Southwest Washington and up toward Chehalis, (Wash.),” he said. “We had cranberry growers coming over from Southwest Washington. We had dairy farmers from Tillamook. We had cherry growers and pear growers coming in from Hood River and The Dalles.
“I don’t know if those people will make the trip to Salem,” he said. “I hope they do, but it is a longer drive for them. So, we may lose some people there, but hopefully we gain a lot more people being in the heart of the Willamette Valley.”