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Tarboro tractor-maker faces financial problems

Posted July 29, 2008
Updated July 30, 2008

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— An Edgecombe County tractor manufacturer’s financial problems have left thousands of customers and dealers feeling cheated.

Documents show Farmtrac owes more than $55 million and was in such poor financial shape it couldn't afford to declare bankruptcy.

The company is in receivership, when a court names an attorney to take charge of the business. Tarboro Attorney James Marrow Jr. was named the court-appointed receiver for the company on Feb. 27.

Marrow described the situation as “an expensive mess.”

On April 24, Marrow said, he met with up to 50 tractor dealers from across the country to explain the company's situation.

Dealers like Billy Yeargin, of Yeargin Farm Supply Inc. in Oxford, have been left with tractors they can’t sell with Farmtrac warranties.

“I feel duped. My customers feel duped,” Yeargin said.

Horse farmer John Yount purchased his $23,000 Farmtrac tractor from Yeargin. He said that after a few weeks, it started having problems, including leaking hydraulic fluid.

Yount bought his tractor with a three-year warranty, but when he called to get it fixed, he found out his warranty was no good.

“What I got is a piece of junk that won’t run, that I can’t get parts for, that is worthless,” Yount said.

Yeargin said company representatives said they are broke and can’t honor any warranties.

“Somebody has a motor that blows up or something like that – I can’t afford to pay for stuff like that,” Yeargin said.

Farmtrac's financial problems were apparent in January, when the company temporarily laid off employees. Marrow said some of those employees had been working for the company for 20 or more years.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the company.

Marrow said he has received phones calls from state attorneys general's offices across the country, including North Carolina. He has rehired some employees as he tries to get the factory ready so it can be sold.


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  • SeaSoldier Jul 30, 2008

    You Sometimes Get What You Pay For. I was wanting one of those tractors. I'm glad I didn't get it.
    "Nothing Runs Like A Deere".

  • spudthgr8 Jul 29, 2008

    How does one get so "broke" that they cannot declare bankruptcy?

  • whatelseisnew Jul 29, 2008

    Umm it is tough to find quality. Even when you pay high dollar, you may not be getting quality. Cars are a great example. I often wondered why manufacturers keep on changing stuff on cars. They might build a particular motor that establishes a great reputation of reliability. Do they just keep manufacturing that? Nope, they have to find ways to reduce cost of manufacture and then often end up with huge boatloads of warranty work and unhappy customers. Makes no darn sense to me.

  • superman Jul 29, 2008

    To be competitive they have to buy the cheapest parts and hire the cheapest labor. So tell me-- you expect them to build a quality product at the cheapest price on the market. A big tractor for 23,000 and I paid 5,000 for my riding lawn mower. Be careful what you buy-- you may pay for what you are getting.

  • Rolling Along Jul 29, 2008

    You've got it! A very large segment of the population shops price only.

    "There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey." John Ruskin 1819-1900

  • Tin Nutt Jul 29, 2008

    The same could be said of most customers as well. They flock to the lowest price products they can find then complain about lack of quality. That argument goes both ways.

  • daMoFo Jul 29, 2008

    Is that right?

  • delilahk2000 Jul 29, 2008

    It seems to me companies care only about QUANTITY AND NOT QUALITY any more,they do not want there product to last. years ago they took pride in what was produced, but not anymore. These companies do not take pride anymore once it is sold they do not care.