Canada's Miller Farm Equipment and Indiana's Vincennes Tractor earned the industry's top honor as 2008 Dealerships of the Year.

A Farm Equipment Staff Report

In continuation of the industry recognition program first started in 2005, two dealer organizations - Miller Farm Equipment ("Large, Multi-Store Operation"), and Vincennes Tractor ("One- or Two-Store Operation") - will forever share the title of 2008 "Farm Equipment Dealership of the Year." You can take a look "inside" these dealerships, and four others that earned recognition in a "Best-in-Class" category, in the pages that follow.

The Dealership of the Year program was birthed by Farm Equipment editors in 2005 "to elevate farm equipment dealerships who are leading the industry in best practices, operations management and customer care." To make the selections in the annual program, Farm Equipment recruited a diverse and independent judging panel. This year's group consisted once again of Dr. W. David Downey, Center for Agricultural Business, Purdue Univ., David Kahler, former CEO of the Ohio-Michigan Dealers Assn., and David Parker, Agri-Business Group.

In total, the 2008 program drew 134 nominations - with nominations stemming from all corners of the farm equipment industry - from manufacturers, dealers and even farmers themselves. Nominations were also provided by past recipients of the awards, or Dealership of the Year "Alumni."

The class of 2008 was certainly a high-achievement group, and one that is indeed worthy of benchmark status. This year's inductees generated $289 million in revenue with an average sales per employee of $725,956. Further, the six award-winning Dealers of the Year registered an average absorption rate of 80% (industry average: 60.89%) and a nearly 32% return on assets (industry average: 4.70%).

While six dealer organizations are being recognized nationally this month for their performance, the "Dealership of the Year" recognition is one that the entire industry can, and should, celebrate. A special, Farm Equipment-sponsored media campaign will shine the spotlight not only on the 2008 class of recipients, but also the entire industry, highlighting the unique role that all equipment dealers play in helping North American farmers feed and clothe the world.

We hope that you'll join us in congratulating these dealerships and their employees for their industry-leading achievements.

The Dealership of the Year Judging Panel

Dr. W. David Downey
Executive Director, Center for Agricultural Business (CAB), Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
Downey is responsible for the development of education programs at the CAB, which is largely regarded as the U.S.' leading center for agribusiness education. A distinguished agricultural marketing professor and a proficient author, Downey also consults extensively throughout North America on a variety of agribusiness issues.

David L. Kahler
Retired CEO of Ohio-Michigan Equipment Dealers Assn., Dublin, Ohio
Kahler spent his entire 38-year career assisting equipment dealer-principals with their business affairs, the last 20 as CEO of the association serving Ohio and Michigan. An active industry participant who earned the respect of both dealers and manufacturers, Kahler retired from full-time employment last January.

David R. Parker
Vice President, Agri Business Group
(ABG), Indianapolis, Ind.
 With ABG since its founding in the late 1970s, Parker has been instrumental in the firm's growth as a leading agricultural education and business consulting firm. Parker delivers nearly 100 presentations annually on agricultural business operations, sales, financial management, and supervisory and team development.

LARGE, MULTI-STORE OPERATION: Miller Farm Equipment, Moosomin, Saskatchewan
ONE- OR TWO-STORE OPERATION: Vincennes Tractor Inc. Vincennes, Ind.