Summit: Hear from Pros on Life Post-COVID, Farmer Attitudes, Ag Economy

The Association’s Board of Directors meets virtually Feb. 24 to discuss final details of Supply Summit 2021 in Kansas City.

Based on a preliminary conversation with officers of the board, if the Association can host an effective meeting in the context of compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, we will be in Kansas City from April 7 to 9.

“In the past few weeks, I’ve talked to more than a dozen members, and they are all asking, ‘What do we do?’, said Tim Burenga, the Association’s first vice president. “The conversations have been about different issues we are all experiencing related to COVID, rising materials costs, shipping problems, and so on. We have a great need to get together. If we can do it safely, we have to do it.”

The Association is working with the city of Kansas City and the Marriott Downtown to plan a Summit that meets the highest standards of safety and health but offers the highest-impact opportunities to network.

We plan to host the traditional golf and trap events but will pause the exploration of nightlife. We also still plan a welcome reception and encourage members to connect outside of structured convention time. In the meantime, meet the speakers.

Ray Starling: What’s Next for Ag?

Ray Starling is back by popular demand. He joined us for our virtual annual meeting in October to discuss agriculture policy and politics. In April, he will explore three issues that he sees influencing agriculture: economics, the political environment, and trends around sustainability.

Starling joined the White House in 2017 as special assistant to the president for agricultural policy. In 2018, he became chief of staff for USDA’s Sonny Perdue. He returned to his home state of North Carolina in 2019 to serve as general counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Bird and Susan Baier: Farmers’ Buying Beliefs and Behaviors

The pair will discuss results of an extensive survey examining how farmers make their buying decisions, including whether they have changed their approach since the start of the pandemic, what resources they tap when considering buying equipment, and their likes and dislikes around product searches online, in person and through print media.

Bird is CEO of Spindustry, a digital marketing agency, and Baier is a marketing strategist and researcher with Audience Audit and one of the most sought-after attitudinal segmentation researchers in the U.S.

Bird, Mike Gonnerman, and Shaunna Jones: Never the Same–Panel on the Post-COVID Workplace

Join experts on human resources, sales and marketing, and manufacturing operations to hear how they envision the future when the dust settles from the pandemic.

After this 60-minute panel discussion, each speaker will lead 60-minute conversations in breakout groups.

Spindustry’s Bird, part of the duo leading the buying behaviors session, will return to the stage to discuss sales and marketing.

Mike Gonnerman, vice president of Mastering Excellence and an alliance partner of Kansas Manufacturing Solutions, will discuss plant operations.

Shaunna Jones, who leads K·Coe Isom’s HR consulting team, will discuss the human element in the workplace.

Mike Gomes: Smart Implements and Data—Creating Value

Gomes will speak to the Tillage Council. He brings more than 25 years experience in digital transformation in agriculture. He is vice president of business development for Topcon.

Beyond Speaker Sessions

If you’d like to see who is signed up for golf at Swope Memorial Golf Course, or the trap shoot at the Kansas City Trapshooters Association, go to Click on the big “Supply Summit” image, then find more about the events under the “program” tab. You also can see who’s signed up to attend the Summit under the “registration” tab.

Spouses and guests in Kansas City will have a painting party at the hotel. Details continue to take shape.

If you hope to join us at Summit, please register. You can cancel your registration as late as April 6 and receive a full refund. Or, simply ask to be invoiced to delay payment. This will help us assess social distance requirements. If you know you will not be there, tell us by email at