Education: Retailer Magazine Q4 2022

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the Retailer Q4: 2022 | Quarterly magazine

SERVING AG, CONSTRUCTION AND OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT DEALERS ACROSS IOWA AND NEBRASKA

E D U CAT I O N Learning doesn’t stop when you finish high school or college. Even seasoned professionals seek out learning and growth opportunities every chance they get. The best leaders are the ones who believe in lifelong learning.


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CONTENTS

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5

EXECUTIVE INSIGHT

FEATURE DYTI GRANT WINNERS

The bank can take away your house, the IRS can sieze your land, but nobody can ever take away your education.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced 21st Century Equipment as a recipient of the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grant for 2022. 21st Century Equipment will use its grant of $125,000 for a mobile learning lab for students in the Nebraska Panhandle.

8 EDUCATION REASONABLE SUSPICION TESTING Employers with a comprehensive drug testing policy as part of their drug-free workplace program often include reasonable suspicion testing. There are five steps you must go through when you suspect an employee is impaired at work.

12 NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT Mark Othmer bids farewell to members in his last Retailer article after 25 years with the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA). He will retire at the end of the year.

14 IOWA FIELD REPORT Tom Junge explores the latest trends in the agricutlure equipment industry, including autonomous equipment, robotics, and regenerative ag.

TABLE OF CONTENTS | 1


CONTENTS

OFFICERS: Tim Kayton Chairman

Albion, NE

Scott Beach Past Chairman

Grinnell, IA

EDA DIRECTOR: Ivan Dorhout

Rock Valley, IA

DIRECTORS:

Kevin Clark Jay Funke Kent Grosshans Brian Koonce Matt Vande Hoef

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FEATURE AGDIRECT DIGITAL TOOLS

EDUCATION ON-BOARD VIDEO

AgDirect offers a suite of digital tools and online resources to give dealers and customers the competitive edge and time they need to focus on what matters most.

Not everyone will embrace it when you add on-board video to your company vehicles. Here are six things you can do to ease the transition as you implement a new companywide policy.

Lincoln, NE Edgewood, IA Central City, NE Ankeny, IA Hull, IA

STAFF:

Mark Hennessey Tom Junge Mark Othmer Donna Miller Will Rogers Cindy Feldman Gwen Parks Sydney Upah Gretchen Burch Channon Timm David Adelman Tim Keigher

President/CEO IA Field Director NE Field Director Operations Manager Director of Gov’t. Affairs Marketing Director Controller Mktg. Comm. Designer Admin. Svcs. Assist. Admin. Svcs. Assist. IA Legislative Director NE Legislative Director

CONTACT INEDA: 8330 NW 54th Ave. Johnston, IA | 50131-2841 E: info@ineda.com | W: www.ineda.com P: 515.223.5119 | F: 515.223.7832 TF: 800.622.0016.

Affiliated with:

24 FEATURE AGRITECHNICA The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is hosting a dealer trip to Agritechnica, the world’s largest ag show, in Hanover, Germany on November 11-21, 2023.

2 | TABLE OF CONTENTS

26 MARKETING VIEW Help your lean communications team give 100 percent when it comes to media relations with the four R’s of public relations: relationships, relevance, ready, and rehearsing/resources.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:

Individual subscriptions are available without charge to Association members. One-year subscriptions are available to all others for $30.00 (4 issues). Contact INEDA for additional information. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is furnished with the understanding that the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, the publisher, is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. Changes in the law may render the information contained in this publication invalid. Legal advice or other expert assistance should be obtained from a competent professional.

Vol. 111 No. 4


executive insight Education is something that can never be taken away from you… Those words made a lifelong impression on me at an early stage in my adult life. Through spending time with my grandfather, a man with only an eighth grade education, I learned a valuable lesson. During my freshman year in college, I admit that academics were not my first priority. My GPA can attest to this fact. My grades suffered from the boring general education classes (English 101, World Religions, Calculus 1, and Econ 101) that I was enrolled in at Iowa State University. One day, my grandfather, John K. Turek, picked up on the unrest I was feeling about whether to return to Iowa State for another year of college. Sitting on the porch with him, he asked how college was going for me. He wanted to know what I was learning from my classes and experiences. I told him that I wasn’t sure if college was right for me. I didn’t know whether a four-year degree and all of the general education classes that came with it were worth the effort. In my eyes, it seemed like a waste of time. He seemed to already know my answers before I delivered them to him. He nodded at me and consumed every word I said to him. Looking at me, he said these profound words that still resonate with me today: “Mark, the bank can take away your house, the IRS can seize your land, but nobody can ever take away your education. Nobody.” —John K. Turek With no diploma or college degree, my grandfather was still constantly learning. Many of the roads in the state of Nebraska were initially plowed, graded, and paved by him and his company, Biba Engineering, located in Geneva, Nebraska. For a man who quit school at the age of 14 to work on the family farm, his 50-year career ascended him to president of the company. Not wanting to disappoint my grandfather and motivated by his words of wisdom, I followed his advice and continued to pursue my degree. At the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA), one of our key objectives is education and training. Our team works year-round to offer workshops, webinars, and events as learning opportunities for our equipment dealers as well as educational opportunities for producers at the Nebraska Ag Expo and Iowa Ag Expo. We invite you to attend these educational opportunities and encourage you to offer suggestions and ideas that can help your employees and dealerships, too. Before I wrap up, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Mark Othmer for his 25 years of service to INEDA. Mark has been a dedicated advocate on your behalf, consummate professional, and friend. Not only did he teach me a tremendous amount during our time together, but I’m confident that he helped many of you along the way, too. The end of this year concludes Mark’s career at INEDA. Thank you, Mark! From all of us, I wish you the very best in your retirement and many rounds of golf in your future.

Chief Executive Officer

EXECUTIVE INSIGHT | 3


IT ’ S AL L A B O U T T HE

S T R ATE GY We w o rk t o g et her t o c reat e IN N O VATI VE & S T R AT E G I C S O L U T I O N S

We a re y o u r FULL SERVICE MARKETING C O N S U LTA N T • Brand Development • Website Development • Digital Marketing • Social Media • Streaming • Content Creation • Video Production

Ag

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

CON TA C T A SAL E S R E P FO R M O R E DE TA I L S 800.8 88 . 13 8 0 | J O HN . C O S T E L L O @L E E . NE T


LEFT: Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (second from right) recognizes Owen Palm (right), president/CEO of 21st Century Equipment, as a recipient of the $125,000 DYTI grant.

Gov. Ricketts Announces 2022 Developing Youth Talent Initiative Grant Winners On August 15, 2022, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced MetalQuest and 21st Century Equipment as the recipients of the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grants for 2022. Launched by the Governor in 2015, DYTI introduces middle school students to careers in industries such as manufacturing, information technology, engineering, and healthcare. DYTI is administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). “The Developing Youth Talent Initiative encourages partnership between private sector companies and schools to expose middle schoolers

to the rewarding careers we have right here in Nebraska,” said Gov. Ricketts. “It’s part of the talent pipeline we’ve built to connect our youth with great-paying jobs in our state. We’ve seen strong results from DYTI. Since starting in 2015, it has successfully sparked students’ interest in highdemand fields like IT and manufacturing.” DYTI provides competitive grants of up to $250,000 to for-profit employers, who partner with area schools to design innovative learning experiences that inspire seventh and eighth graders to explore careers in manufacturing, information technology, health care, and

other high-growth industries. The Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) creates collaboration between Nebraska businesses and public schools, connecting young Nebraskans to learning opportunities in the workforce that can play an important role in their decision to build their careers in our state. Grant recipients will partner with schools to engage 7th and 8th-grade students in participation in handson career exploration and relevant workplace learning opportunities. Exposing this next generation of leaders to the advanced skills and knowledge required for STEM occupations encourages an

FEATURE DYTI GRANT WINNERS | 5


expanding workforce to help Grow Nebraska. “We are experiencing a critical need for talented professionals who possess the skills in information technology, math, and science to propel our industries forward and address labor shortages,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Anthony L. Goins. “The Developing Youth Talent Initiative is a program that has immense importance for the mission to grow our state and create opportunities for our young people.” Since its inception, DYTI grants have reached 24,500 students across 66 Nebraska school

6 | FEATURE DYTI GRANT WINNERS

districts. The two companies receiving this year’s awards— MetalQuest and 21st Century Equipment—are set to impact at least 3,500 more students at 29 schools across 15 counties. 21st Century Equipment is using its grant of $125,000 to purchase, construct, and assemble a mobile learning lab. The lab will serve students at 19 schools throughout the Nebraska Panhandle. The focus of the lab is to familiarize students with technology used in precision agriculture, such as the navigational software used to program automated routes for ag equipment like tractors. 


21st Century Equipment Hosts Field Day for 100 Local FFA Students 21st Century Equipment, a leading John Deere dealership with 16 locations in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, partnered with Westco, WinField United, and a few other agribusiness partners on Thursday, August 25 to promote careers in agriculture to 100 local FFA students. They discussed the technology on the new John Deere equipment, showed students a service truck, and discussed their Ag Tech Tuition Reimbursment Program available to high school students. The program offers tuition reimbursement to qualified individuals for Ag Tech program and other select college programs for agricultural service technician training in exchange for four years of employment at a 21st Century Equipment dealership after graduation. It reimburses up to 100% of the students’ tuition, room/board, books, and fees. "We are making an investment in these students who might feel like they can’t afford to continue their education," said 21st Century Equipment Recruiting Manager Mary Eisenzimmer. "We want them to know about these local career opportunities with great pay and benefits and encourage them to stay local. It’s a huge recruitment tool."

LEFT PAGE, TOP, AND BOTTOM: 21st Century Equipment partnered with Westco and WinField United to promote careers in agriculture to 100 local FFA students.

The students who are most successful in the program have mechanical aptitude and a passion for the agriculture industry. This year, 21st Century Equipment started six students in the program, with the goal to recruit at least 20 students next year. Students who are interested in the Ag Tech Tuition Reimbursement Program can contact their local 21st Century Equipment service manager, visit the 21st Century Equipment website careers tab, or call 1-800-308-JOBS. 

FEATURE FFA FIELD DAY | 7


EDUCATION

REASONABLE SUSPICION TESTING: 5 STEPS Employers with a comprehensive drug testing policy as part of their drug-free workplace program often include reasonable suspicion testing, also known as for-cause or probable-cause testing. Reasonable suspicion testing must be based on individualized suspicion of a particular employee, and employers need to document objective facts that would suggest to a reasonable person that the individual is under the influence in violation of company policy. Supervisors, managers, and HR professionals should be trained in recognizing the signs of substance misuse in the workplace. This fall, the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) sponsored a Trucking Regulations Workshop. Sheryl Phelps with CJ Cooper & Associates, Inc. was present to provide Drug and Alcohol Supervisor Training for attendees. There are five steps you must follow when you suspect an employee is impaired:

Observe Personally observe unusual/curious behavior displayed by an employee. You must enlist the help of another trained supervisor if you suspect an employee is exhibiting symptoms that are a violation of your drug and alcohol policy. Before any evaluation is ordered, TWO trained supervisor/manager-level associates must personally observe the employee and see behavior that indicates violation of the drug/alcohol policy.

Confirm Confirm that the physical, behavioral, speech and/ or performance indicators you are observing are

8 | EDUCATION REASONABLE SUSPICION TESTING

consistent with what you know about substance misuse. You may not know exactly which substance the person is under the influence of, but you have enough reason to believe this is not normal behavior and the employee may be in violation of your drug and alcohol policy.

Document The observations for controlled substance use must be described in a written report as consistent with signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse. Get documentation from everyone involved with the confirmation and observation process.

Confront You must notify the employee of your suspicion, describe exactly what you have observed and why it has prompted you to order a drug and alcohol test. Immediately relieve the employee from their job duties. Never confront an employee alone.

Evaluate Immediately order appropriate evaluations. Do not send the employee to the drug testing center on their own.

How to Approach an Employee

Stick to the facts. Base your observations on what you can see, smell or hear. DO NOT approach an employee based on a hunch or what another individual has reported to you. Remember, you have to be able to articulate the reasons why you are suspicious and document that you made those observations yourself.


Remind the employee of your company’s drugfree workplace policy. The policy prohibits use of and being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs on company property.

Show concern for the employee. Some medical emergencies or health problems can resemble the symptoms of alcohol or drug use. Explain to the employee that you are concerned about some recent behaviors that you have observed, and you are required to have them evaluated for drug and alcohol use based on those appearances.

Listen respectfully. If an employee becomes defensive or denies your suspicion, listen to their concerns and then repeat your observation. Conclude by informing the employee that you are bound by company regulations to order an evaluation based on your position and your observations and that you have his or her health and safety in mind.

State that you are not blaming the employee for anything, but are following corporate policy and procedures.

Ask a non-threatening question once you state your observation, such as, “Is there anything you would like to say?”

Maintain your composure by using a calm tone of voice and display concern for the employee.

Emphasize the word “evaluation” instead of the word “test.” It seems less threatening to the employee.

Documenting Observed Behavior Make sure you are clear, concise, and specific in your written descriptions. Do not use words like, “I suspect” or “acts like”. Document exactly the action you observed in detail and get witness statements to back up your observations.

At least TWO supervisors/managers should approach the employee in a private setting to preserve confidentiality and avoid making a scene in public.

EDUCATION REASONABLE SUSPICION TESTING | 9


Insightful Guidance. Proactive Solutions!

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10516 Burt Circle | Omaha, Nebraska | 402.445.4040 | koskicpa.com FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE | 11


Mark your calendar and join us for the IowaNebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) Washington D.C. Fly-In on February 14-16, 2023! The fly-in plays a critical role in the success of our legislative agenda and gives us the opportunity to discuss important topics like workforce development, supply chain issues, Right to Repair, regulatory reform, transportation and infrastructure investment, and the Farm Bill reauthorization.

• Legislative update from INEDA staff • Dining at some of the best restaurants in D.C. “Every one of our members should consider attending our trip to Washington D.C. in February,” said Will Rogers, Director of Government Affairs. “Next year promises to be of great importance to our industry. And if you’ve never been to Washington D.C., then you need to experience it!” 

“The idea is that with these visits, congressional delegations remember the relationships they formed with our members so when a new issue comes up, they will ask our member (a constituent) for their opinion and guidance on the subject,” Nebraska Field Director Mark Othmer said. Highlights include:

• Briefings from key industry leaders and stakeholders on topics above

• Discussions with key members of Congress and policymakers

• Visits to the offices of Iowa and Nebraska Senators and House of Representatives

Scan for more info and to sign up! FEATURE D.C. FLY-IN | 11


ne AROUND

NEBRASKA

MARK OTHMER, Nebraska Field Director [marko@ineda.com]

THE FINAL WORD

A

s I sit down to write this article and begin to realize it will most likely be the last time I get to have a conversation with you—dealer members who became my work family for the past 25 years—I feel like I should reflect and see if there was something of great importance that should be remembered. Well, sorry folks, I’m just not that prophetic in my writings over the years. But there was one thing that caught my eye as I reviewed past Retailer articles that I penned. One common theme kept popping up. You know the old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same?” With that in mind, I would like to reflect on an article I wrote for the 1998 February/March issue of the Retailer. The title was, “Recruitment, Education, and Training—A Lifetime Commitment.” Everyone knows that finding and keeping great employees has been a major issue for farm equipment dealerships for many years. In the article I wrote 25 years ago, I described a scenario where I visited a local high school and talked with their student guidance counselor. Unfortunately, that conversation didn’t go very well, for as positively as I could describe the employment opportunities that were available in the farm equipment industry, the more push back I received from the guidance counselor. High school students need to be prepared for a four-year higher education experience in college to be a successful member of society. Anyone who was not capable of achieving a bachelor’s degree was most likely going to end up in a low wage service job that did not require much education beyond a

12 | NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT

high school diploma: fast food, janitorial, or (much to my dismay) service jobs in the auto, truck, and agricultural industry. These answers were coming from educators in rural high schools. I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My next stop was to find the vocational (shop) teacher at the school—if there was one—or the FFA program teacher sponsor. When I spoke with them, a completely different story emerged. I was shocked that I was still talking to someone from the same school system! The vocational teachers recognized that not all students are cut out for college life. They also recognized the excellent opportunities in the trade industries, especially agriculture, with new technologies coming to the forefront in that industry. Fast forward to today, and that scenario has changed tremendously for the better. Obviously, the worker shortage persists, but I feel the education system finally realizes the great opportunities that exist in agriculture and the trades. More and more high schools are developing “Career Centers” or educational pathways to the trades that allow students the opportunity to work toward a trade skill and enter the work force sooner without accumulating mountains of debt. The farm equipment industry helped pave the way for this mindset transformation by educating students and educators about the opportunities students in agricultural production, repair and precision technologies. There is now acceptance within the educational system that these occupational opportunities need to be supported within schools.


And last but not least, farm equipment dealers should be congratulated for their persistence in making their case to parents and educators. Dealers have let their actions do the talking by offering scholarships, tool allowances, guaranteed job offerings, and tool loan debt forgiveness with length of service agreements. Farm equipment dealerships are one of the few places that offer an employment experience where a student can receive the education, training, and career opportunities without incurring debt. And let’s talk about the job opportunities. For years, our industry has been looked upon as a low tech, low pay industry. You don’t have to spend much time reviewing the INEDA Wage and Salary Survey to figure out that just isn’t the case. These are now high paying jobs with great benefits and great opportunities for advancement. And yet we still are struggling to find employees. I hope our industry continues to fight for the recognition it deserves in the career market for new employees. We have already made great strides in the ways we find employees, and if the demand stays as high as it is, we will continue to make progress in how we educate, recruit, and train our workforce. Yes, it’s true—the more things change, the more they stay the same. Farm equipment dealers will continue to change their procedures in pursuit of the same goal—recruiting a qualified work force. Your business depends on it. Quite frankly, we all depend on it! Keep up the great work, dealers!

ABOVE: Mark Othmer retires after 25 years with the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA).

And the final, final word I want everyone to know that the past 25 years working at INEDA has been a most rewarding experience for me. I can’t describe how appreciative I am of the welcome I have received from dealerships over the years. I truly hope it’s been as great of an experience for you as it has been for me. Together, we have accomplished so much in our efforts on the legislative and regulatory front, and INEDA has performed its mission well in being a one-stop shop for information and resources for dealers. I am most pleased that Phil Erdman is taking up this mission from this point. If you have already had the chance to meet him, you know that Nebraska dealers are in good hands. If not, you will soon learn you are in better hands now than you were 25 years ago. 

nebraska SALES TAX spotlight Q. Is there an over-width exemption for hauling farm equipment?

A. Yes. A farm equipment dealer may haul over-

width equipment anywhere in the state during daylight hours as long as you are on a two-lane highway or road. The transportation of the overwidth equipment must be in the normal course of a farm equipment dealer doing business. A farm equipment dealer may pass this exemption to a contract carrier with proper documentation.

NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT | 13


ia

AROUND

IOWA

STAY AHEAD OF TRENDS IN THE INDUSTRY

O

ur daily routines limit us when it comes to seeing, planning, and adapting for the future. I experience this when managing the Iowa Ag Expo and Nebraska Ag Expo. Year after year, I follow the same process for prospecting for new exhibitors, mapping floor plans, assigning booths, sending booth contracts, and arranging speakers.

TOM JUNGE, Iowa Field Director [tomj@ineda.com]

Autonomous Equipment While researching for the Innovation Hub, the first category of innovative products that I explored was autonomous equipment. Case IH opened the eyes of many producers when they showed a prototype at the 2016 Farm Progress Show. Since then, there haven’t been many “intros” in autonomous equipment. This year however, things are taking off. John Deere is talking autonomous. Case IH introduced their fertilizer spreader. Raven (now owned by Case IH) showed their OMNi Power unit. Sabanto Ag in Nevada, IA is converting tractors to autonomous.

My daily routine was uprooted in July, when the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA), which owns and manages the Iowa Ag Expo and Nebraska Ag Expo, kicked off an initiative to The deeper I dove into autonomous equipment, bring new, innovative companies and products to the the more I learned that there are still obstacles to Nebraska Ag Expo—the Innovation Hub. This meant overcome. When people hear autonomous, they I had to map out a new area, picture units operating 24/7, relocate exhibitors, prospect at which simply isn’t the case. “As dealers, do you get so familiar different events, research new with your daily routine that you miss Autonomous equipment is companies online, collaborate what is changing in agriculture right still limited by fuel, seed, with fellow staff more frequently, chemical capacity, and signal under your nose? “ etc. It changed most of my loss. There are also obstacles, normal workflow. As the project such as washout areas in is coming together, I’ve learned that there is an fields. I’m learning that autonomous equipment is entire different world of agriculture companies that very complex, and it will be a while until it is fully we haven’t been exploring. implemented. Until then, it sure is fun to talk about! As dealers, do you get so familiar with your Robotics daily routine that you miss what is changing In my mind, robotics (individual row units or units in agriculture right under your nose? Are you up to a width that are easy to transport) is more adequately preparing your business and employees popular than autonomous equipment. Many dealers for these changes? Will farmers continue to need and I agree that the idea of agriculture robots makes and want your “normal” products? economic sense and has great potential. Here are six trends in agriculture I’ve learned more Fendt was one of the first to introduce this about in the last two months: concept—the Xaver—at Agritechnica in 2017.

14 | IOWA FIELD REPORT


I found at least five other companies that are developing or already created working units today. These row units can plant, cultivate, fertilize, spray, sow cover crop, etc. Salin247, which will exhibit at both Expos this year, is a tracked 4-row toolbar capable of handling many tasks. Controlling weeds seems to be the biggest driver for robotics. Laser weeding and A.I. spraying can move much faster in the field if this technology only needs to focus on weeds within the planted crop. For this reason, along with more pressure to reduce chemical use, I believe that we will see robots cultivating crops in the future.

Electric Vehicles We’ve all seen electric lawn mowers. Now we are seeing electric construction equipment. There are electric skid loaders, mini-excavators, and miniwheel loaders. Two companies are promoting electric sub-compact tractors, and a few more are moving toward electric riding mowers.

be more productive. There has been an explosion in biological companies promoting root stimulants, microbes, nitrogen fixation, and other science that is way over my head. All of this leads to more no-till, strip-till, and carbon credit discussions.

Strip-Till If you attended the Farm Progress Show this year, you probably saw more strip-till tillage than conventional tillage. The trend toward strip-till is picking up speed. New companies such as Lyxn, AGuru, and Black Eagle Ag – to name a few – have appeared. Black Eagle Ag of Moline, IL is a startup tillage company that began building strip-till equipment for Australia but is now finding success in Iowa and Illinois. If this trend continues, what is the market value for used conventional tillage?

Organic Farming

Carbon Imprint, Soil Health, and Regenerative Ag

About two years ago, farmers began asking about displays focused on organic farming at the Iowa Ag Expo. This year, we are adding an organic farming/ regenerative ag category at the Nebraska Ag Expo, alongside the Innovation Hub.

Variations of these three terms can be found on many companies’ websites. You’ll hear about reactivating soil microbes and building up soil to

I was surprised by the interest from exhibitors. Two companies that use flames to control weeds will exhibit at the Nebraska Ag Expo. Four companies

ABOVE: OMNiPOWER™ is an autonomous power platform that couples with ag implements—like a seeder, sprayer, or spreader—so it can perform multiple tasks autonomously for a farming operation.

IOWA FIELD REPORT | 15


that have specialized tillage for cultivation will also be there. Interestingly enough, the four companies are all from Europe (Garford RoboCrop—England; Einbock—Austria; Hatzenbichler—Austria; Treffler Organic Machinery—Netherlands). Is it a coincidence that Europe was also the leader in disc mowers, high road-speed tractors, and highspeed tillage technology? I talked to crop.zone, which is a company that uses an electrical charge to kill weeds, at the Farm Progress Show. Guess what—they are from Germany. The interesting part is none of our dealer members sell this type of equipment (yet). These are only a few of the observations that I’ve had over the last few months. What I’m leading up to is that our daily routines can keep us from taking the time to see, plan, and change for the future of our businesses. So much can be learned by attending events that focus on our industry and new technologies. Are you taking the time to attend these events and observe what farmers are learning? Are you ready to be the dealer for these new, innovative products? These companies are hungry for a dealer network. A part of my conversation with crop.zone was about who will service their equipment. Their answer is they don’t know yet—but they need someone. Change up your routine and take the time to attend the Nebraska Ag Expo on December 6-8, 2022 in Lincoln, NE and the Iowa Ag Expo on January 31-February 2, 2023 in Des Moines, IA. Better yet, be the first to see everything in innovative agriculture equipment at Agritechnica in November 2023 in Hanover, Germany. Some of what I saw in 2019 at Agritechnica is just beginning to appear in the United States today. 

ABOVE: Attending the Nebraska Ag Expo gives you the opportunity to learn what your customers are talking about.

iowa SALES TAX spotlight Q. We are writing off a fairly large customer

receiveable as uncollectible. Does Iowa allow us to claim a refund/credit for sales tax previously paid by our dealership on a customer bad debt?

A. Yes, sales tax paid on a customer receivable may be

eligible for a sales tax refund when that account has been determined to be a bad debt (see Iowa Code 423.21). If the account was totally uncollectible and deducted for federal income tax purposes, then the retailer may file an IA 843 Iowa Claim for Refund form. The retailer would identify on the Refund Claim form the period for which the sales tax was paid and the refund claim must be made within three years from the end of the quarter in which the sales tax was due.

16 | IOWA FIELD REPORT


NEBRASKA AG EXPO December 6-8, 2022 Lancaster Event Center • Lincoln, NE

Jerry Pigsley, Attorney Licensed to practice law in Iowa and Nebraska

www.woodsaitken.com

For over 50 years, Woods Aitken’s labor and employment attorneys have represented local, regional and national businesses in a broad spectrum of industries. We provide services in human resources counseling, employment litigation, and traditional labor law.

INEDA Human Resources Helpline (855) 277-5575

The helpline is available for general advice at no charge to INEDA members. Representation on specific matters may be subject to charge to the individual member, but no charge will be incurred without the member’s agreement first.

IOWA FIELD REPORT | 17


5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR DEALERSHIP FROM A CYBER ATTACK Protecting yourself, your employees and your business from online predators requires all of us to remain vigilant. Your dealership is only as strong as your weakest link, and cyber attacks can happen to anyone.

1. Know how to identify phishing emails. Phishing is one of the most common types of cyber crime, but despite how much we think we know about scam emails, people still frequently fall victim. Here are some tips for detecting a phishing email:

• • • •

The message is sent from a public email domain The domain name is misspelled The email is poorly written It includes infected attachments or suspicious links • The message creates a sense of urgency

2. Update your Malware protection software. Software updates are becoming even more important as software vendors update vulnerabilities “threat actors” are using to infect computers and devices. Not updating is the equivalent of leaving the key to your front door in the keyhole. It’s like saying, “Please, bad guy! Come on in!”

3. Ensure you have strong passwords. You can take action and communicate the steps to dramatically reduce the likelihood that your employees’ accounts will be compromised.

• Have your employees use a secure password

manager like LastPass to generate and keep track of unique passwords for each of their accounts.

18 | EDUCATION CYBER ATTACK PROTECTION

• If you cannot provide password managers

for your employees, then the easiest way to generate and remember a password is by using a passphrase that is at least 18 characters long. • Two-factor authentication, often written as 2FA, is an extra layer of security to verify that a person logging into an account is who they say they are. The most secure method of 2FA is by installing an authenticator app. • Do not reuse or share passwords.

4. Backup your data. Don’t assume that your data has been backed up. Verify it. The worst time to learn your data hasn’t been backed up is after a cyber attack.

5. Educate your employees. The more your employees know about cyber attacks and how to protect your data, the better off you’ll be. Whether the employee started today or has worked there for 25 years, make the time to educate them on cyber attack prevention. Send out regular reminders not to open attachments from people they don’t know or expect; outlining procedures for encrypting personal or sensitive information; and requiring employees to change their passwords regularly. And train your employees to double check in person if they get rush requests to issue unexpected payments—a common scam. 


AgDirect Digital Tools: Delivering on the promise of simple, fast, flexible. FARM CREDIT SERVICES OF AMERICA, AgDirect Learning Center/Fraud Protection

As one of the fastest-growing equipment financing brands in the nation, AgDirect is committed to serving customers and dealers while changing to meet marketplace needs. For more than two decades, the program has brought digital solutions to the forefront of the equipment financing industry. Today, AgDirect offers a suite of digital tools and online resources to give dealers and customers the competitive edge and time they need to focus on what matters most.

EDUCATION AGDIRECT DIGITAL TOOLS | 19


“It goes back to our focus of serving agriculture’s machinery and equipment financing needs,” said Scott Welden, AgDirect territory manager in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. “All of our digital tools serve a fundamental purpose of maintaining that focus while creating flexibility, faster turnarounds and a sense of convenience.”

quotes and compare payment options side-by-side from their mobile phone or tablet.

Find out how offerings, like the new AgDirect online financing application, plus the AgDirect Mobile app, electronic signatures and online payment calculator can help your customers find the best financing solutions.

AgDirect online equipment financing

“The AgDirect Mobile app is really handy for running multiple scenarios before making a decision,” said Chad Minnis, owner of Car-Min-Vu Dairy Farms near Webberville, MI. “You can be in the middle of the field, and if something pops into your head, it’s easy to grab your phone and do a quick calculation.”

Dealers have access to an online AgDirect application and quoting tools that can be used to enter customers’ financing information from the dealership, farm, or field. Most decisions and financing documents are returned within seconds.

The app also includes Secure Snap, a digital tool that allows AgDirect equipment salespeople to securely send driver’s license images, financial documents and other personal information to the AgDirect finance team using their mobile device.

“Doing business with AgDirect is very quick and streamlined,” said Brian Still, salesperson with Vetter Equipment in Mount Ayr, IA. “When I put in an application, I typically have docs within minutes and can close the deal with the customer sitting at my desk right then and there. Speed is everything in these situations.”

When AgDirect Mobile was first rolled out in 2012, there were various payment calculator apps available, but few were geared toward the ag equipment industry. Since then, the mobile-friendly platform has supported more than 7,800 users, giving dealers and customers direct access to the tools they need to explore their financing options.

Now, in addition to applying for AgDirect financing at the dealership, customers can apply for equipment financing or refinancing on new or used machinery purchases at agdirect.com using a simple, secure application that can be completed 24/7.

“The AgDirect Mobile app is a wonderful tool for showing customers different scenarios of what they can do with a lease versus a loan and the residuals,” says Mark Rathe, salesperson with KanEquip in Syracuse, NE. “It’s very user-friendly and helps us deliver a fast response time and get the deal done.”

Using the online equipment application, customers can get the same attractive AgDirect rates and agfriendly terms. If the transaction involves an active AgDirect dealer, the dealer will have the option of closing the deal and earning a sales incentive. To get started with an application, customers simply enter information about the equipment they want to buy or refinance, the type of loan they desire and their financial background, including gross farm and net non-farm income. The application takes roughly 10 minutes and applicants will typically receive a response within three business hours.

AgDirect Mobile app The AgDirect Mobile app, available for download through the Apple App StoreTM or Google Play Store TM, allows users to calculate individual payment

20 | EDUCATION AGDIRECT DIGITAL TOOLS

Other key features include access to real-time interest rates, a downloadable lease residual matrix, cost/hour versus cost/acre comparisons, and the ability to save and compare finance options, or email and text payment quotes.

Electronic signatures Electronic signatures are one of the most popular applications for streamlining document management processes. Since the AgDirect eSign pilot program was launched in 2018, more than 3,785 dealer locations have started using the application to help customers save time and accelerate transactions. In 2022, nearly 60 percent of AgDirect transactions have been closed using eSign. Using eSign, customers can count on quicker closing and funding for their equipment needs thanks to a seamless financing process that can take place at the dealership or any location using their mobile device. From small operations to larger entities, eSign can accommodate remote signatures no matter how many parties are involved. Multiple customers can sign from multiple locations, and every signer can


authorize the transaction simultaneously rather than emailing, faxing or mailing documents. Additionally, eSign provides a more secure method for capturing signatures by encrypting documents and keeping an audit trail of the routing process.

Online payment calculator Another convenient tool for estimating costs and comparing payments includes AgDirect’s easy-to-use online payment calculator at agdirect.com.

“Ultimately, the AgDirect online equipment application and other digital tools we offer help dealers and customers save time, add convenience, and focus on what matters most in their business or operation.” Learn more about AgDirect equipment financing options by locating your nearest territory manager or contacting the AgDirect financing team at 888.525.9805. 

“The payment calculator is one of my favorite features because it allows you to factor in different scenarios like how many years you want to go on term length and different types of interest rates,” Minnis said. Whether planning to lease or finance, customers can estimate their annual, semiannual, quarterly, or monthly payments in a matter of minutes. It’s as easy as entering the equipment price, interest rate, terms, payment frequency, and amortization type. “Agriculture is constantly evolving, which is why AgDirect works to develop digital tools and resources that accelerate transactions, enhance the customer experience, and streamline the equipment financing process,” Welden said.

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EDUCATION AGDIRECT DIGITAL TOOLS | 21


EDUCATION

How to Approach On-Board Video in Your Company Vehicles WILL ROGERS, Director of Government Affairs, [willr@ineda.com]

One of your company vehicles is involved in an accident resulting in multiple deaths of a wellrespected family from your community and causing significant reputational damage to your company. Don’t you want to have hard evidence showing that your driver is not at fault?

distracted driving, and utilizing technology to establish facts in the event of an accident. Based on several conversations I’ve had with our members, I’ve learned that not all dealers are ready to embrace on-board video.

In most cases involving accidents with a commercial motor vehicle, law enforcement will default to “guilty until proven innocent” against the driver. Often enough, the facts of an accident are difficult to establish. On-board video cameras are a tool that can help prove the innocence of a driver and protect your company from significant liability.

One attitude that I’ve encountered from this group of people is “ignorance is bliss”—they don’t want to know what their drivers are up to, as long as the driver doesn’t get into an accident. But is that really how you want to approach your business operations? Let me put this another way. I don’t want to know how much my bookkeeper is embezzling, just as long as I don’t go broke.

During the recent Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA)-sponsored Trucking Regulations Workshop, a training officer from the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement voiced the idea of installing on-board video as a measure of improving safety, curbing

Another concern from dealers is that video can be a double-edged sword. Yes, it’s true that video can be used both to exonerate or convict a driver of negligence. But it can also help your attorney determine if your case is worth fighting or settling as quickly and painlessly as possible. And do you

22 | EDUCATION ON-BOARD VIDEO


RIGHT: Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) members gathered at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, IA on Wednesday, August 24 for the Iowa Trucking Regulations Workshop, where they reviewed current trucking regulations and roadside issues with Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement.

really want to subject your employees to a crossexamination in a courtroom if you don’t have to? Not everyone will fully embrace it when you add onboard video to your company vehicles, and that’s okay. Here a few things you can do to ease the transition as you implement a new companywide policy.

Lead by Example If you are going to put on-board video in your company vehicles, then be the first to install the technology in your own vehicle. Your employees might still object, but they won’t do it as loudly if they know that you are willing to hold yourself accountable, too.

Use for Coaching Let your drivers know that the first and primary use of the on-board video is to improve outcomes—not to punish them for screwing up. The goal is to make employees better and safer. Make it a part of your monthly routine to review video and incident data to help them understand what they can do to improve.

Explain Telematics An on-board video system can capture more than just video. There is data on speed, acceleration, braking, turning, collision alerts, and electronic logging. The system can also be used to help with guidance and verification of a location in the case of an emergency.

board video. These incentives can include bonus pay, extra time off, gift certificates, and extended use of the company vehicle.

Consider the Cost The great thing about technology is that it might not be as pricey as you’d think. A few years ago, a quality on-board video system would have likely set you back $1,000 (or more!) per vehicle. Today, you can outfit a vehicle for as little as $500, including 4K video, driver-assistance, collision warning, night vision, and GPS. And be sure to ask your insurance provider for a discount on your premium!

Plan for Government Mandates While not currently required by law or regulation, it is highly probable that the federal government will mandate the use of on-board video in the next 5-10 years. Getting ahead of the regulation will provide you a longer timeline to implement the new technology and policy. The last thing that you may want to consider is asking your attorney and insurance provider what they think. In my research for this article, every attorney and insurance advisor that I spoke was in favor of installing on-board video. Based on my experience of working with professionals who understand the law and liability, l would consider it good advice. 

Incentivize Your Team One way to get voluntary adoption from your employees is to create incentives that reward your drivers when they use company vehicles with on-

EDUCATION ON-BOARD VIDEO | 23


Reserve Your Spot Today for Agritechnica, the World’s Largest Ag Show! The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) will host a dealer trip to Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany on November 11-21, 2023. After reviewing the details, scan the QR code on the next page to let us know if you’re interested! Spend two days at Agritechnica, the world’s largest exhibition for agricultural innovations and a prime meeting place for innovators and major businesses in the agriculture equipment and crop production market. “Agritechnica is the world’s largest ag trade show, where new products and innovations for agricultural machinery are on full display,” INEDA President and CEO Mark Hennessey said. “It

24 | FEATURE AGRITECHNICA

is the showcase for the global agricultural engineering industry and a forum for the future of crop production.” After the cancellation of its previous edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Agritechnica 2023 will mark a crucial industry reunion on November 12-18, 2023 at the Hanover Fairground. Over 400,000 visitors are expected to gather in Hanover for an unrivaled showcase of the latest innovations across the industry value chain. Agritechnica 2023 exhibition venue will cover 23 halls with products from all aspects of the plant production ecosystem. Over 1,700 exhibitors are

expected to showcase leading products that will define the future of crop production. “You will see early-stage products launched in Europe that have yet to reach the United States,” Hennessey said. “INEDA’s planned trip will provide for a complete itinerary of events, including activities outside of the show to make this a most memorable experience.” For the other eight days, you’ll experience Germany and tour some of the most famous landmarks in Berlin, Hannoversch Muenden, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuehl, and Munich. Don’t worry—we aren’t all work and no play. The trip will also


LEFT: As Europe’s largest farm machinery and technology show, there is no better place than Agritechnica, Germany to check out the latest tractor developments and future concepts. Photo courtesy of Farmers Guardian. RIGHT: Photo courtesy of Agritechnica.

include several excursions and guided tours, including:

• Concentration camp

Sachsenhausen • The world famous “Romantic Road” • Reichstag and Museums Island • Neuschwanstein Castle • Andechs Monastery brewery • BMW World Museum • Viktualienmarkt Food Tasting Tour The price for the trip is estimated at $2,989 per person (flight not included). This price is subject to change slightly based on number of attendees, hotel availability, exchange rate, and other variables. A down payment of $500 per person is required by November 15, 2022 to secure your spot(s).

Included:

• Transportation on modern private coach and tour guide fees • 9 nights’ accommodation in 4 or 5 hotels • Daily breakfast buffet

• 6 lunches and 5 dinners • English-speaking tour guide throughout the whole tour

• Tourism and technical visits as outlined in the itinerary • Entrance fee for two days at Agritechnica

Not Included:

• International flights and

fees in connection with the flight • Items of personal nature such as laundry, mini bar • Any attractions, meals, and activities not included in itinerary • Gratuities for local guides, bus driver, and tour guide • Porter services in the hotels Only 44 seats are available for this trip and spots will fill up fast! Please scan the QR code and fill out the form to let us know if you’re interested or would like more information, and we will contact you. 

Scan for more info and to sign up!

Please note: All prices are given in good faith but subject to recalculation at the time of booking. This concept itinerary contains example visits that may be possible; however, all visits and tour elements are subject to change at the time of booking and confirmation.

FEATURE AGRITECHNICA | 25


MARKETING VIEW

CINDY FELDMAN, Marketing Director [cindyf@ineda.com]

MARKETING

The Four R’s of Media Relations for Dealerships’ Ag Communicators Many agri-businesses and rural-facing companies work on shoestring budgets and keep their marketing and communications teams lean. In many organizations, one or two people are juggling every aspect of earned, owned, and paid media. The job description for a dealership’s ag communicator may include designing brochures, producing events, posting to social media, ordering the company polos, assisting human resources with recruiting, creating sales presentations, and “all other duties as assigned.” So, when it comes to working with reporters, it’s easy for their leaders to take the public relations process for granted and ask their marketing communications team to “get this article in the industry magazine or newspaper right away.” This kind of request can send a dealership’s communication team’s head spinning!

26 | MARKETING VIEW


Help your lean communications team give 100 percent when it comes to media relations with the four R’s of public relations: build relationships, be relevant, get ready, and ensure your team rehearses and has resources prepared.

1. Relationships Build relationships with reporters before you “need” them. This starts with an up-to-date media list which is especially important with the ongoing consolidation in ag media. A variety of subscription services provide contact details and press release distribution services. Several do a good job of staying current with job changes with ag and rural lifestyle reporters, so be sure your service covers your specific industry. It’s often best to segment reporters based on what kinds of content they would cover. In ag, most reporters and editors specialize in some aspect of the industry. You can also connect with these reporters on Twitter or LinkedIn. A media relations agency is also a great resource. Agencies already pay the annual subscription fee for these reporter databases. Partnering up for media connections can be a time and resource saver.

2. Relevant Who cares? Segmenting your list of reporters also ensures you’re sending the most relevant content to the right reporter. A national news outlet does not

care that you donated $500 to the local county fair, but your local newspapers do. Why does this matter? Specifically, why does this matter to the media outlet’s audience? This is a critical question for dealership’s communicators to ask of their leaders who are pushing for a press story. Have tough conversations about what constitutes trying to make news and what is clearly newsworthy. Timing is everything. Many industry publications share their editorial calendars at least a year in advance. Use those resources to place your company in the spotlight when the editors are looking for specific content.

3. Ready One of the biggest mistakes a dealership communications team can make is not being prepared to communicate in a crisis. As a leader, support your communications in creating a companywide plan and instituting training; don’t let it sit on the back burner. Communicate together: There are two sides to crisis management; on-the-ground operations and communications. Ensure your safety/emergency operations team and communications teams work together to coordinate. Document and train a clear chain of command for notifying up the team hierarchy and a plan for communicating to all


employees, customers, vendors and the community both in the short term and in the long-term. Planning matrix: One of the best ways to draft content for crisis communications is to create a matrix of “most likely crisis to occur” and “most impactful crisis to occur.” Prepare draft social media, press releases, and talking points based on a matrix created by a cross-section of your business.

4. Rehearsing and Offering Resources Great news. Your dealership’s communications team has landed a stellar interview with a key reporter. The hard work is just starting because you need to train and prepare helpful resources for your reporter. Key messages: Ensure you and your team are synced on a clear, concise message you want to resonate in the interview. It should be one to two sentences and be repeated often in your time with the reporter. Pivot to your key message: You have just as much control over the interview as the reporter does. If you get a question that strays from your focus, answer the question but use a pivot phrase to move the conversation back to your main point. Offer resources: According to Cision’s 2021 State of the Media report, more than 75% of reporters utilize images with their articles and almost 50%

28 | MARKETING VIEW

utilize video or infographics. Make your reporter’s job easier by offering images or photo shoot locales, an infographic or existing b-roll.

Making Room for the Four R’s Regardless of your dealership’s marketing and communications focus, it’s important to offer your team the time, energy and resources necessary to make earned media shine. Allow them to build relationships, ask you questions to ensure your content is relevant, be ready with a crisis communications plan and know how to be responsive even in defense mode and ensure your team rehearses and has resources prepared to establish a successful communications program.  Source: Forbes.com


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Happy Holidays Warm w ish es for a joyfu l h o l i d ay s e a s o n a n d a s u cce s s f u l N ew Ye a r ! From yo u r f r i e n d s a t AgD i re c t .

AgDirect is an equipment financing program offered by Farm Credit Services of America and other lenders, including participating Farm Credit System Institutions.