Discussed for years at Farm Equipment’s strategic planning meetings, our staff has long wanted to give proper due to the achievements and influence of executives at the independent ag equipment manufacturers.

Earlier this year, we announced a program that would properly record — for posterity — the individuals whose innovations impacted the machinery and dealer distribution industry in North America over the last 55 years. Ladies and gentlemen, the first-ever class of the only award program in existence devoted to shortline manufacturers, Farm Equipment’s Shortline Legends are:

Roy Applequist

Jon Kinzenbaw

Don Landoll

Joe MacDonald

Gary Vermeer

In a matter of weeks, the Shortline Legends’ first honorees have already drawn comparisons to baseball’s first hall of fame class in 1936. That means the 5 names above are to farm equipment what Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Ty Cobb were to baseball.

This program, along with other Farm Equipment award programs (Dealership of the Year, Most Valuable Precision Dealer, etc.), accomplishes three important goals. First is to point out the benchmark-worthy operations from which all can learn. Second is to remind the industry, and especially the newcomers, of what is possible in the industry, despite the sometimes daunting challenges. And third, to remember the shoulders on whom we all stand today. 

Unfortunately, two of the inaugural class (Joseph MacDonald and Gary Vermeer) have already left us, but this program will help to ensure that all subscribing to Farm Equipment are aware of what they accomplished and how they blazed the trail for today’s farm equipment business.

This inaugural class will be recognized during the 2023 Farm  Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (FEMA) and Equipment Marketing Distribution Assn. (EMDA) Joint Convention this fall in Kansas City, Mo. If you would like to nominate a deserving shortline equipment pioneer that made a lasting and game-changing impact on the North American ag equipment industry, email me at mlessiter@lessitermedia.com