Tailgate Talk

December 13, 2013 06:17 PM

Eavesdrop Without Listening to a Word

Farm equipment dealerships are great places to study body language. Walk in on a winter day, and you can follow a dozen different storylines without listening to a single conversation.

Start with the guy sitting on a stool at the parts counter with multi-stained coveralls and dripping chore boots. He’s leaning across the counter, straining to see the computer screen while the parts employee works the keyboard with extended arms. He is a livestock farmer who needs parts fast so he can finish his chores.

At the next computer terminal sits a customer wearing a new seed corn coat over bib overalls. He has his back and elbows propped against the counter and is happily talking to the customer in line
behind him. He’s wearing soft-leather walking shoes, and his cap is at a jaunty angle. He’s a retired farmer picking up parts for his lawn mower. He’s been at the dealership for two hours, drank three cups of coffee and ate five donuts, and still hasn’t told the parts employee what parts he needs.

In the sales area, a customer leans against the door frame of a salesman’s office. He stays in the doorway because he knows once he sits down, he’s committed to intense negotiations on the tractor he "might" be interested in buying, even though he’s already lined up financing at the bank.

His salesman sits behind his desk, leaned as far back as his chair will allow, idly poking at keys on his computer keyboard. He’s smiling and nodding—waiting for the perfect moment to toss out a number that will suck the customer into the chair.

Another salesman is slowly sidestepping toward the door, talking animatedly with an equally slow-moving customer. An hour ago, they were in the salesman’s office trying to find common ground on a machinery trade but never quite came to terms. If the weather is warm enough and the potential sale is big enough, the salesman will sidestep the customer all the way to his pickup. If necessary, he’ll position his body to keep the customer from closing the truck’s door. Surrender is not an option.

It’s an unending series of dances without music, choreographed each day, at your local farm equipment dealership.

Written by Dan Anderson, Nate Birt and Sara Brown

What a Day!

Parking Violation

What a day photo

While burning off CRP land, the fire jumped the wrong way and engulfed this farm truck. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the farmer was able to salvage and sell the remaining parts to go
toward a new set of wheels.

If you’ve had one of those days—or caught someone else’s on film—we would love to share it with our readers. E-mail high-resolution images to sbrown@farmjournal.com, or mail prints to What a Day!, Farm Journal, P.O. Box 958, Mexico, MO 65265. Photos for publication will be selected on a first-come basis.

Stat Rack

Farmers can harness data and precision ag like never before:

0.5 Kilobytes of data that farmers can produce per corn plant per year

Kilobytes of data per plant after factoring in soil, weather and inputs

Megabytes of data per corn acre per year at a 30,000 plant population

First year the U.S. collected weather data

22 Seed companies participating in Seed Connectivity II, an AgGateway project to further streamline seed supply chain interactions

35 million Connected devices, including smartphones and tablets, in the U.S. and Europe

70 million
Projected number of connected devices by 2020

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