Every piece of content we create for Farm Equipment involves “Conversations in Ag,” but for the second time now our team embarked on a special project that involved coordinating conversations with a variety of individuals from across all aspects of the ag industry. 

And instead of being a part of the conversation we simply sat back and listened — which in a lot of cases was easier said than done for a group of people who make their living by asking questions. 

This year’s Conversations in Ag report took our staff all over the country and then some, including trips to Germany and France during the Agritechnica farm equipment show. 

In total, 6 members of the Farm Equipment team — Mike Lessiter, Ben Thorpe, Kevin Reitz, Darren Foster, Alan Stenum and myself —  traveled 15,333 miles to sit down with dealers, farmers, major line OEMs, shortline manufacturers, service providers, ag economists, podcast hosts, retired executives, recruiters and even an automotive dealer and someone from the aviation technician sector. 

We returned from those meetings with several hours of recordings and hundreds of pages of transcripts to sift through and pull the best and most meaningful content for this special report. Just a fraction of content we gathered through those conversations appears on the pages that follow. 

In many cases the subjects had never met each other, and often they were individuals we didn’t know personally either. While you might think that would lead to silence or reserved discussions, in most cases those were the conversations that went on the longest. There was no way we could cram every word into this report, but there is certainly more to share and we’ll be pulling from this vault of good content throughout the year to keep the conversation going.  

The interactions I have with dealers, shortline manufacturers and others in the industry every day are what I enjoy most about my job. Rarely do I walk away from a conversation without an idea for a story or podcast (and based on the extensive idea list Mike Lessiter has shared with me, he doesn’t either). From the topics of special reports (consolidation, workforce development, sales management report, etc.) to the themes for the annual Dealership Minds Summit, we depend on those conversations to learn what’s most important to your business and how we can help fill the information void. 

I’m looking forward to another year talking with all of you. And while I’m generally not one for New Year’s resolutions, this year I’m making it a goal to increase the number of conversations I have with dealers on a weekly basis. So, don’t be surprise if you get a call from me! 

In 2020, we’ll be sharing some of those conversations we have through the continuation of the Our Dealer Story podcast series (www.Farm-Equipment.com/OurDealerStory). If you’re interested in sharing your dealership’s unique story, drop me a line at kschmidt@lessitermedia.com. Whether it’s to share your story for the podcast, or just to check in … let’s keep the conversation going. 

From all of us here at Farm Equipment, may you have a healthy and prosperous 2020! 

P.S. — We’re now accepting nominations for the 2020 Dealership of the Year program. The deadline for nominations is March 13. You can submit nominations at www.Farm-Equipment.com/2020DOY