May 26, 2022

The John Deere Strike is Making Farm Equipment Scarce and Pricy

Farmers are worried about the John Deere strike. The company’s employees have been on the picket line since September 15th, and it doesn’t look like they will go back anytime soon. This has led to a spike in demand for new equipment-but with only one major farm equipment manufacturer in operation, things are getting tough.

I have a few hundred acres of soybeans to sow, but no seed drills. Says Blaine Drake, a farmer from the Nebraska panhandle. It’s going to be a very late harvest this year.

We could try and go without them, said his brother Derrick, as they sat at the kitchen table in their childhood home. But that would be even worse.

The Drake family has been in the farming business for over 100 years, and is no stranger to tough times. Blaine remembers how they did it back during the 1980s farm crisis. We used to share equipment with some of our neighbors, he said, sitting down at the family dinner table. Some of my friends would come over after their combine had broken down, and we’d go help them.

You can’t do that now, replied Derrick, as he sat across from his brother at the table.

The brothers laughed for a moment before they realized what Derrick had said. They were both silent for a while, before Blaine spoke up. You know, he said, my friend Freddy is looking to rent out his combine for the season.

Blaine nodded. He’s got all of his kids in town this week for homecoming, and they’ll probably be doing stuff together around town. Plus, he was talking to me about how his rent is due next week.

Derrick’s eyes lit up. That’s only three miles away! He exclaimed, I’ll go talk with him right now.

He pushed back from the table and walked out of the house. A few minutes later, Blaine could hear the roar of the tractor as his brother headed out to Freddy’s place.

It’s good that we’re brothers, Blaine said to himself, and then he followed suit and went into town.

It didn’t take long for Blaine and Derrick to help Freddy finish up the seeding. They had a lot of friends in town, so it wasn’t hard to find assistance. Without equipment from John Deere available, people were getting desperate.

But now that their work was done, Blaine wanted to check out the picket line. Freddy had told him it was near the edge of town.

I always liked those guys, said Derrick as he and Blaine walked along the gravel road towards the outskirts of Millville, but I don’t think this is too fair to them. They didn’t even give them a vote on this!

Blaine couldn’t disagree more. The employees at John Deere had voted to strike, and they were paying the price for it. They should think about their family’s finances before they make decisions like this, he replied sternly.

He wanted nothing more than to get back in his car and drive home. Derrick seemed okay with that though; he was smiling as he walked along the road.