June 9, 2017

Farmer Panel

Members will hear from a panel of farmers discussing issues as they relate to manufacturers.  The panel will discuss what influences their decision-making on equipment purchases. We will ask them through a Q&A moderated session what drives them to buy new equipment, to what degree they depend on dealers’ suggestions, how they budget for asset spending, how committed are they to automation, and how they decide what to cut when the budget is tight.

We have put together a diverse set of farmers to maximize the variety of insights they provide. The group will include a dairy farmer in the northeast, a hog farmer in the upper Midwest, who also operates an agricultural excavating business, and a more traditional large operation grain farmer. We have purposely selected a group that has the potential to be your customers well into the future.

We will also learn about their overall businesses. How have profit margins changed over the years, what are their toughest business challenges, how much help do they hire and what do their plans for the future look like?

Association President Paul Jeffrey will begin the conversation, but we will open it to you and encourage you to bring questions. This promises to be a candid, casual, and constructive conversation. If you have any topics you would like addressed, please send them to andrea@farmequip.org, and we will do our best to include them in the session Q&A.

This session will take place on Thursday at 8:30 am.

Jacob Handsaker Iowa Farmer

John Temme Nebraska Dairyman

Neil Walter Texas Farmer








The EMDA and FEMA Joint Opening Session is designed to bring the members together to “kick-off” their conventions with a dynamic presentation that will set the tone for an intensive week of appointments and meetings. The Joint Opening Session features Col. Mike Mullane presenting “Countdown to Safety.” From combat reconnaissance missions over the skies of Vietnam, to Space Shuttle missions, to climbing some of the highest peaks across the globe, Astronaut Mike Mullane knows what teamwork, leadership, and safety are all about. He has educated, inspired, and motivated tens of thousands of people from every walk of business and government with his incredibly unique talks. “One person with courage forms a majority,” Mullane delivers a powerful message on the individual’s role in keeping themselves and their teams safe in hazardous environments.

Mullane was selected as a Mission Specialist in 1978 in the first group of Space Shuttle Astronauts. He completed three space missions aboard the Shuttles “Discovery” and “Atlantis” before retiring from NASA and the Air Force in 1990.

Mullane is the author of several books, including his uniquely entertaining memoir, Riding Rockets, The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut. He has also established himself as an acclaimed professional speaker on the topics of teamwork, leadership and safety. He has educated, entertained, inspired and thrilled tens of thousands of people from every walk of business and government with his incredibly unique programs.

Col. Mike Mullane will speak on Wednesday at 8:00 am.

Damian Mason is an entrepreneur, farm owner, writer, and speaker. His on stage career began in 1994 when he resigned from corporate America to become a professional Bill Clinton impersonator. Times change and so do presidents. Damian transformed from political humor by creating his next opportunity. Today, he delivers insights and information – in a very entertaining manner – on subjects he knows best: Agriculture and Business. Damian is returning to our Marketing & Distribution Convention, he was our keynote joint breakfast speaker in 2012 and received such positive reviews, we have brought him back to speak to us in our first general session on the topic of Business Reinvention.  

Damian Mason will speak on Wednesday at 9:45 am.

Bob Wilson is chairman, founder, and consultant for ADVISA, an organizational consulting firm in Carmel, Ind. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and his MBA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in marketing and finance. He worked in retailing and manufacturing in a variety of sales and management positions prior to starting ADVISA. ADVISA is a leadership development company that works with more than 300 companies on a retainer basis. Members met him in April 2016 at the Spring meeting in Clearwater, Fla. Bob will speak about hiring and managing millennials. He will discuss: What makes them unique, what’s different about attracting and retaining them, and how to create a culture that’s welcoming across generations.

Bob Wilson will speak on Wednesday at 11:15 am.

The Association’s outside counsel Trent Johnson, partner and distribution attorney at law firm Foley & Lardner, will be addressing the convention again this year, covering important baseline provisions that should always be included in your dealership contracts and standard terms & conditions of sale. This is practical and important advice that every businessperson needs to know! In addition, as a benefit of membership, Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association will be sponsoring 30-minute one-on-one consultations with Trent to discuss any legal issues you are facing with your distributors or dealers.  Trent will available much of November 8 and 9 – contact Tricia in the Association office to reserve your time slot while they last.

Trent will be speaking during the Dealer Relations session on Wednesday at 2:30 pm.

Al Hemerson is a farmer, truck driver, and inventor from Gilmore City, Iowa. He works 400 acres of tillable land in the middle of the corn belt.  Al has encountered challenges in his work with mainline OEMs. He has long had issues in deciding how to process excess corn stover, and he has often wondered how to improve the life of tillage tools with tractors approaching 10-plus miles/hour.

Al met with a major manufacturing company over the past 18 months and is now designing and developing a new tillage sweep. A patent is pending. Al will talk to the Tillage Council about an inventor’s thought process in developing new agricultural and ground-engaging tools, as well as the process of moving the product from concept to marketplace. He’ll cover topics such as production, field testing, lab testing, sales and marketing, and the patent process.

The Tillage Council  meets from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday.