SERVING AG, CONSTRUCTION AND OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT DEALERS ACROSS IOWA AND NEBRASKA
Dealerships are learning to adapt to a changing workforce in order to overcome workforce development challenges.
Dealerships are learning to adapt to a changing workforce in order to overcome workforce development challenges.
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Embracing a new paradigm: Mark Hennessey addresses workforce development challenges in a tight labor market and highlights the need for dealerships to adapt, attract talent, and create a healthy, appealing work culture.
Accomplishments of the 2023 Nebraska Legislative Session include budget control, tax relief, support for education, broadband expansion, and protection of Nebraskans’ rights, emphasizing the importance of legislative involvement for future success.
FEATURE JAMIE MERTZ
Jamie Mertz reflects on his family’s legacy in the agriculture equipment business, his personal journey from West Bend to Van Wall Equipment, and his new role with the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association.
The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association awarded $88,500 in scholarships to 66 students pursuing careers in equipment dealerships in Iowa and Nebraska for the 2023-2024 academic year.
The Workforce Development Summit focused on collaborating, sharing experiences, and developing action plans for hiring and retention in dealerships. Topics included recruiting strategies, training, retention, employee engagement, and customer support, and dealers gained valuable insights from student perspectives.
Jay Funke Chairman, Edgewood, IA
Kevin Clark Vice Chairman, Lincoln, NE
Tim Kayton Past Chairman, Albion, NE
Ivan Dorhout Rock Valley, IA
Kent Grosshans Central City, NE
Brian Koonce Urbandale, IA
Dave McCarthy Waterloo, NE
Mark Placek Alliance, NE
Matt Vande Hoef Hull, IA
David Adelman IA Legislative Director
Gretchen Burch Admin. Svcs. Assist.
Phil Erdman Dir. of Dealer & Gov’t Rel.
Members from Nebraska and Iowa gathered for the 2023 Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing on June 20 and 21. The event focused on the latest legislative developments impacting equipment dealers and concluded with a friendly round of golf.
Discover the untapped potential of social media for recruiting new employees for your dealership! From reaching a wider audience to showcasing your dealership’s culture, learn how to attract top talent and create brand buzz with strategic social media tactics.
Laurie Haeder Admin. Svcs. Assist.
Mark Hennessey President/CEO
Tom Junge Expo Director
Tim Keigher NE Legislative Director
Jamie Mertz Dir. of Dealer & Gov’t Rel.
Donna Miller Operations Manager
Gwen Parks Controller
Sydney Upah Marketing Comm. Designer
8330 NW 54th Ave. Johnston, IA | 50131-2841
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | W: www.ineda.com
P: 515.223.5119 | F: 515.223.7832
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.
After conducting eight district meetings and two regional workshops in Iowa and Nebraska, it has become evident that workforce development remains a major challenge for our members. The tight labor market, combined with competition for workers from manufacturers, has made it increasingly difficult. We have observed billboards and online marketing messages promoting, “Monday-Friday work week; no weekends,” which have proven to be enticing for both new workers entering the workforce and existing employees seeking work-life balance. Meanwhile, farmers find themselves in the fields whenever the window of opportunity presents itself, and dealers must respond to their customers’ demands. During these times, weather, untimely equipment failures, or even “Murphy’s Law” tend to become prevalent challenges.
The question arises: How can equipment dealers, who require employees available on weekends, compete against local employers advertising a work-life balance with free weekends and no mandatory overtime? It is no accident that these employers promote flexible work environment options. They are well aware that this attracts talent in the tight labor market to their organizations, and dealerships have even lost quality employees to them.
The labor market of the 1980s, where individuals were desperate to find work and willing to put in any hours, is a thing of the past. Welcome to 2023, where the opposite holds true. Employers are now struggling to find applicants, let alone those who are motivated to work long hours. If equipment dealers cling to the mindset of the 1980s, attracting and retaining new employees will prove to be nearly impossible.
Examining demographic data and facts in Iowa and Nebraska, we find that the pool of available workers is very small. Based on 2020 census data, here is a closer look:
• Iowa and Nebraska have populations of 3.1 million and nearly 2 million, respectively.
• 36 percent of the population is 50+ years old, while 13 percent are under the age of 12, meaning 49 percent of the entire population is nearing retirement age or too young to enter the workforce. This significantly reduces the total workforce to 1.5 million in Iowa and 1 million in Nebraska.
• Less than one-third of the population in both states resides in rural areas. Considering the total workforce, this leaves us with 500,000 individuals in Iowa and 333,000 in Nebraska. It is important to note that these figures include those who are currently employed, with an unemployment rate ranging from 2 to 2.7 percent.
• 48 percent of high school students will pursue a four-year degree after graduation, leaving even fewer available candidates.
The implications are twofold. Firstly, for rural areas, the pool of potential new entrants interested in a diesel technician career is very small. Secondly, the problem will worsen as fewer rural students and workers choose to remain in rural areas, gravitating toward urban settings. For dealerships stuck in the mindset of the 1980s, the outlook appears bleak unless they embrace a new paradigm.
Dealers must ask themselves, “Why would an existing worker choose my dealership, where weekend work is mandated, when it is the very thing they do not want to do?”
In simple terms, if there are any available candidates, the likelihood of them selecting your dealership is very small if you continue to adhere to a 1980s mindset. It is evident that a new paradigm is required. Take a moment to look in the mirror and ask yourself these inward-facing questions: “Am I part of the problem? Am I holding onto past practices ingrained in me by my father, my grandfather, and so on? What do I need to change? How can I become more appealing to attract and retain workers? What will set our dealership apart from other employers?”
Many of these questions were discussed at our recent workshops dedicated to workforce development. Attendees brainstormed ideas to address these challenges, and plenty of good ideas surfaced. Undoubtedly, some of these ideas could work for you. We will be sharing some of these valuable insights with you. Each workshop included a session with community college students serving as panelists, allowing attendees to ask questions. The students’ answers were eye-opening for the participants. While some students were adamant about Monday-Friday hours only, others were completely fine with Saturday work during peak seasons. However, a common theme emerged among all the students: culture. A healthy culture built on genuine appreciation, a place where they can fit in, and an environment that offers flexibility and understanding is what appeals to them. That’s where they want to work.
If your dealership embodies such characteristics, then you are the type of employer these candidates are seeking. Now, the question is, how do you convey your story? One student shared an insightful nugget: “Instead of sending the human resources recruiter to talk to me with their professional-looking pamphlets, I want to talk to the “A” technician to see what it’s really like to work there.” This fresh perspective calls for a new way of thinking and a new paradigm.
Perhaps it’s time to adopt new approaches and explore the insights uncovered at our workforce development workshops. Better yet, plan to attend one in the future. What do you have to lose?
The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is pleased to announce that Jamie Mertz and Laurie Haeder have joined the team. Jamie will serve as the Director of Dealer and Government Affairs, serving our members in the state of Iowa. Laurie will take on the Administrative Services Assistant role, assisting with the Nebraska and Iowa Ag Expo event planning.
Meet Laurie Haeder
Laurie previously worked at Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping, Inc. in Des Moines before joining the team at INEDA. Throughout her career, she has worn a few different hats—which is fitting because Laurie loves hats! However, her compass kept steering her toward events. Laurie has ample event planning experience coordinating, planning, and managing events ranging in size and scope for 10+ years.
“Laurie’s positive attitude and mindset and passion for exceeding franchisee’s expectations and coordinating events are ideal qualities that she will bring into this role,” Hennessey said. “Our exhibitors, members, and team will enjoy her contagious energy.”
Laurie grew up in a very small town (Ainsworth) in Iowa with four sisters. She started playing softball at a young age and played through high school where she was named to the All-Conference Team. Her love of softball continued beyond high school to playing in adult leagues. Outside of work, Laurie
enjoys bicycling, outdoor concerts, traveling, and spoiling her energetic mini-Aussie pup.
Please help us welcome Laurie to the team as she jumps headfirst into the planning process for the Nebraska and Iowa Ag Expos this winter. You can reach Laurie at email@example.com or 515.223.5119.
Meet Jamie Mertz
Jamie brings a wealth of dealership experience with him. He was raised in a fourth-generation familyowned John Deere dealership—J.B. Mertz and Son, Inc., formerly operating in West Bend, IA.
Flip to page 12 to get to know Jamie Mertz! You can reach Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515.320.3314.
For those of you who participate in the exciting (and humbling) game of golf, if you haven’t heard this yelled—or yelled it yourself—you would be in the minority. “FORE!” is shorthand for, “You are about to get hit with a flying projectile that I can’t believe came off of the end of my club. Get out of the way so you don’t get hurt!”
At least, that’s what I’m thinking when I’m yelling it. You’ll not only hear it on your local course, but you’ll even hear it from the best players in the game during some of the biggest golf tournaments in the world. It doesn’t mean that they are bad golfers or that they haven’t put in the practice—there are just times when things don’t go according to plan.
One of those memorable shots was from the 2012 Masters Tournament. Bubba Watson hit his drive on the 10th hole, during the playoff, deep into the woods right of the fairway. When the pressure was on, he carved a shot through the trees and landed near the pin, which ultimately helped him win his first major championship (see photo of flight path below).
I enjoy watching golf because I know how hard it is to play well and the skills necessary to play as a professional.AROUND NEBRASKA
I also know how hard it is to get legislation passed and to be effective in the Nebraska Legislature. I will also admit that compared to golf, watching the Unicameral is nowhere near as enjoyable—especially this year with the tactics that were utilized to attempt to cause some wayward shots this session. But just like Bubba Watson’s efforts at the Masters, it is important to recognize success when we see it.
The 2023 Legislative Session scorecard will show a lot of positive things accomplished this session:
• 2023-2024 budget includes only a 2 percent increase despite historic 40-year high inflation.
• LB753 gives families more options so their kids get an education that fits their needs.
• LB243 provides billions of dollars in permanent property tax relief for Nebraskans.
• LB754 lowers income and business taxes to 3.99 percent, saving Nebraskans $900 million a year in taxes; eliminates taxes of Social Security income; and provides a tax credit related to childcare for families and providers. These are the largest income and business tax cuts in state history.
• LB 583 provides foundation aid and special education supplemental aid for each public school district while setting up the Education Future Fund for funding future spending needs.
• LB562 expands access to E-15, helping farmers and giving consumers more options at the pump.
• LB683 creates a new Broadband Office that will more efficiently use resources to provide support to communities and avenues for high-speed internet expansion.
• LB77 ratifies Constitutional Carry into law to protect Nebraskans and their rights.
The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) supported two other notable bills that were signed into law: Sales Tax Exemption on Twine/ Wire (LB 96—Slama) was included in LB 727, and state funding for career and technical education (LB 610—Lippincott) was included in the budget.
In this industry, we all spend a great deal of time on workforce development and recruitment. The same concepts apply to elected officials. The session began with a newly elected Governor in Jim Pillen, a new Lt. Governor in Joe Kelly who had never
presided over the Legislature, a new speaker in Senator John Arch, 10 new committee chairs, and 14 new state senators. The work they did would have been memorable for any legislative body, but it is especially laudatory when you consider how they accomplished what they did with so many new perspectives and personalities. Make time this summer and fall to thank your state senator for serving in the legislature.
Your participation in the legislative process is essential to your future success. Think of all of the time and energy you spend managing the risk in your business. Hopefully you recognize that your involvement in legislative and regulatory issues is an essential component to your risk management as these issues have become more and more prevalent in our daily lives.
As we approach the clubhouse, I would like to highlight the work of Tim Keigher with Keigher and Associates who represents you at the legislature. In addition, he provides INEDA members weekly email updates during the session. In his updates, Tim lists current issues before the legislature, previews the coming week, and summarizes INEDA’s position on all of the bills.
Before you know it, it will be time for the legislature to tee it up for the 2024 session.
Twine and baling wire. State Senator Julie Slama passed LB 984 (2022) to exempt net wrap from sales tax. This year, INEDA asked Senator Slama to introduce LB 96 (2023) to add twine and baling wire to provide consistency to the exemption. LB 96 was amended in LB 727 and signed into law by Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen.
My name is Jamie Mertz, and I hail from the small town of West Bend, Iowa, located in the northwest part of the state. Growing up, I was the second oldest among five children, with an older brother and three younger sisters (including identical twins).
My mother, originally from Scranton, IA, dedicated her career to music and vocal teaching, working in schools in LuVerne, West Bend, Spencer, and Algona. She grew up on a farm and met my father while attending college in Dubuque, IA—she was at Clarke, and he attended Loras.
They eventually married and settled in West Bend, where my family owned a John Deere dealership. Initially intended as a temporary stop, they ended up spending much longer
there. My father worked for his father, eventually taking ownership of the dealership and dedicating 45 years to it before selling it in 2018.
The History of J.B. Mertz & Son, Inc.
Let’s delve into the history of J.B. Mertz & Son, Inc. My great-great-grandfather, John Mertz, grew up as an only child in Holtz, Luxembourg. When he was a teenager, he tragically lost both of his parents while attending a private school in France. After completing his schooling, he returned to Luxembourg, where he met and married his wife Margaret. They had three children before making the life-altering decision to immigrate to the United States.
They settled in Ottosen, Iowa, attracted by the presence of other Luxembourgers
and the fertile soil situated between the east and west forks of the Des Moines River. Acquiring a section of land, my great-great-grandfather and his wife added a handful of more children to their family during their time in Iowa.
With many sons among them, the farmground was divided accordingly. My great-grandfather, John B. Mertz, sold his portion to his brothers and instead ventured into various enterprises such as livery stables, a farm equipment dealership, stockyards in three different towns, and a local elevator. All of this transpired in the late 1800s.
J.B. Mertz and his wife went on to have nine children, with the oldest sibling being 22 years older than the youngest—my grandfather, Jack. My greatgrandfather established the John Deere business in Ottosen in 1917. My grandfather was born in 1929, when his father was 50 and his mother was 48.
In 1935, the dealership was relocated to West Bend, around 8 miles northwest. At some point during this period, my grandfather not only became a John Deere dealer but also an International Harvester (IH) dealer. The story passed down from my grandfather explained that when IH began promoting deep freezers for my great-grandfather to sell, he declined, emphasizing that he was an agricultural implement dealer rather than an appliance dealer. Consequently, he dropped the IH line and remained dedicated to John Deere—a decision that, in hindsight, proved wise. It was also in Dubuque where my grandfather met his wife, Mary Helen Greener.
Tragically, my great-uncle Harvey Mertz passed away at a young age, in his mid-forties. In the wake of this loss, my grandfather purchased the business from Harvey’s widow and subsequently sold the stockyards.
He ran the business alone until my father returned in 1973 to join him. In the early 1980s, my father seized an opportunity to buy into the business. What was supposed to be a short-term stay turned into a full life and career in West Bend for my parents. My father remained the dealership’s owner until 2018 when he sold it to KC Nieslen in Humboldt.
After completing high school, I attended community college and later enrolled at Iowa State University until my junior year. Although I didn’t graduate, I moved to Omaha and began working for UPS. In 2002, I joined the United States Air Force and was stationed in Cheyenne, WY, where I served in the missile field.
Following my departure from the military in 2005, I met my first wife, who received orders for Belgium in 2006. I followed her there and resided in Belgium for two years. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned, leading me to return to Iowa in 2008.
It was then that I started working for my father. During my middle and high school years, I had already gained some experience at the dealership, undertaking tasks such as mowing the grounds, conducting annual parts inventory, washing equipment, and assisting with setup and delivery.
Interestingly, I had vowed never to return to Iowa or engage in the agricultural business with my father. Yet, for the past 15 years, I have found myself living in Iowa and working in the ag industry.
Initially, in 2008, I began as a salesperson for my father. However, two years into the role, my father was diagnosed with kidney cancer—his second encounter with the disease, having had one kidney removed about 13 years prior. This time, they managed to remove only a portion of the kidney.
While he was recovering, I assumed a greater
responsibility at the dealership, taking on management duties while still selling equipment. I fulfilled the responsibilities typically associated with a dealer principal—ordering equipment, setting prices, determining trade-in values, negotiating deals with salesmen, handling customer and employee issues, managing insurance matters for the business, attending Deere dealer meetings, making decisions regarding fleet vehicles, and even driving a semi-truck for the business when our regular driver was unavailable.
During this time, I acquired extensive knowledge about the industry, business management, working with people, inventory management, market fluctuations, and the seasonal nature of agriculture that often resembles a roller coaster with its market highs and lows, as well as yield variations.
In 2017, I received an opportunity to work for Van Wall Equipment in Indianola. Back in 2012, I had aspired to become a part-owner of the dealership, but John Deere had envisioned multistore dealerships for Iowa while we had only a single store. However, I embraced the chance to join Van Wall Equipment in June 2017, where I managed two locations and handled large agricultural equipment sales. J.B. Mertz & Son Inc. thrived for an impressive 101 years, and I take great pride in having been part of that legacy. Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of treating and
respecting people. I learned a great deal about the implement business from my father—how to work with and manage people—and I carried those lessons with me throughout my six-year tenure at Van Wall Equipment.
Van Wall Equipment allowed me to foster the same culture I grew up with at their locations. I believe that life presents us with opportune moments, and in 2017, a door opened for me at Van Wall Equipment when I needed it the most.
More recently, in March, I encountered Mark Hennessey of the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association—a group I had already been acquainted with during my time in West Bend but had lesser interaction with during my tenure at Van Wall. Over the past 15 years, I have been deeply involved in the equipment side of the business, as it has been an integral part of my life since childhood. Drawing from the lessons passed down by my family, my military experience, my father, and the individuals at J.B. Mertz & Son, as well as my time with Van Wall Equipment, I hope to excel in my new role. I eagerly look forward to getting acquainted with all our members.
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The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is pleased to share that it has awarded $88,500 in scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year to
66 students in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming pursuing careers in Iowa and Nebraska equipment dealerships.
“Diesel technology has always been at the forefront of my life,” said Kristopher Hadeen, a scholarship recipient from
Haxtun High School in Holyoke, Colorado. Hadeen plans to enroll in the John Deere Tech program at Southeast Community College (SCC) in Milford, Nebraska and pursue a service technician career at 21st Century Equipment.
Through the INEDA Andrew Goodman Scholarship, Hadeen received $1,500 toward his education, with 21st Century Equipment matching that amount for a total of $3,000. In the John Deere Tech program at SCC, Hadeen will learn the skills needed to become a John Deere dealership technician who works on engines, power trains, hydraulic systems, electrical and electronics, air conditioning diagnosis and repair, tillage, planting, spraying, and harvesting equipment. During training, he will work at his sponsoring dealership between semesters.
Hadeen is one of 66 students who received the INEDA Andrew Goodman Scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic year. In total, INEDA awarded $88,500 this year to help train those aspiring mainly toward service technician positions within the dealership.
“It’s always a highlight of my year to make the phone call to our future and existing employees to let them know they were chosen as a recipient,” said Deanna Hagen of LandMark Implement. “These funds help reduce the financial burden for these students and
puts them in less debt than their peers.”
“Scholarship offerings are key for our business to demonstrate to potential employees that we’re invested in their future and we’re willing to help them reach their professional goals,” said Leah Orr of Manzer Equipment. “It oftentimes leads to a more well-rounded workforce and in turn, allows us to retain the very best employees. These individuals are engaged at work and in our community. Engagement in both are necessary for each to flourish and provide for
generations to come.”
The shortage of service technicians isn’t a new problem facing the farm equipment industry—but it continues to have a significant financial impact on dealerships. The Andrew Goodman Scholarship program was created in 2008 to address the technician shortage and help dealers attract and nurture homegrown talent. Since 2008, INEDA has awarded more than $745,000 to 648 students through the program.
“INEDA—along with our members—takes great pride in helping students achieve their goals and aspirations,” said INEDA President/CEO Mark Hennessey. “Their education lays the foundation to many career possibilities. Seeing their dreams come to life is a very rewarding experience for all of us.”
The Andrew Goodman Scholarship is available to all employees/potential employees of INEDA dealerships. This year, the following dealers provided matching awards: 21st Century Equipment, AKRS Equipment, Bancroft Implement, Bobcat of Omaha, Bodensteiner Implement Company, Butler Ag Equipment, Cove Equipment, Deike Implement, Deitering Brothers, Franzen Sales and Service, Geneva Implement, KanEquip, LandMark Implement, Manzer Equipment, Mitchell Equipment, Platte Valley Equipment, Sinclair Tractor, Titan Machinery, Van Wall Equipment, and Vans Implement.
“The Andrew Goodman Scholarship program has helped AgriVision Equipment recognize high school senior students who have an interest in the ag equipment and technology industry,” said Todd Barker of AgriVision Equipment Group.
“It is a vital tool to make young recruits into professionals who impact the success of our customers.”
Titan Machinery provided matching scholarships for 13 students this academic year.
“Titan Machinery is a proud member of the IowaNebraska Equipment Dealers Association,” said Dave McCarthy of Titan Machinery.
“The Andrew Goodman Scholarship assists Titan
Machinery in financially supporting our student technicians as they begin their pursuit of higher education. The learning of mechanical and applied skills is the foundation to a service technician’s future success. The contributions made by the Andrew Goodman Scholarship is another tool student technicians can use as they work toward becoming some of Titan Machinery’s greatest assets.”
Congratulations to the following students who were awarded a scholarship:
• Riley Adams/21st Century Equipment
• Bryce Adams/Bodensteiner Implement Company
• Jay Anderson/Van Wall Equipment
• Katie Bertram/Butler Ag Equipment
• Cody Bigler/Bodensteiner Implement Company
• Isaac Brown/Titan Machinery
• Michael Buoy/Titan Machinery
• Garrett Christensen/Van Wall Equipment
• Samuel Clausen/Van Wall Equipment
• Cale Claussen/Sinclair Tractor
• Zackary Clemen/Bodensteiner Implement Company
• Trevor David/LandMark Implement
• Jacob Deike/Deike Implement
• Ryan Driscoll/Titan Machinery
• Gavin Droessler/Deitering Brothers, Inc
• Dominic Espersen/LandMark Implement
• Caleb Faler/Cove Equipment
• Cooper Fauber/21st Century Equipment
• Reid Fletcher/Bobcat of Omaha
• Robert Gillespie/Titan Machinery
• Dennis Green-Ramon/ Bodensteiner Implement Company
• Kristopher Hadeen/21st Century Equipment
• Jayden Heath/Titan Machinery
• Jay Heinen/Bancroft Implement, Inc.
• Tyson Herchenbach/Platte Valley Equipment, LLC
• Henry Hiebenthal/Platte Valley Equipment, LLC
• Scott Hintz/AKRS Equipment
• Tyler Humiston/Cove Equipment
• Jake Hunke, Platte Valley Equipment, LLC
• Corbin Jones/Van Wall Equipment
• Owen Katen/Titan Machinery
• Brad Klassen/AKRS Equipment
• Dalton Koob/Bodensteiner Implement Company
• Kale Kuennen/Franzen Sales and Service
• Jon LaDay/Platte Valley Equipment, LLC
• Logan Lamm/Titan Machinery
• Aaron Latta/LandMark Implement
• Austin Lee/Titan Machinery
• Grant Lisec/KanEquip Syracuse
• Dylan MacDonald/Titan Machinery
• Connor McCarthy/Mitchell Equipment
• Darren Meyer/Vans Implement
• Keagan Miedema/Titan Machinery
• Brandon Moore/LandMark Implement
• Boyd Oliver/21st Century Equipment
• Luke Partridge/Bobcat of Omaha
• Kassidy Pinkal/LandMark Implement
• Kayden Porter/21st Century Equipment
• Brayden Reeder/Platte Valley Equipment, LLC
• Zach Reikofski/AKRS Equipment
• Noah Reinking/Titan Machinery
• Owen Renken/AKRS Equipment
• Eli Riedel/LandMark Implement
• Dylan Roach/Platte Valley Equipment, LLC
• Skylar Robinson/Sinclair Tractor
• Chance Roof/Titan Machinery
• Toby Scherbarth/21st Century Equipment
• Wyatt Scofield/Mitchell Equipment
• Ruger Smith/Sinclair Tractor
• Curtis Stender/Sinclair Tractor
• Jared Stephens/Geneva Implement Inc.
• Mason Vande Hoef/Vans Implement LTD
• Patrick Vinson/Manzer Equipment
• Kolby Weihs/Titan Machinery
• Riley Welhousen/Deitering Brothers, Inc
• Kade Youngblood/Mitchell Equipment
The 2024-2025 Andrew Goodman Scholarship application process will begin in January 2024. The scholarship is available to all employees/ potential employees of INEDA member dealerships, subject to certain qualifications. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Gwen Parks at email@example.com or Phil Erdman at phile@ineda. com or 515.223.5119.
Amid rising prices of both new and used equipment, many dealers are helping their customers leverage financing to spread out their machinery costs and reduce the financial burden of keeping their equipment up to date. But is purchasing the equipment outright with a loan or financing the use of the equipment with a lease the right option for your customers?
Here are 10 questions you can ask your customers to help them understand the key differences between conventional purchase plans and leasing agreements, and how each option can impact their cash flow, machinery costs and tax position.
1. How many hours a year do you expect to use the equipment?
Asking this question will help your customers determine whether owning or leasing the equipment is a better fit based on usage and residual value, or the estimated value of the machine at the end of its lease term or service life.
With a loan, customers finance the full cost of the equipment. With a lease on the other hand, the amount financed is the equipment cost minus the residual over the term they expect to use the equipment.
2. Are you looking for the lowest possible initial investment?
With a loan, the down payment due at the time of purchase can be upwards of 20 to 30 percent of the total cost. Whereas with a lease, only the first payment is due upfront in most cases.
The difference in upfront costs between a loan and lease can be substantial. If a customer is worried
about their debt-to-income ratio or cash flow, then a lease might be the better option.
3. Do you have a trade, or will you be putting cash into the transaction?
Trading used equipment into the dealership can be advantageous for customers, especially when demand is high and the equipment is in good condition. Trade equity can help reduce the purchase price of the equipment being exchanged. In some cases, the trade-in value will cover the down payment of the new loan. Alternatively, because leasing offers 100 percent financing, customers can use their trade equity or any cash saved from leasing toward other business expenses.
4. What’s your trade-in frequency? Do you typically buy new or “like-new” equipment?
If your customers trade equipment frequently, leasing can offer lower payments than a loan and allow them to acquire equipment without the longterm costs of equipment ownership. Leasing is a good option for keeping machinery under warranty and repairs and downtime to a minimum. Additionally, leases can be structured with the flexibility to trade the equipment in for a newer model for no further obligation. By having access to the latest technology, your customers can avoid equipment obsolescence, improve efficiencies and potentially increase profits.
5. Are there other areas of your operation where you could be using operating capital?
While some customers have the financial stability to accept higher machinery ownership costs in
the long term, equipment ownership also requires comparing those costs with the opportunity costs of not having the capital invested in other areas of their operation.
By only paying for a portion of the asset that is used rather than the full value, a lease can give customers the flexibility to free up working capital for other loans or purposes such as structure upgrades or land purchases.
6. How important is equipment ownership to you?
If your customers have the money for a down payment and the equipment they intend to buy will remain in their equipment line-up long term, then an equipment loan may be the way to go. With equipment ownership, customers add asset value to their balance sheet that can be used as collateral when making other purchases or taking out loans.
Machinery ownership gives customers full control of the equipment’s use and performance. Rather than being restricted by the terms of a leasing agreement, they have the freedom to replace, sell, or make any customizations to the equipment as needed.
7. How are financing rates and terms determined?
The interest rate charged on a loan is directly related to your customers’ credit worthiness. With a lease, lenders look at their borrowing history as well as the equipment in terms of how well it holds its value and its anticipated usage.
Financing structures vary by lender, but the typical period used to amortize debt is three to seven years on most equipment and up to 10 years on pivots. Longer terms typically have slightly higher interest rates than shorter terms; however, the flexibility longer terms offer often surpasses the extra interest paid.
8. What are your obligations with a loan versus a lease?
With an equipment loan, your customers will be fronted the capital to pay for the equipment and fully own the equipment once they’ve repaid the loan according to its terms, plus interest. Customers will also be responsible for all ownership and operating costs.
If your customers opt for an equipment lease, they won’t own the equipment outright, but they will be responsible for making the lease payments and all applicable operating costs such as maintenance, sales and property taxes, license, registration, and insurance.
9. What risks or limitations could you be overlooking?
By owning equipment, customers aren’t locked into any use limitations or early termination fees. With some leases, hour limits apply, in which case they will be responsible for any excess usage charges beyond the agreed-upon hour limits.
However, equipment ownership requires bearing the cost of depreciation resulting from wear, obsolescence and the age of a machine. With a lease, some of the risk of obsolescence falls upon the lessor along with future value risk.
10. What are the tax advantages?
On a loan, customers are entitled to depreciation benefits as owner of the equipment. A lease can go either way depending on if it is a true lease or a conditional sales lease.
With a true tax lease, customers can deduct their full lease rental payment as an operating expense rather than depreciating the asset. With a conditional sales lease, customers take depreciation just as they would with a loan while still benefiting from the flexible financing offered in a lease.
Before entering into a loan or lease agreement, it’s a good idea to advise customers to consult with their accountant or tax adviser to discuss their specific tax circumstances and cash flow requirements. Learn more about equipment financing options by locating your nearest AgDirect territory manager or contacting the AgDirect financing team at 888.525.9805.
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Our experienced professionals are supported by world-class resources in providing a full suite of wealth, investment and retirement planning services to clients across the country.
We focus, first and foremost, on helping you achieve your personal financial goals. As financial professionals, we put your best interests first, at all times and in all situations. We succeed when you succeed.
On May 24 and 25, the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) hosted its Workforce Development Summit: Innovative Solutions for Hiring and Retention in Grand Island, NE, and Ankeny, IA, respectively. These summits focused on collaboration and gave attendees the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas, as well as develop action plans to take home to their dealerships. We also heard directly from a panel of students about what they are looking for in a future employer. The level of engagement and honesty from members was unprecedented, as
they were able to see each other as experts and trust one another to collaborate on solutions to the issues facing dealers.
In the area of recruiting, dealer teams focused on improving strategies to connect with local schools and utilizing team members to recruit and build vibrant teams within their dealerships. To succeed in recruiting from schools, they emphasized the importance of building relationships, regular communication, and evaluating and tracking results. It is crucial to have a message that is relevant to teachers and counselors and helps them understand the available opportunities for students. This
should be achieved through regular direct contact. Dealers have hosted student visits to their locations through dealer days. It cannot be overstated that having a technician visit with potential technicians (at career fairs, schools, or tech schools) is an authentic and effective way to share the opportunities available to them in your dealership.
The importance of training new staff, especially technicians, was also discussed. Identifying team members with the right personality and perspective is essential. Understanding the tools and best practices from previous onboarding experiences is part of the approach that
will yield the best results. It is crucial to ensure that more than just the recruiting team is actively engaged in the journey from recruiting to hiring to training and performance, as this will make a difference in successful onboarding and retention.
Complementing recruitment efforts, a focus was placed on achieving a high retention rate. Specifically, teams discussed how shops compensate technicians and what a meaningful leave policy looks like. Compensation is a key factor that affects retention, and teams discussed the idea of rewarding more efficient technicians individually, as well as providing incentives for all technicians in the shop to have
an efficiency/productivity goal. Understanding the efficiency of your staff, tracking data, and using it to make informed decisions are crucial for developing effective compensation models that work best for your teams. The plan doesn’t have to be complex; it simply needs to be responsive to your team and their retention needs.
Similar to productivity, attendees also focused on flex scheduling, vacation, and paid time-off policies. Teams universally agreed that these plans need to reflect the goals of the dealership and the needs of the team. In addition to sick time, vacation/personal time, and bereavement, attendees also discussed accommodations for maternity and paternity leave. Some dealerships offer staff the choice to take extra time off during Thanksgiving and Christmas, while others allow staff to request trade time off in exchange for making up that time at a later date. It is important to ensure department coverage during peak times. Once again, the plan should be responsive to your team’s needs.
Employee engagement is essential to understand everything from onboarding to the company’s culture. It is important to engage employees and be committed to responding to concerns or suggestions that arise in the process; otherwise, someone else will. Productivity is not often associated with recruitment, but it has a
significant impact on both recruitment and retention. Various aspects of dealership operations affect staff retention, including flex scheduling, seasonal shifts, split shifts, and weekend work. Understanding the needs of both customers and employees is essential for developing effective solutions.
Training is universally recognized as necessary to equip staff and dealerships to meet customer needs and ensure future viability.
Multi-location dealerships have chosen to dedicate staff to this effort, while others rely on manufacturers or partners to fulfill this need. Regardless of the model, consistency and effective communication are paramount. Informing staff of their training opportunities, whether online or in person, is essential. Evaluating the cost, engagement, and return on investment/value should be integral to the process. It is worth noting that training benefits not only staff and dealer team members but
also customers. Working with customers to help them understand the available tools and resources contributes to their effectiveness and enables your dealership to better meet their needs.
Dealers were invited to present solutions that have been implemented in their dealerships and provide updates on how those initiatives are working. Here are some examples:
• LandMark Implement has instituted an Ag Tech Student Coordinator role to mentor and support technician recruits and new employees. They assigned a senior technician to work across all locations, assisting students in their training, schoolwork/ prep, and integration into the dealership culture.
• Bruna Brothers Implement began posting the service schedule publicly in their locations to help customers understand the workflow and scheduled work. This has been particularly helpful for combine service, encouraging customers to sign up for service sooner and managing customer questions about completion times.
• Titan Machinery is partnering with Grand Island Public Schools to connect with aspiring technicians through the Career Pathways Institute. They hosted the class for a tour and have already benefited from one student working in their shop this summer. They are also hosting a diesel camp for
Junior High Students at the Central Community College campus in Hastings, NE.
• AKRS Equipment outlined their newly announced training program that will accelerate technician training using online training from John Deere and internal staff dedicated to assisting in the training of these participants to meet the expectations of AKRS staff and customers.
• 21st Century Equipment received a grant from the State of Nebraska to develop an education trailer that travels to schools across their service territory, focusing on middle school students. The goal is to expose them to the tools, skills, and opportunities available to work in agriculture and technology in their communities.
Students from high schools and colleges, both current and former, shared their journeys and how they decided to work in their respective fields and what motivates them. They answered questions on topics such as compensation, time off, motivations, and role models. These summits were free for INEDA members and their employees to attend, thanks to the support of AgDirect, Federated Insurance, and Tax Favored Benefits.
On June 20 and 21, members from across Nebraska and Iowa, respectively, met for the 2023 Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing. These meetings are an opportunity for members to gain insight into the latest legislative developments impacting equipment dealers.
In Nebraska, the highlight of the meeting was the honor of hosting Governor Jim Pillen and hearing firsthand how his first legislative session went and his goals and strategies for the upcoming year. We reviewed Colorado’s law governing ag equipment under the “Right to Repair” effort that was supported by US PIRG and others. We also
discussed what strategies and efforts can be used to help educate customers in Nebraska on the tools already available under the private sector, including the MOUs now in place for over 70 percent of ag equipment sold in America.
Finally, we discussed the importance of candidate engagement for the 2024 election. Specifically, we emphasized how important it is for the wellbeing of your business to get to know political candidates in your area. Make it a point to invite them all to visit your dealerships in Nebraska, and let us know if we can help!
Following the legislative meeting, we hit the course “FORE!” some golf!
At the Iowa legislative meeting, Sara Allen and Paige Thorsen of Cornerstone Government Affairs
provided an overview of Iowa legislative updates from the previous legislative session.
Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) President/CEO Mark Hennessey spoke about the need to be prepared for a possible Right to Repair bill in 2024. We discussed how to position ourselves with the right individuals to help our dealers get ahead of this issue.
Finally, the group talked about PAC fundraising strategies for the upcoming year.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Iowa and Nebraska Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing this year! Left: Jerry Leemkuil (left) with Federated Insurance and Jake Logan (right) with Logan Contractors tee off at the Iowa Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing on June 21 at Jester Park Golf Course. Above: Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen addresses the attendees of the Nebraska Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing on June 20 at York Country Club.
Social media is an effective tool to market your dealership to customers, but did you know it can also serve as an avenue to recruit new employees? Social media platforms can be used by your dealership to post vacant positions, connect with job seekers, and share content that makes your company appealing to potential candidates.
It’s widely used—as of January 2023, 59.9 percent of the world’s population
uses social media. Your dealership can use social media to reach a wider audience, including those who are not actively job searching that you would otherwise only find on a job board site. It’s free—social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are all free to create accounts for your dealership. If you want to take your social media recruitment efforts up a notch, platforms also allow options for paid ads. Utilize the free features of these social media platforms
first, and try paid ads if you feel that you need additional targeting.
Increased brand awareness—even if your social media recruiting efforts don’t directly result in a hire, you are still creating an online presence for your dealership. Whether candidates or customers, more exposure to your brand is worth your extra social media efforts. You never know when a social media follower could turn into your next hire!
LinkedIn is a professional, employment-focused social media platform designed specifically for the business community. LinkedIn profiles can be created for company use or individual use. Your dealership can use LinkedIn to showcase open positions, share company updates, and ultimately market to both potential customers and employees.
LinkedIn users can:
• Follow company pages and industry leaders
• Search and apply for open jobs
• Connect with others in the industry
• Share and create posts
• Send messages
• Showcase their profile as “open to work” to attract recruiters and employers
Many LinkedIn users create profiles for the sole purpose of job-seeking and applying, making it a key platform for your dealership to take advantage of to find qualified candidates.
With nearly three billion users, Facebook is the most popularly used social media platform, making it an excellent resource to reach a large audience and job seekers who may be a fit for your dealership. Market your open agriculture jobs by posting a photo or video content with a caption about the position, including the link to apply.
Also try posting your positions to a variety of Facebook groups to target job seekers in specific regions, ag industry sectors, colleges, or agricultural organizations.
This social media platform is designed for photos and graphics. Use Instagram to post visually
appealing photos of your dealership that would captivate a potential employee.
Like Facebook and LinkedIn, you can post your open jobs and how to apply to your Instagram followers. But you shouldn’t stop there—get creative with infographics, employee spotlights, and photos of the sunset over your field during harvest. This platform is not ideal for lengthy, technical posts, so keep it fun and creative!
Followers can go to your company profile to find a grid of photos that represent your dealership. Instagram’s platform makes it easy to visually display what your agriculture business looks like and has to offer to candidates.
Due to its character limit of 280, Twitter is best for shorter pieces of content. Use Twitter to post brief, yet compelling descriptions of your open jobs, along with the link to apply. Add up to four photos in a tweet to give followers an idea of what the role or your dealership looks like. Don’t forget to throw in some ag-related hashtags!
Creating a video for each role may not be the most time-efficient way to advertise your open positions, but YouTube is a great tool to showcase longer video content about your dealership that would attract future employees. Build a YouTube library that includes videos about your products or services, your company’s story/history, and behind-the-scenes of your facility.
Using social media to recruit for your dealership is not simply posting links to your open positions. Sharing content about your brand is an effective way to attract ag candidates by painting them a picture of what it looks and feels like to work for your agribusiness. The goal is to get potential candidates interested and excited about your company, whether passive or active job seekers.
When deciding what to post on your social media pages to attract candidates, put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker in the ag industry. Keep in mind that candidates will often visit a company’s social media pages to discover more about the business before applying for a role. Statistics show that 62 percent of job seekers use social media channels to evaluate the employer brand of a company.
They want to discover:
• Company culture—what are your company values? Are the employees happy and valued? What is the team like?
• Working environment—where will they be spending their time: in the field, office, or both? Will they be surrounded by other employees or by themselves? Is the job exciting and fast-paced?
• The company’s products/services—what are you selling, or offering? Who are you selling to? What makes your product stand out from competitors?
Showing your company’s culture and work environment through social media gives your audience (including potential hires) a better idea of what it’s like to work for your dealership. Many people value companies who are transparent about their operations and what goes on behind the scenes, so use these platforms to get on a more personal level with your audience.
Don’t overthink what to post on your social media accounts—think about the things you would like to know about a company prior to working for them and what would get you excited to join their team!