Machinery slump means more job cuts

Apr 21, 2016

Reductions announced at two manufacturers

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Low commodity prices and farm income mean farmers aren’t spending as much on new machinery, and that’s taking its toll on employment at some manufacturers.

On Monday, Williamsburg, Iowa’s Kinze Manufacturing announced it will lay off 121 employees effective June 18.

Data from the Iowa Farm Business Association shows the average net farm income in 2015 was about $18,000, which if compared to a regular 40-hour work week job, is less than $9/hour.

Sales Down

The Des Moines Register reports a statement from Kinze says the company has taken a variety of measures to address the machinery market’s state, including implementing 30-hour work weeks last year.

“Despite our efforts, the current demand for agriculture equipment does not support our present staffing level,” Kinze said in its statement.

For Kinze, it’s the second time the company has downsized within the past year; last June, 215 employees were released.

In Wisconsin, H&S Manufacturing Company, located in Marshfield, just cut 29 positions; 16 full-time and 13 part-time.

Scott Doescher, president of H&S, told the Marshfield News-Herald that the decision to cut jobs will allow the company “to better match (its) production capacity with current demand.”

Data from the Census of Agriculture show Wisconsin’s average net farm income at $44,058 in 2012.

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