Born in 2010 in merger between Greendale Utica Equipment Services Inc., located in Port Perry and Omemee, Ont., and Green Tractors of Nobleton, Brampton, and Milton, Ont., Green Tractors is best known for its John Deere brand.
Green Tractors’ Nobleton location served as the company’s entry point into the Ontario market in 1956. What began as a small agricultural repair shop grew over time to become the principal supplier of John Deere products. Supplying John Deere products and services to the Ontario market, Green Tractors is led by co-CEO Karl Davis (alongside fellow co-CEO Ken Svendsen) and General Manager Keith Davis, who this month spoke with The Canadian Business Journal about Canada’s growing, and rapidly evolving, agricultural industry.
New Trend in the Agricultural Sector
The recent trend within the agricultural sector has been the growth of the dealership – more and more dealers are becoming larger entities in order to better serve the industry with in-demand technical farming equipment. In recent years, the industry has become much more technological-based and Green Tractors has aimed to serve this market. High levels of training and expertise are now critical in the agricultural sector.
“The agricultural business today is all about technology,” Karl Davis summarized. “One of our dealer associations used to talk about how complicated our industry really is, right up with the aerospace industry, so it is amazing that people don’t realize how much technology is in these current products and how much technology farmers are actually using on a day-to-day basis.”
Keith Davis commented on the sector’s technological shift, “Gone are the days when you could find someone who is fairly handy and likes to work on diesel engines. Now you need someone who is wearing a white lab coat and has a laptop computer that remotely connects to a tractor, trying to diagnose and repair sophisticated electronic problems.”
Alongside the demand for more technical farming equipment, the industry has also seen an increased global demand in agricultural commodities and advanced food production through biomass, methanol, and alternative fuels.
“Demand for agricultural commodities has gone through the roof and so have the prices,” Karl Davis explained. “ We’ll see what will happen in the next few years – I suspect there will be a bit of a correction once the ethanol craze has hit the wall – but if oil prices get back into the $120-a-barrel range, we’ll see ethanol come back in. Ethanol does have its detractors but in the long run I think it’s a good thing for everybody.”
Expansion and Diversity
Like most industries, the agricultural sector is cyclical, have its ups and downs, while the current issue is the increasing size of Ontario farms – farms are becoming bigger and fewer, meaning the big farmers are becoming larger and the mid-sized farms are no longer. The current Ontario model has large and small farms, while the larger farmers are consuming more resources than before.
“The mid-range farm in Ontario is slowly disappearing and we’re seeing bigger farmers, as well as lifestyle farming at the bottom end,” Karl Davis said. “This provides us with a significant issue in where we put our used machinery because used machinery was sold to the middle, which is now just about gone, so we have a significant challenge.”
Moving forward, Green Tractors wants to ensure it continues to offer the best in products to its customers. Accordingly, the company plans to grow its business with additional locations and through the promotion of its increased product lineup, particularly GT Golf and Turf, which has shown to be a “significant piece” of the business, as has its light construction business segment. In fact, in January of this year, Green Tractors added a location in Earlton, Ont. in further strengthening its position and product offering within the agricultural equipment market.
Green Tractors Goes Green
Green Tractors promotes efficient use of farmlands through green initiatives, a reduction in pesticide and fertilizer use, and its supplied farming technologies.
With this, Green Tractors works alongside farmers in streamlining production and agricultural operations with the use of its technology. As a result, farmers are now reaping the benefits of growing more with less.
For Green Tractors, and the industry as a whole, the existing challenge remains the directional change that has redefined the farming and agriculture industry.
Green Tractors has changed with the times in recent years as well, expanding its already significant fleet of service vehicles, and its launch of a new mobile service, bringing Green Tractors to the customer. Green Tractors continues to tackle the industry with its wide range of expertise to offer the best across all areas of customer service.