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Farmers 'Holding Off' From Buying

August 1, 2012, 9:50 PM by Brady Mallory

Farmers 'Holding Off' From Buying

It is a yearly event, but when there is no crop to harvest; buying a new combine is not on a list of priorities for many KELOLAND farmers. 

Despite drought conditions, there was not a shortage of people at the annual August Pre-Harvest Wieman Auction near Marion, SD.  Farmers were not desperately trying to sell farm equipment, but some farmers were not in a hurry to buy.

"A lot of farmers wouldn't buy a pitch fork today, let alone a combine," Garrettson farmer Oran Sorensen said.

Boots to the ground, hundreds of farmers go to the auction, held four times a year, usually looking for new or different equipment.  This year, however, a lot of them were reflecting on what is happening to their fields.

"There's more corn underneath here than some farmers are going to get this year," Iowa Famer Verdene Kollbaum said as he pointed to fragments of old corn collecting underneath a parked combine about to be auctioned off.

But it is not as dire as one might think because farmers were spending cash.

"A good friend of mine brought a combine here today and it brought one-third less than what he would've hoped." Sorensen said.

For many, instead of buying equipment for the future, several farmers went for antique tractors and plows.  Making it easy for an older generation of buyers to find some good deals. 

"The younger ones, some of them are, but a lot of them are saying 'the heck with it,'" Kollbaum said.

The sound of auctioneer sounds echo through the nearby corn fields, but it may not be as loud as the silent prayers coming from farmers. 

"We've had so many good years, I think a lot of guys have the ability to get through this year.  The question is, what is next year going to bring?" Farm Loan Manager Rich Holter said.

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