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U.S. retail sales of farm tractors and self-propelled combines are predicted to be down in 2001 from 2000, according to the recently released Equipment Manufacturers Institute's "2001 State of the Ag Industry Outlook."

Total sales of farm wheel tractors are predicted to be down 2.8 percent in 2001 compared to 2000, while sales of self-propelled combines are forecast to be down 7.2 percent compared to positive sales of 4.1 percent in 2000. One bright spot for farm tractors is the expected sales of four-wheel-drive tractors, predicted to be just over 3 percent.

Despite the forecast for a decline in farm tractors and combines, responses from key industry agricultural manufacturers indicate that the sales of most farm field machinery and farmstead equipment will be higher this year. Also, the sales of farm field machinery and farmstead-type equipment parts are expected to be up.

According to the survey respondents, beef and hog livestock prices, government payments and credit availability are this year's key positive factors influencing the sales of new equipment. Negative influences on new equipment sales for 2001 are predicted to be soybean and corn prices along with farm cash receipts.

The results of the survey are based on the responses from 43 key EMI agricultural industry member companies that manufacture tractors, combines and other farm field and farmstead equipment.

Organic foods, now a $6 billion portion of the food industry, are also growing more and more common in the farm sector. In answer to that, the National Farmers Organization and five major organic farm groups have joined forces, creating a marketing-agency-in-common to make strides in marketing, research, education and policy.

By forming the MAC, named Organic Farmers Association for Relationship Marketing, organic producers can use their volume to market more effectively to agricultural buyers. OFARM held its first annual meeting Feb. 6-7 in Ames, Iowa.

The MAC will also create a communication network between certified producer groups that did not exist previously. Member organizations will know on a continuous basis what prices are being offered in which segment of the country.

In addition to National Farmers, OFARM partners include Midwest Organic Farmers Co-op, Kansas Organic Producers Association, Organic Farmers of Michigan, Buckwheat Growers Association of Minnesota and Great Lakes Organic.
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Publication:Agri Marketing
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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