BLUFFDALE — With farmland along the Wasatch Front disappearing and turning into housing developments, it seems like an odd time to open a new tractor dealership in Salt Lake County. But the tractor business is actually booming.
It's not very common these days to see a tractor plowing a field in the Salt Lake Valley. Houses now stand where crops once grew.
"In our world, that's an occupational hazard — farmland turning into developments," said Keith Greenwood of Greenline Equipment. "But there is still a lot of farming going on in the state of Utah. There's more than $2 billion in revenue that comes from farming and agriculture in our state."
Being in an urban environment didn't discourage Greenline Equipment from building its own facility in Bluffdale when leases ran out on the company's locations in Salt Lake City and Springville.
Service is a big part of their John Deere business. "We are still servicing and supporting tractors that are 50 to 60 years old, and many of them are selling and trading on the market for what they originally paid for them," said sales manager Jason Behrend. "They are in active use today."
But the tractors they sell today are a far cry from the old days, now with pressurized cabs and filtered air.
"This is not our grandfather's tractor, where he was open to the sun and elements and dust and any type chemicals or spray they might be spraying," Behrend said.
The company's business has doubled in the past five years, even in the difficult economy.
"The economy for agriculture is still pretty strong," Behrend said. "Corn prices, wheat prices have been held up with the demand."
To be profitable in agriculture, farmers have to be more efficient. So the tractors of today are high tech.
"As our farmland shrinks, we get better and better at utilizing our ground and increasing yields and improving crop quantity and quality," Greenwood said.
That's why the company is optimistic you'll continue to see those trademark green tractors for decades to come.
The company does operate smaller dealerships as well, in the rural areas of Utah.