Closely connected to the farmers they serve, agribusinesses in the industry have also had to adapt to the changing markets and trends in the industry.
Lang’s Dairy Equipment Inc. in Decorah is an example of a business that has seen agriculture evolve through the decades. Rob Engelhardt, general manager, said the family-based company has been in business since 1949. Today, they continue offering dairy equipment and supplies as a BouMatic dealer.
“On the dairy side, obviously labor is a big issue,” Engelhardt said. “There’s a lot of advanced technology in dairy. Even in the 30 years that I’ve been doing this, things have really changed. A lot of it has to do with energy efficiency.”
He noted government programs have helped some farmers offset the costs of modern technology and save energy and fill the labor need for herds of all types and sizes.
“Trying to do more with less, especially when milk prices are challenging, it is tough to be efficient and profitable,” Engelhardt said.
Engelhardt said used equipment has been incredibly popular in the last five years as producers look to cut costs.
“The farm economy, in general, affects a lot of other businesses in the area, so when the farmers are struggling other businesses are struggling,” Engelhardt said. “They don’t buy new equipment. They don’t buy new trucks. They don’t spend money when they don’t have it to spend.”
Engelhardt was optimistic for farmers as they develop new management styles to stay competitive in the industry whether it is with robots or equipment for milking parlors.
“We’re all in this together,” Engelhardt said. “We’re resilient as an industry. We will get through this.”