Keynote: Building an Influential Brand

John Hall

John Hall is a speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and author of Top of Mind, a business book that explains how consumer needs and expectations have changed, and what that shift means for companies interested in building long-lasting, trustworthy, and influential brands. He has been listed by Forbes magazine as a No. 1 “must-see” keynote speaker and featured in Inc., Harvard Business Review, Fortune, The Washington Post, Mashable, and more.

His presentations focus on how to stay top-of-mind with customers, gain their trust, and influence their decisions. Hall will customize his presentation in St. Louis to explore strategies for shortline manufacturers seeking to raise their visibility with farmers and farm equipment dealers.

John Hall will speak on Thursday at 10:30 pm.

State of the Industry: What’s Ahead for Ag?

Neil Caskey, National Corn Growers Association

A representative from the National Corn Growers Association will open the convention with an assessment of the state of the industry as it relates to trade, commodities, and policy, and offer well-informed speculation of what’s ahead for agriculture. Neil Caskey is vice president of communications for the National Corn Growers Association. Caskey’s career began on Capitol Hill, and through roles as employee or consultant, he has worked with organizations such as the American Soybean Association, Monsanto, and the USDA.

The joint industry opening session will be on Wednesday at 8:00 am.

In Pursuit of the Autonomous Farm

John Anderson, Cory Beaujot, Colin Hurd, and Gary Thompson

A panel of ag tech experts will talk with the audience about the various pathways to autonomous farming and discuss what this emerging reality means to the shortline industry.

Gary Thompson is the COO of GUSS Automation in Kingsburg, CA. He grew up on a dairy farm in Arizona where he became acutely aware of the labor crisis in agriculture. While attending Cal Poly State University, he developed a love for the diversity of crops in California’s Central Valley, which led him to relocate in 2017 and begin farming almonds. Also in 2017, Thompson joined the GUSS team, which was still in its infancy. GUSS is the world’s first autonomous orchard sprayer, designed to efficiently and accurately spray trees using a fraction of the labor.

John Anderson is the president and founder of JCA Electronics, which he began in his parents garage in 2002. He is an engineer with a background in mobile equipment design. After earning his MBA, he gained experience working with a number of OEMs in a variety of capacities and industries prior to starting this company. JCA has 100 employees and more than 30 engineers. It offers expertise in advanced control systems and autonomous technology, as well as electronics and wire harness manufacturing for the farm equipment industry. JCA Electronics recently presented this paperat a meeting in Europe.

Cory Beaujot is managing director of marketing, sales and communications at SeedMaster Manufacturing and Dot Technology Corp. He is also an owner with the rest of the Beaujot family. In 2017, the company brought to market the Dot Power Platform, which is an autonomous farming apparatus designed to operate in conjunction with a variety of farm implements.

Colin Hurd has founded two agriculture companies since graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in agriculture and business in 2013. His first company developed the planting product TrackTill. He eventually sold that company and founded SmartAg to solve the labor crisis in production agriculture. SmartAg aims to give farmers the technology that allows them to do what is best for their farms without consideration of available labor, brands of equipment or the cost of larger machinery.

Emily Smith will be the moderator for this panel. She is the Customer Service and Marketing Manager at Art’s Way Manufacturing. She is on a mission to ensure industry growth and is focused on spreading the news about machinery solutions that improve operation processes for future generations. Prior to taking on her role at Art’s Way, Emily gained experience working with her dad developing farm equipment and entering new markets.

This session will be on Wednesday at 1:00 pm.

The Future of Digital Marketing

Dustin Johansen and Steve Kozel, Osborn Barr

Dustin Johansen, Vice President and Steve Kozel, Group Strategy Director from Osborn Barr will talk to attendees about what’s ahead in digital marketing. Among topics they’ll explore are research tools, data analytics, content trends, and influencers. The marketing agency focuses exclusively on agriculture and rural issues.

After 18 years guiding successes in sales and marketing at Caterpillar Inc., Dustin joined the OBP team in May 2017. His experience in key customer segments of equipment practices and his go-to market experience with major dealers are utilized every day. Johansen is a knowledgeable resource to both equipment and agriculture industries.

Steve leads the strategy department at OBP. Whether it’s a marketing communications plan, brand launch, or sustainability research, Steve’s outcome-oriented focus and attention to any retailer’s ultimate goal of maximizing sales helps brands deliver value to their audience at every stage.

This session will take place on Thursday at 9:00 am.

Ask the Lawyer: Workplace Policies on Social Media, Marijuana

David A. James, Nilan Johnson Lewis

David James is a shareholder in the labor and employment group at Nilan Johnson Lewis, which serves as a resource to members seeking legal counsel. James will discuss employers’ most commonly asked legal questions about social media use among employees and workplace policies in an environment in which more states legalize marijuana for recreational use.

David James will speak on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

Tillage Council

Cory Beaujot, who is part of the “In Pursuit of the Autonomous Farm” session, will also speak to the Tillage Council. He will discuss the Dot Power Platform and how the company envisions the integration of third-party tillage equipment.

The Tillage Council  meets from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday.