Over the course of the last century, the agricultural equipment industry has become an increasingly consolidated market, saturated by worldwide brands. Equipment manufacturing is now a concentrated industry as the workload on the farm rises to meet global demand and more efficient, versatile equipment is needed to get the job done. In the midst of this competitive landscape is Agriterra Equipment, a culmination of agricultural equipment dealers that have been serving customers in Alberta for more than 40 years.
With seven locations throughout Alberta in Stony Plain, Camrose, High River, Lougheed, Grande Prairie, and most recently Eckville and Rocky Mountain House, Agriterra has progressively grown by acquisition, joining the large-scale equipment dealers of the world.
Growth by acquisition
“Agriterra itself is actually a young company,” explains Brian Taschuk, president and CEO of the Agriterra. “In July 2013, I purchased Selmac Sales, which was a three-store ag dealership that had been in business for 40 years. Since then, Agriterra has purchased four more dealerships, one in High River, Grande Prairie, Eckville and Rocky Mountain House, making way for seven locations today. With the consolidation in the agribusiness world, we’re jumping on board, looking to add more locations and bring more dealerships under Agriterra.”
In just two short years, Agriterra has rapidly expanded, adding more locations focused on the AGCO brand of agricultural equipment. “We’re working on getting up to the size and scale to compete with major brands such as John Deere,” says Taschuk, who has been in the equipment business for nearly 30 years.
Across Stony Plain, Camrose, High River, Lougheed and Grande Prairie, Agriterra now has 100 employees. “Grande Prairie is our newest location, which was acquired in October 2014,” says Taschuk. “Our territories are defined by the manufacturer – generally a 75 kilometer radius from each location, although customers can come from all over.”
Leading names in equipment backed by service
Similar to an automotive dealership, Agriterra offers new and used equipment sales, parts and service at all seven locations. The company’s major lines include AGCO agricultural equipment lines; Massey Ferguson, Challenger, Fendt, Gleaner, Sunflower, Rogator and Terragator. For seeding and tillage equipment, Agriterra handles Bourgault and Morris. On the consumer products side, the company stocks Cub Cadet, Farm King, Woods, Stihl and Massey Ferguson compact tractors.
Agriterra understands that on the farm, time is money. When breakdowns happen, the company helps customers avoid costly downtime through trusted service and a team of factory-trained technicians. “Whether you need periodic maintenance or major component repairs, we can service your equipment needs,” says Taschuk. “We also offer full warranty parts and service on all of our product lines.”
The company offers a WinterFix program, delivering seasonal preventative maintenance packages and inspections to keep equipment running in top shape and ready for the busy harvest season. Additionally, Agriterra is a certified MTD warranty depot and an authorized vehicle inspection facility for heavy trucks and school buses.
Beyond equipment sales, parts and service, Agriterra has also added a precision farming division. The goal is to manage agricultural inputs and practices in the field to improve the accuracy of fertilizer and chemical applications. Precision farming requires the use of two emerging technologies; geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) to assess and understand field variations.
Agriterra’s dedicated precision farming specialists assist customers with GPS needs, specializing in Top Con, Raven and Outback Guidance systems. “They also spend time in the cab of the tractor with the customer ensuring there is a good understanding of how to maximize the advantages of the products we supply,” adds Taschuk.
Even with a diverse in-house product offering and support services, Taschuk says Agriterra isn’t immune to the challenges that exist in agriculture. “The business is cyclical and the competition is very strong; we’re competing with multinational players,” he says. “But that’s really no different from any other business; there’s always competition.”
The difference in the agricultural world is the constant ups and downs of the market. “Over the last several years, commodities prices are down and that hurts the farmer and in turn, our business,” he measures. “The exchange rate is another factor, causing an increase in the cost of equipment. It’s a never-ending cycle of commodity prices versus exchange rates and weather obstacles.”
Overall, Taschuk says agriculture is a good sector to be in for the long haul. “Global population growth, particularly overseas, is going to continue to demand more ag products over the long-term,” he says. “The short term cycles are outweighed by the long term rewards.”
Agriterra still has its sights set on growth by way of acquisition, repeating the pattern that has brought the company to its current standing in just two short years. “The industry is ripe for consolidation,” says Taschuk. “There is opportunity available for those experienced in acquisition and consolidation.”
As the industry changes, one area Agriterra remains focused on is its commitment to customers. “We pride ourselves on making a visit to Agriterra a positive experience,” says Taschuk. “From choosing equipment to operating and maintaining, we trust that you will find our staff extremely helpful and knowledgeable.”
“It’s a great experience everyday being in this industry,” adds Taschuk. “Our relationships with farmers remain the core of our business; we don’t want to lose that personal connection.” With its sights set on more locations and future consolidation, Agriterra Equipment is making a name in the agricultural equipment industry, standing out among large, multinational competition.