Greg Hamilton’s affinity for Antonio Carraro tractors began in 1991 at a horticultural show. Hamilton looked down from the upper balcony and saw this little, red tractor surrounded by farmers and onlookers.
Immediately, Hamilton knew it had great potential to serve orchard owners in the eastern Washington community. His instincts were correct, and the Italian tractor has helped orchard owners increase production ever since he sold his first tractor in 1992.
Extracting More Yield
Eastern Washington’s orchards, like most modern agricultural producers, are looking to increase their yields and production. Innovations, like the V-Trellis orchard systems, put crop rows closer together. With some farmers continuing to use age-old techniques such as planting orchards on a hillside for better cold-air drainage, one large-acreage Carraro owner has commented that they are farming 25% more of their land because the Carraro’s oscillating chassis and low center of gravity allow it to shine on hillsides. The Carraro is also the best solution for working in new orchard planting systems where its narrow and low compact size allows the grower to increase their production per acre.
Today, Hamilton and his wife own MGH Equipment, a distributor of Antonio Carraro Tractors in the US. Hamilton is also a partner in Washington Tractor, a 12-store John Deere dealership, headquartered in Sumner, WA, and a board member of the Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA).
Moving from Domestic to International Overnight
Before becoming a distributor, Hamilton bought everything with the US dollar. Overnight, Hamilton became the owner of an international business, and everything was sold using Euros.
“Through WEDA, OFX provides a better exchange rate.”
After the first few transactions through his bank paying a 7 to 8 percent margin on each transaction, Hamilton realized that as his volumes increased, he would need a better rate. Through WEDA, Hamilton learned about OFX. The partnership between WEDA and OFX gives WEDA members priority rates for their currency transactions. Also, WEDA members have a dedicated OFX Corporate Associate who can guide business owners about how to manage currency fluctuations.
Hamilton regularly collaborates with OFX Senior Client Manager, Jeff Scott. Scott and Hamilton review orders and look for ways to improve Hamilton’s bottom line. With Scott’s assistance and access to OFX’s 24/7 online platform, Hamilton has a currency strategy that works for him.
“OFX has been very helpful to me. It’s that kind of customer service that we all strive for.”
Attempting to Stabilize a Selling Price
To buy the Carraros, Hamilton pays in Euros, and he sells them to his customers in US Dollars, so the exchange rate directly impacts Hamilton’s profits. Since exchange rates fluctuate every day, and Hamilton wants to ensure a consistent customer price, OFX helps him lock in a conversion rate that allows him to offer a stable selling price.
“When I send out a price list, I want it to be good for at least 6 months and for our tractors to be competitive in the market,” said Hamilton, “Because it’s based on the Euro-Dollar conversion factor, I have to be able to keep our average Euro cost within a tight window. Thanks to OFX, I can better serve my customers with reliable pricing.”
“Thanks to OFX, I can better serve my customers with reliable pricing.”
How much does the conversion rate fluctuate? Since forming MGH Equipment in 2012, the Euro has cost him as much as $1.35 and as little as $1.05. With volumes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, fluctuations of 3/10th of a percent can save thousands of dollars.
“I’ve learned that I can place a 12-month forward contract, pay a few extra points, and know I’m not stuck at one rate,” says Hamilton. “It’s very nice to have that piece of mind.”