I don’t think I’ve heard the word “crazy” used as many times in my life during discussions of global affairs, particularly in matters of trade, as I have in the past two years. Even during the original Canada-U.S. free trade negotiations in the 1980s with all the hoopla and controversy that swirled around that, the debate didn’t slide into today’s Bizzaro World where any number of individuals claim up is down and black is white. These days, however, nonsense seems to rule.
But of course the nonsense doesn’t come from all corners. Most world leaders today are just trying to deal with it, especially when it comes to trade and tariffs. Senior executives across industrial sectors have been making public statements—some might even best be described as appeals—to the U.S. administration, inviting them to wake up and smell the coffee before the established order of global trade collapses. But then that was the promise the U.S. president made: that he would “disrupt” both domestic affairs in the U.S. as well as global matters in everything from trade to NATO.
The reasons behind his perceived need to do that are at the same time nonsensical and widely supported domestically. The results of his efforts in that direction so far have put international partnerships on shaky ground, and corporate CEOs are holding off on investment plans, bracing for what might come next.
Despite all this, Canada’s ag equipment manufacturers seem to be holding their own, according to Leah Olson, president of the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada, the association that represents them. I had a chance to talk with her in Regina during Canada’s Farm Progress Show last week. “(However) Those (big investment) decisions have been put on hold or on ice for the time being,” she told me. “Just to see where all this is going to end up.”
Of course where things will end up in today’s global political environment is anybody’s guess. I’d bet not even Master Yoda could see the future now. I’m sure he’d say, ”Difficult to see, it is”. But so far those involved in building ag implements here in Canada seem to be willing to bet on a future market in the short term that at least lands in the fair-to-middling category. Olson says even with the uncertainty and big investments on hold, many of the shortlines have been adding to their staff and pressing on with developing new machines to interest those farmers who’s income hopefully won’t be destroyed by a possible global trade war.
Morris Industries was one of those who proudly displayed a brand new machine at the Regina show. The new Quantum drill picks up where the C2 Contour left off. If you missed seeing it in Regina, the brand has plans to demo it at the Ag in Motion show just outside Saskatoon in a couple of weeks.
Seedmaster’s spin-off brand DOT Technologies continues to work on DOT, the company’s autonomous implement carrier. It had a major chunk of real estate booked on the CFPS show grounds to demo its ability to dock with implements and show off new safety features. Its development is slightly behind schedule, but not by much, according to Cory Beaujot, the brand’s marketing manager. He says some machines will still get into the field this year in time for winter crop seeding and herbicide applications.
And many of the farmers I spoke to this past month are at least cautiously optimistic. They’re hoping sanity will once again prevail and the economic path western nations have been on, that has seen some pretty good growth in GDP numbers in most countries, will get back on track.
Then, maybe, the only time I’ll hear or use the word crazy will be when I discover the results of the latest thing our new puppy has been up to when left unsupervised.