Summit: Now More Than Ever, We Are Better Together

by Matt Westendorf

I have no interest in recapitulating the events of these past many months, but I also have no choice but to acknowledge that what happened this past year will influence our operations moving forward.

Among questions we will have to answer:

  • Can employers require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Or, might there be a more narrowly defined group of employee requirements based on working conditions?
  • If there are no mandates, will policymakers create rules on responding to hot spots that could halt operations?
  • What is an employer’s liability around positive COVID-19 cases?

As we face these questions, we are fortunate to face them as part of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association. The Association brings a depth of experience in navigating and influencing the legislative process, and when it speaks on behalf of many hundreds of companies that stretch from coast to coast, it cannot be ignored.

We need the Association, and the Association needs us. We need an organization that focuses on small business issues and the unique needs of shortline manufacturers, and the Association needs the weight of a strong member base.

Of course, the Association’s advocacy work goes beyond current events. As the distribution landscape changes and companies that build mass-produced lines seek exclusivity on dealers’ lots, the Association speaks on our behalf in state houses and industry discussions.

That elevated voice, while essential, is not, in my opinion, the most valuable benefit of membership. What I most appreciate are the opportunities to talk to you.

The Association will continue to plan meetings for members to be together, and I believe what we can accomplish when we are together is limitless. We are overdue for the problem-solving, idea-sharing, partnership-forming experience Association events offer.

As you read in the Feb. 9 issue of Shortliner, the Board of Directors meets this week to discuss how to proceed with Supply Summit 2021. In the meantime, Association staff moves ahead with plans to make this an unforgettable and safe convention. Register today at

Whether we are navigating a pandemic, influencing policy, building our business, solving a production problem or reacting to developments in the always-changing worlds of agriculture and manufacturing, we are stronger when we face it together.

I look forward to learning with you in Kansas City in April and the months ahead.

Westendorf is the 2021 Association president.