Convention: Learn, Network, Sell

“Because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business has two—and only these two—basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
— the late Peter Drucker, consultant, author, and educator

As this Association prepares for the biggest annual gathering of shortline farm equipment manufacturers and the industry’s marketers and distributors, we are naturally drawn to that famous line from Peter Drucker.

The annual Marketing & Distribution Convention is designed specifically to connect the innovators to the marketers, and we are excited about what’s in store for the 2019 convention.

When we gather at the Hyatt in St. Louis from Nov. 5 to 7, we will offer a combination of structured, introductory time and independent meeting time for you to get to know fellow Association members as well as members of the Equipment Marketing & Distribution Association (EMDA).

We also will provide a standout roster of speakers to give you tools you need to bring your business to the next level. Educational sessions include:

Building an Influential Brand

John Hall has been rated by Forbes magazine as a No. 1 “must-see” speaker. His presentations focus on how to stay top-of-mind with customers, gain their trust, and influence their decisions. Hall will explore strategies for shortline manufacturers seeking to raise their visibility with farmers and farm equipment dealers.

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

Neil Caskey is vice president of communications for the National Corn Growers Association. His 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. Caskey has been a key player in national conversations on the ethanol issue and the Bud Light Super Bowl commercial that misled consumers about corn syrup. He will offer his thoughts on the state of the ag industry and what lies ahead.

Ask the Lawyer:
Workplace Policies on Social Media, Marijuana

David James is a labor and employment attorney with Nilan Johnson Lewis, a partner firm to this Association. James will explore answers to frequently asked legal questions related to employees’ social media use and, as marijuana becomes legal in more states, how employers should respond.

The Future of Digital Marketing

Dustin Johansen, vice president for Osborn Barr, and Steve Kozel, a group strategy director for the firm, will talk to attendees about the future of digital marketing. Expect to learn more about research tools available for the shortline industry, data analytics, trends in content, such as podcasts, blogs, and web site strategies, and how to identify and engage appropriate partners to serve as influencers.

Autonomous Farming and the Shortline Industry

The Association will bring together a panel of experts representing distinct pathways to the autonomous farm, and each will offer his perspective on what this emerging technology means for implement makers.

Panelists are:

John Anderson, founder and president of JCA Electronics, which he began in his parents’ garage in 2002. He is an engineer with a background in mobile equipment design. JCA collaborates with manufacturers in developing complete control systems, from the physically installed components to software for equipment. This allows manufacturers to customize their requirements.

Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson is the COO of GUSS Automation in Kingsburg, Calif. He grew up on a dairy farm in Arizona and became acutely aware of the labor crisis in agriculture. In 2017, he moved to California, began farming almonds, and joined the in-its-infancy GUSS team, which builds the world’s first autonomous orchard sprayer.

Cory Beaujot is managing director of marketing, sales & communications at SeedMaster Manufacturing and Dot Technology Corp. He is also an owner with the rest of the Beaujot family. SeedMaster features a line of application equipment from the Nova Cart to seeders that use metered seed flow rate, load cells, and controlled tank distribution. The Dot Power Platform is an autonomous farming apparatus designed to operate in conjunction with a variety of farm implements

Colin Hurd

Colin Hurd has founded two agriculture companies. His first company developed the planting product TrackTill. He more recently founded Smart Ag, which offers plug-and-play systems for users in the field who are able to flip a switch for autonomous operation of their current tractors. Smart Ag also provides a software package to monitor and control autonomous grain carts.

Emily Smith

Moderating the discussion will be Emily Smith, a customer service and marketing manager at Art’s Way Manufacturing. She is focused on spreading the news about machinery solutions that improve farm operations. Prior to joining Art’s Way, Smith worked with her dad developing farm equipment and entering new markets.