Farm Equipment & Materials Supply

By ACS Distance Education on January 30, 2019 in Animals, Careers & Jobs Success | comments
All farms need equipment and materials to operate. These may include buildings, water tanks, fencing materials, tractors, fuel, fertilisers, pasture seed, agricultural chemicals, irrigation pipe and sprinklers; through to even drones and computer equipment.

Scope of Work

In rural communities, equipment and materials are often primarily supplied through a stock agent or similar operation.
There are two main types of work in this area: retailers and tradespeople, and machine maintenance.

Retail and trade: People selling goods must know their products and the farming industry. They must be able to advise farmers on use and applications. Smaller businesses may not employ many people other than the business owner and their family but larger operations can employ staff in managing stores, delivery drivers, administration staff, sales people and perhaps a manager.

Machine maintenance: all equipment needs to be well-maintained. High-equipment may require specialist expertise for long-term maintenance.

What You Need to Learn

  • Sales skills – how to assess a customer’s needs and help the find the right product
  • Inventory and cataloguing – ensuring appropriate stock, understanding ordering procedures, applications for different machine types, such as a thresher vs. a combine harvester
  • Crop knowledge – general idea of different crop needs and management
  • Feed – understanding types of feed necessary for livestock management, crop necessities
  • Livestock – some general knowledge of livestock and livestock equipment
  • Management – retail management, resource management, staff management
  • Cash handling – running floats, counting, closing off registers
  • Bookkeeping/accounting – owners, managers, and trusted staff will benefit from having a clear understanding of these procedures
  • Maintenance – how to properly care for machinery, source spare parts, general operation cycles and replacement needs
  • Customer service - advising on purchase etc, managing enquiries, converting sales leads
  • Telephone skills – greeting phone enquiries, finding correct information, helping customers access information

Starting a Career

There are many ways to start out in working with farm equipment and materials.

These include:

  • Studying how common machines work, on your own, via a course, or by attending local trade events and asking questions;
  • Work in retail in any sector to develop customer service and people skills;
  • Volunteering to do bookkeeping and accounting work with local non-profits;
  • Attending trade fairs, speaking with manufacturers and sales people;
  • Working on a farm or in a small community farm or garden to develop general sowing, harvest, and plant knowledge.

Progressing a Career

Success or failure of farm equipment and materials always depends upon sales.
Develop networking - become better known, and your products sell better
Learn more - greater product knowledge - service improves - sales strengthen
Be involved - industry bodies, shows, media - heighten your awareness

These include:

  • Research and development into machine adaptations and features;
  • Management or executive opportunities;
  • Contracting with larger suppliers or firms as an agent, or opening a franchise;
  • Starting an independent maintenance and repair business;
  • Developing training and instructional manuals.