Economist says more lenders are helping with robotic upgrades


Economist says more lenders are helping with robotic upgrades

An economist says lenders are working with more farmers who want to use robotic technology. 

Economist Tanner Ehmke with CoBank tells Brownfield if a farmer has been considering a move to robotics, the math has suddenly changed and its cash flow picture looks better than before. “Maybe they’re paying twenty, twenty-two, or twenty-three dollars an hour, and since the math has changed, or perhaps they’re forced into this situation of trying to find alternatives to labor, the robotics start to pencil in a lot faster. The cash flow is now faster because the cost of labor is so high if you can find it.”

Ehmke says the Farm Credit system is seeing a lot more activity in financing robotics including leasing, and he doesn’t see that trend letting up anytime soon. “It appears that we’re going to be in this very, very tight labor situation quite some time, and robotics appears to be increasingly the solution to those answers.”

Ehmke says CoBank and the Farm Credit system are seeing more and more farmers look into buying and leasing options for robotic milking machines and other automation tools. Ehmke says CoBank plans to update its research on the future of robotics in 2022.

Tanner Ehmke from CoBank discusses robotics, financial stress, bankruptcies, and tax changes with Brownfield’s Larry Lee at World Dairy Expo