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Ag equipment, parts shortage could impact food supply, farmer says

Impacting local harvest
Impacting local harvest
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 11:08 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 12:03 AM EDT
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CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - With the harvest season among us, a parts and equipment shortage could impact the season and food chain.

“People need to understand this just don’t affect farmers. It could affect them,” said farmer Joe Christian.

Christian grows rice and soybeans. He has been struggling with getting equipment parts, due to a shortage and says it’s just not affecting him. It’s affecting every farmer he speaks with.

“I didn’t have much trouble in the spring, but now harvest has come here, and this combine has been sitting here for two days, and I haven’t been able to get parts for it yet,” said Christian.

Two days might not sound like much to some, but during harvest, time is money. Two days can really set back production.

“It’s a big deal. It puts a stress on my operation,” said Christian.

The shaft for Christian’s combine was supposed to come in on Wednesday, but it didn’t. That means he’ll go without for another day.

He needs a sensor for his pickup truck. There’s no word on when he might be able to get it. He also had a tractor burn up and hasn’t been able to find a replacement.

“This country has never run short of food, and I hope we never do. Our inventory is way low, and if we don’t get our crop out, it will affect the consumer eventually down the line,” said Christian.

Christian says this isn’t just a farmer issue. It affects everyone, including food supply and prices.

“Inflation is killing us out here. It has just gone through the roof,” said Christian.

Tedder Equipment in Bono says their prices have gone up anywhere from $100 or more due to steel prices.

“It affects all of us, especially a business like this. I mean, there’s nothing I can do about that, that’s with the vendors. They’re doing their best to get it. We’re in communication with them every day,” said Justin Bennett, parts supervisor.

Right now, they’re having trouble getting tractors.

They have 18, compared to 50 last year.

It’s also taking them longer to get in several parts like filters, belts, and pulleys. Some take days or even months. The longest delay was four to six months for a large piece for a cutter.

“It does slow them down, especially if they have some kind of failure or major breakdown and for some reason, we can’t get the part in. It does hurt them,” said Bennett.

Tedder Equipment says their sales have actually increased. They say they’re lucky to have an inventory, and preordering months ago was the only thing that saved them. They have also been depending on sales in hunting supplies.

Greenway Equipment says they’ve shortages in John Deere equipment, electronics, and anything that has a microchip.

Southern Marketing Affiliates says they’ve noticed a shortage within the past year on many parts, including anything from headlights to engine kits.

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