No Handshakes, but Plenty of High-Impact Info

Members of this Association will not gather with equipment marketers as we have every fall for seven decades. The Association Board of Directors, in cooperation with the leadership of the Equipment Marketing & Distribution Association, realized that, given the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, we could not promise attendees the networking, business-building experience you expect and deserve at fall convention.

We are instead inviting you to a brief and high-impact online get-together.
The Association will host its annual business meeting virtually at 10:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, Oct. 28.

After a brief report from Association leadership and the election of directors, attendees will meet former White House insider Ray Starling, who will offer his thoughts on what’s ahead as the U.S. prepares for elections on Nov. 3.

“We did not see the value of staging a three-day online convention, because what our members want is to be in the same room with other members,” said Vernon Schmidt, executive vice president. “But we also know that Ray, who was scheduled to join us live in Orlando, has terrific insights to share. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to connect briefly on screen and hear from a thought leader on a timely, high-stakes issue.”

Starling joined the White House staff 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. In spite of his remarkable career, Starling said the experience in his life that has most shaped him is growing up his family’s farm.

His plan for his brief online session is to cut through the noise and make attendees think.

“I believe that folks are so fed up with the partisan babble at the top, from the media, and in their social media feeds, that they are always pleased to hear from someone who will cut through all of that and make them think,” Starling said.

His talk will focus on possible outcomes of the election and the implications for the farm equipment industry and agriculture overall.

Watch for details about the 60-minute virtual session on Oct. 28 in upcoming issues of Shortliner.

Members who registered for the convention can expect a refund by the end of September. If you have not heard from the Association regarding your refund, contact Tricia Kidd at, or call (314) 878-2304.

If you would like to nominate an executive from a regular member company to stand for election to the Board of Directors at the annual meeting, submit that information to a member of the Nominating Committee for Directors, which includes Mike Kloster, Marc McConnell, Ric Kirby, and Don Landoll.

Find contact information for committee members in the Association directory at

“While our registration numbers lagged significantly behind other years, it was heartening to see just how many people were eager to join us for the convention this year,” Schmidt said. “We are of course disappointed we will not be together, but we are confident this was the responsible decision. It will be a remarkable reunion when we gather in Kansas City.”

Mark your calendars for an unforgettable Supply Summit 2021. It is April 7 to 9 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Starling is expected to join us in person for the Summit to offer further perspective on the state of the nation.