Technology has greatly complicated conversations between farmers and mechanics. Someday farmers and mechanics might have to undergo counseling to deal with the interpersonal stresses technology has brought to the shop:
Relationship counselor: “Let’s start with you, Farmer Smith. Talk about your relationship with Mechanic Jones.”
Farmer Smith (hesitantly): “Well, I’m not sure why we’re here. I break things and he fixes them. I thought we were getting along fine.”
Mechanic Jones. “Hmmpph!”
Counselor: “Mechanic Jones, you have a different view of the relationship?”
Mechanic Jones: “It was OK until he started getting involved with that weird, off-brand, high-tech stuff.”
Counselor: “You’re not comfortable with him using other brands of equipment?”
Mechanic Jones: “I will work on anything—red, green, yellow, blue—but when he started bringing in that high-tech stuff, expecting me to install, calibrate and fix it, I had to draw a line. I have standards.”
Counselor: “Farmer Smith?”
Farmer Smith: “I don’t see why he has to be so fussy. All the other farmers are using that stuff and their mechanics don’t mind.”
Mechanic Jones: “If all your coffee shop buddies jump off a bridge, will you jump off too?”
Counselor: “Let’s try to stay focused on the issues between the two of you. Farmer Smith, how do you respond?”
Farmer Smith: “I’m just trying to keep up with technology. Landlords expect me to have all the latest stuff in my cab. Besides, his dealership is always a half-step behind everything I see on the internet.”
Mechanic Jones: “I’m so tired of hearing about what he sees on the internet! Somebody posts a video on the internet and he’s in my shop the next day expecting me to add another console to his cab. How many consoles does he need?”
Farmer Smith: “I need different consoles to go with different machines. You don’t have room to talk. How many 24 mm wrenches does a mechanic need? And what about those special tools hidden in the bottom drawer of your toolbox?”
The conversation is all downhill after that. While this fictional dialogue might be humorous and vaguely familiar, it points to areas where farmers and their mechanics can help each other economically repair, maintain and even upgrade high-tech equipment.
Mechanics need to look beyond their dealership’s line of equipment and technology. No single manufacturer has cornered the high-tech market.
Farmers must realize without proprietary diagnostics from a system’s manufacturer, it’s extremely time consuming to diagnose high tech systems. Asking a red mechanic to diagnose a green system can get expensive.
The internet is a double-edged sword. The stories of the amazing things farmers have done with their whiz-bang gadgets don’t always reveal how much money and how many botched fields of corn it took to reach high-tech nirvana.
Conversely, more than one desperate dealership mechanic has found answers to high-tech headaches on the internet, outside their normal tech books and manufacturer-staffed help lines.
The trick is to know which edge of that sword you’re dealing with.