The Retailer: Innovation In Agriculture

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the Retailer Q2: 2024 | Quarterly magazine
Look inside to find out what is on the horizon for you and your dealership in 2024.
SERVING AG, CONSTRUCTION AND OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT DEALERS ACROSS IOWA AND NEBRASKA INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE
AN ASSOCIATION MEMBER BENEFIT FOR 119 YEARS DIRECT, LOCAL MARKETING REPRESENTATIVES AUTO PROPERTY AND CASUALTY SELF-INSURED RETENTION POLICYHOLDER SURPLUS LIVE VOICE CUSTOMER SERVICE TAILORED, INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC COVERAGE BUSINESS SUCCESSION AND ESTATE PLANNING STABLE FACE-TO-FACE RELATIONSHIPS FINANCIAL STRENGTH MUTUAL COMPANY DIRECT CLAIMS REPRESENTATIVES 500+ EXCLUSIVE ASSOCIATION RECOMMENDATIONS ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY NETWORK ANNUITIES CERTIFICATE CENTER SURETY SPECIALISTS MANAGED CARE CYBER MYSHIELD® IT’S OUR BUSINESS TO PROTECT Safety Training Resources and HR Support at Your Fingertips Commercial Insurance Property & Casualty | Life & Disability Income | Workers Compensation | Business Succession and Estate Planning | Bonding Federated Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiaries** | federatedinsurance.com 23.02 Ed. 1/23 *View A.M. Best Rating Guide information at www.ambest.com. **Not licensed in all states. © 2022 Federated Mutual Insurance Company Access industry-specific training, sample forms and policies, an employee handbook builder tool, and more 24/7 with mySHIELD®. Scan to learn more about mySHIELD®. The content of this publication is for general information purposes only. Consult with a qualified professional when you have detailed questions regarding any topic in this publication.

CONTENTS

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EXECUTIVE INSIGHT

Learn more from CEO, Mark Hennessey, as he shares about the importance of not just innovations, but the innovators themselves and how when dealers embrace innovation, they promote growth.

4

NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT

Explore with Phil Erdman as he discusses the impact autonomous vehicles have had on the construction industry, and the way it will pave the future of construction.

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IOWA FIELD REPORT

Learn more with Jamie Mertz as he shares information on the growing industry of drones in agriculture. What they can do, who they will help, and what the steps are to get started using drones yourself.

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FEATURE CATALYTIC THEMES TO WATCH IN AG

Witness how drones are reshaping farming, empowering small and medium-scale family farms with accessible AI technology. Explore how these unmanned aerial vehicles revolutionize data collection and analysis, propelling agriculture towards a more efficient and sustainable future.

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EXPO DIRECTOR

Join Tom Junge, Expo Director, as he shares what he has learned about precision sprayers, and who is dominating the industry through his exploration of recent Ag shows across the nation.

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FEATURE 5 WAYS DRONES ARE MAKING AI MORE

ACCESSIBLE TO FARMERS

From precision spraying to data analytics and beyond, discover how emerging technologies are revolutionizing business strategies and revenue streams for retailers. Dive into the transformative potential of these trends and their implications for the future of agricultural retail.

TABLE OF CONTENTS | 1

Jay Funke Chairman, Edgewood, IA

Kevin Clark Vice Chairman, Lincoln, NE

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FEATURE: GUARDIAN AGRICULTURE NETS $20M IN SERIES A FUNDING

Read along to find out what Guardian Agriculture is doing to further develop and promote the innovation of drone use in agriculture and what you can expect to see from them in the future.

Tim Kayton Past Chairman, Alliance, NE DIRECTORS:

Bruce Bowman Ankeny, IA

Kent Grosshans Central City, NE

Clay Haley Carroll, IA

Dave McCarthy Waterloo, NE

Mark Placek Alliance, NE

David Adelman IA Legislative Director

Phil Erdman Dir. of Dealer & Gov’t Rel.

Cindy Feldman Marketing Director

Laurie Haeder Ag Expo Coordinator

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

Jordan Reynolds Marketing Comm. Designer

CONTENTS MARKETING VIEW Read along as
of
Cindy
2024
how to use
in your dealership to gain market share. 28 GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS Learn more about INEDA’s Washington D.C. Fly-in as Phil Erdman goes over the who, what, when, where & why of this trip. 26 2 | TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURE:
20
Director
Marketing,
Feldman, shares
marketing strategies and trends, and
them
AUTONOMOUS ROBOTS Join Julian Stefan of Syngenta as he answers three basic questions when it comes to one of the hottest trends right now in agriculture... autonomous robots.
OFFICERS:
STAFF:
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. 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. 113 No. 2

Cultivating Innovation

As the CEO of INEDA, I believe that innovation is not merely a tool for progress; it’s the very essence of what connects us as individuals and communities. In the equipment realm, innovation is not just about adopting new technologies or techniques; it’s about re-imagining the way we interact with the land, the market, and each other. It’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and forging a path towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

At our Iowa and Nebraska Ag Expos, we are not just hosting events; we are cultivating a culture of innovation. We recognize that our dealers play a pivotal role in shaping the future of both agriculture and construction; that’s why we’re committed to providing them with a platform to explore, learn, and grow. By bringing together talented and bright innovators, we aim to inspire our dealers to embrace new ideas, experiment with novel approaches, and ultimately, drive positive change in the industry.

We firmly believe that the future lies in the hands of those who dare to innovate. It’s the innovators who see challenges as opportunities, who refuse to accept the status quo, and who relentlessly pursue better solutions. Allowing innovation to take root (no pun intended) can give dealers the ability to diversify beyond their current product mix and services offered to customers.

This opens new opportunities, allowing our members to have a tighter grip on their future. By championing innovation at our expos, we are not just investing in the success of our dealers; we are investing in the resilience and sustainability of our agricultural communities. Together, let’s embrace innovation as the cornerstone of a brighter and more prosperous future for agriculture in Iowa, Nebraska, and beyond. 

executive insight EXECUTIVE INSIGHT | 3

INNOVATION OF CONSTRUCTION

Many of us grew up with machines that bring back (fond or maybe not so fond) memories. I grew up on a farm in western Nebraska where we had both farm and construction equipment. We needed the construction equipment to transform one of our farms to accommodate another innovation in 1981 - center pivot irrigation.

In the early 1990s, caterpillar introduced their first autonomous trucks to be used in certain mining operations. Today, they boast millions of miles driven and billions of tons of material transported. While much has changed in the last two decades, adoption of the innovation incorporating technology has been slower than what we have seen in agriculture, manufacturing, and even in our modern vehicles. However, that trend could be changing. According to a recent survey of general contracting firms from the U.S., England, and Australia, 84% stated they are using some autonomous technology in their operations.

I suggest there are three key areas – productivity, safety, and workforce – where innovation in construction equipment and industry can make significant end roads.

Productivity

According to a 2017 McKinsey global institute report, “reinventing construction through a productivity revolution”, productivity in construction barely changed from 1947 to 2010. While

productivity increased by more than a factor of eight in manufacturing and by more than a factor of 16 in agriculture. Automation was identified as the main driver for these improvements and the potential for significant growth in productivity for construction.

While those numbers seem to shock, the realities that many of you know and have seen firsthand make the picture a little clearer. We see automation and autonomy thrive in predictable and repetitive tasks. Sure, there are repetitive tasks on a job site, but the number of variables to account for when it comes to operating equipment are just different than a field or a mine. Whether that is other machines or workers on the site, in a site, or the uncertainty of what one may find during an excavation, these variables require a more thoughtful and holistic approach to implementing autonomous solutions.

That doesn’t mean that equipment isn’t rolling off the line with autonomy built in, but rather the ability to implement it full scale is job specific. A simple online search reveals there are solutions ranging from autonomous rollers for road construction to excavators, bulldozers, and skid steer loaders working autonomously and in tandem in excavating and preparing a site. Additionally, a handful of startup companies have gained notoriety by developing retrofits and add-ons that further expand the ability of existing machines to expand their capabilities.

Safety

As I alluded to earlier, there is a lot going on with any job site. For most site managers, the last thing

ne AROUND NEBRASKA
4 | NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT

that they want to have to deal with is a safety issue or accident that could have been avoided. The amount of equipment and people on a job site alone lend itself to an error or oversight that could be fatal. While the complexity of the site may vary, the ability to adapt and find solutions that make the work safer for all involved has been at the forefront. One of the impacts of incorporating innovation such as autonomation is that the number of people at risk can be reduced, enhancing productivity and safety. In conversations with members, I have learned of the capabilities of their product lines to operate remotely in situations where the safety of the operator would have otherwise been compromised. A win/win for all involved. As technology and machine learning improves, examples like these will become more common.

Another component to safety that has been commonly used is the ability to monitor the status of the machines - whether that is simply the location of the machine or more recently more in-depth diagnostics and project activity monitoring. Being able to know the issue or activity remotely saves time for project managers and the team in the project and also can reduce the risk of damage to the machine or injury to the operator.

Finally, there are many tasks that are either difficult to perform, or due to the repetitive nature of the activity, or make work difficult for workers to perform safely and consistently. One may choose to use a drone to measure fill dirt and other material accurately when prior to adoption they would have to send staff with experience and training in that task to the site. We see machines used in buildings such as robots that work in overhead spaces or are used in laying bricks that reduce the need for ladders and awkward positioning of workers. The number of innovations in this space grows daily.

Workforce

One of the issues that we have spent a great deal of time working on with members at the company level, and even with elected officials, is the availability of a dependable and qualified workforce. One might assume that with the addition of automation this will alleviate or potentially reduce the number of employees needed. While there may be jobs that will transition, there will continue to be a need for employees to transport the equipment to sites and to

monitor the operation of the equipment.

Essentially the work will change but the importance of having a qualified workforce will not. Workers will need to know how to operate and direct the machines to operate individually or in tandem. Coupling the changing demands on site as well as adapting to and managing a changing workforce will allow the industry to meet growth opportunities. But it won’t be without rethinking recruitment and training needs.

We have been active in developing partnerships with traditional schools of training such as community colleges as well as partnering with you for nontraditional or more flexible opportunities through apprenticeships. Historically, training and education has been provided by public institutions, but in order to meet the needs that come with innovation, we will need to continue to invest in and support efforts that provide the training you need through private partnerships.

It is often said that hindsight is 20/20. We benefit from knowing information after the fact that would have made the decisions more effective in the moment. The same can be applied to how we view innovation. You have a wealth of hindsight that can help you see more clearly the opportunities ahead. What you have learned in the management and operation of your business in meeting the needs of customers, will serve as a solid foundation for you to evaluate and offer innovative products and solutions. 

NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT | 5

THE ROLE OF DRONES IN MODERN AGRICULTURE

As I walked around our show in Lincoln this past December, and then again at our show in Des Moines the end of January this year, I couldn’t help but notice all the innovation there is in agriculture. The one product that seems to be gaining the most traction in farming practices over the past few years is drones. It was very evident with the number of vendors at the show that were displaying their drones and all their capabilities that the small, unmanned aircraft are going to have a lasting impact on the agricultural industry and already have.

There are many uses for drones in agricultural production that allow farmers to save time and money. Here are some of the ways drones are being used in agriculture.

Livestock Management

Drones can be used to monitor the health and movement of livestock, which cuts down on the time that it takes to manually check on the livestock and it also provides real time data on the condition of the producer’s animals. This helps the producer be able to treat animals faster, possibly preventing disease outbreaks, saving livestock, which in turn saves them with their bottom line. Producers are also using drones to check fences, which saves them time versus manually checking and repairing fence.

Mapping and Surveying

Farmers are using drones to create detailed maps of fields which provide data such as soil composition,

topography, and drainage patterns. The data created is key to the farmer making plans for planting and harvest.

Crop Monitoring and Management (Seeding and Spraying)

Drones are equipped with cameras, multi-spectral sensors, thermal imaging, and are used to pick up on early signs of nutrient deficiencies, pest infestations, and crop diseases. Farmers can make real time decisions on how to deal with real time situations with their crops, which saves them money by using less pesticides and fertilizer. Some growers are using drones to seed their cover crops. This reduces the compaction in the field of having to seed with a tractor and seeder. The use of drones for spraying chemical and fertilizer is another way in which to reduce soil compaction and save on the amount of chemical/fertilizer being used.

If a farmer is looking into utilizing drones in their operation, they can either hire someone that has drones and is licensed to operate them and offers spraying, seeding, and crop management services, or they can buy the drone themselves and become licensed to operate. I will discuss each in detail and show resources to find out more information on both.

Now let’s discuss the types of drones and the cost.

Basic Drone Models

These drones would typically be used for the purpose of surveying and monitoring crops. They typically run from between $1,000 and $5,000. This drone would be used with smaller and medium sized operations.

6 | IOWA FIELD REPORT
IOWA
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Mid-Range Drone Models

These drones run between $5,000 to $15,000 and they have sensors on them that are used in pest detection, monitoring the health of the crops, mapping, etc.

High End Drone Models

These drones run between $15,000 to $50,000. These drones have more sophisticated technology than the mid-level drones, they will have longer flight times, be heavier duty, offer more payload capacity, more options and versatility for your operation than the first two.

There are other costs associated with buying a drone. You have software and data analysis tools to create maps, aerial imagery, and give recommendations. These programs might have a one-time fee, while others will have a yearly subscription to use. There is also regular yearly maintenance.

What Does It Take To Become A Licensed Drone Pilot?

These requirements can be found on the FAA website under the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations (Part 107).

• Be at least 16 years old.

• Pass the aeronautical knowledge exam at an approved FAA knowledge testing center.

• If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.

• You may also operate a drone if you are under the supervision of a person that holds a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

Step 1 – Create an FAA tracking number.

Step 2 – Find an approved FAA testing center and schedule an appointment to take the knowledge test.

Step 3 – Complete the necessary paperwork for an FAA Airman Certificate. There will be a TSA background check performed to get your certificate.

Step 4 – Register your drone with the FAA.

Once you have your remote pilot certificate, always keep it on you when flying your drone. Make sure that you have insurance and have the correct liability coverage for the work that you will be conducting with your drone. The time you can expect to wait until you get your license is around 90 plus days. Here are a few more facts about operating your drone legally.

• If you are applying pesticides and you don’t already have it, make sure to get your applicator license in the state you are operating in.

• If you are operating a drone over 55lbs, you will need an FAA 2nd Class Medical Certificate.

• If you plan on spraying at night, you will need a waiver if your drone is over 55 lbs.

In conclusion, the use of drones in agriculture has shown what a great tool they can be for an operator in being able to make real time decisions and implement a game plan to treat their crop and livestock conditions saving them valuable time and money helping their bottom line and keeping them in the business long term. As there are further advances in technology, the role of drones along with other autonomous machines will be implemented in agricultural practices around the globe. 

IOWA FIELD REPORT | 7

2024 - 2025 Andrew Goodman Scholarship

The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is pleased to announce the availability of a limited number of Andrew Goodman Scholarships to help train current and potential Iowa and Nebraska equipment dealership employees. INEDA will provide matching scholarships up to $1,500 for the 2024-2025 academic year, which means if a dealer commits $1,500 in funding, INEDA will match the scholarship with $1,500, for a grand total of $3,000.

The Andrew Goodman Scholarship program was created to address the shortage of dealership personnel and to attract and nurture homegrown talent. This dealer-driven scholarship program helps dealers financially support and train those aspiring toward management, technical, sales or administrative positions within the dealership.

Application Due Date

All applications must be submitted by Monday, April 15, 2024. Scholarships will be awarded by no later than Friday, May 3, 2024 and recipients will be notified immediately thereafter. No scholarship funds for the 2024-2025 school year will be disbursed after August 1, 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

The Andrew Goodman Scholarship is available to all employees/potential employees of Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) member dealerships, subject to the following conditions:

1. Employees/potential employees must be approved by the dealer principal for training, re-training or professional advancement.

2. The employee/potential employee must be accepted or enrolled in a higher education curriculum approved by the dealer principal as training applicable to the dealership’s needs. Scholarship recipients must be enrolled full-time in the approved course of study. Both two-and four-year programs are eligible.

3. The dealer principal must be willing to provide matching scholarship funds in an amount up to $1,500 (matched by the Association up to $1,500) and must be a current INEDA member or a member of a regional equipment dealers association in good standing.

4. A minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA is required for all new applicants (3.0 GPA for renewal applicants). The student’s most recent transcripts must be submitted with the scholarship application.

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact Phil Erdman: 402-429-5726 or phile@ineda.com

Scan Here to Apply

To apply please visit: www.ineda.com/andrew-goodman-scholarship/

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Unlock Opportunities with Farm Equipment Leasing

Alternative financing solutions to consider for your customers.

In the ever-evolving agricultural equipment and machinery financing landscape, leasing has become an increasingly important tool, offering customers a cost-effective and flexible alternative to outright purchases or loans.

“This trend is driven by several factors that reflect the changing needs and challenges of today’s farming practices,” says Chris Schimke, AgDirect territory manager. “One of the key drivers includes the fluctuating economic conditions and high initial costs associated with purchasing farm equipment.”

“At the same time, farmers are facing increasing pressure to adopt advanced technologies that improve productivity, while rising demand for sustainable and precision farming practices fuels the need for specialized equipment,” he explains.

For agricultural equipment dealers, embracing leasing as a financing option can unlock new opportunities for growth and customer satisfaction in an increasingly competitive market.

Distinct advantages of leasing equipment

Higher borrowing costs impact both leasing and purchasing of farm equipment, but leasing can have distinct advantages for customers depending on their individual circumstances.

Conservation of Capital: One of the primary benefits of equipment leasing is saving customers

from paying large capital outlays. With only the first rental payment due at close and predictable payments, leasing is an excellent way to improve cash flow and free up working capital for other investments.

Financial Flexibility: There are several options to structure a lease to fit a customer’s unique needs. Payments can be tailored to match cash flow requirements whether that means a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payment schedule. There’s also flexibility at lease end with options to purchase, trade, renew or return the equipment later.

Risk Mitigation: In addition to providing access to the latest advancements, leasing ensures equipment remains in optimal condition through the lease term, minimizing downtime and enhancing operational efficiency.

Tax Benefits: From a tax standpoint, leases are classified as either true leases or conditional sale leases. With a true lease, lease payments can be deducted as an operating expense, rather than depreciating the asset. With a conditional sale lease, depreciation is taken on the asset just as with a loan.

Access to Specialized Equipment: Leasing enables customers to access specialized equipment that may be prohibitively expensive to purchase outright. This is particularly beneficial for customers who frequently trade equipment, or small and medium-sized operations that may not have the economies of scale to justify ownership.

10 | EXPO DIRECTOR

“By offering a competitive lease product at an attractive rate, dealers can provide customers with a flexible financing option tailored to their specific needs which can help boost new and used equipment sales and generate repeat business,” says Schimke. “Plus, leasing can increase equipment sale add-ons due to the nominal increase to a customer’s payment over the term of the lease.”

“As customers consider the advantages of leasing, it’s a good idea to encourage them to consult with their accountant or financial advisor to evaluate whether leasing aligns with their operational goals or tax situation,” Schimke adds.

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As the demand for equipment leasing continues to rise, a trusted financing partner can make all the difference when it comes to developing custom finance solutions that align with your business objectives and customer requirements.

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CATALYTIC THEMES TO WATCH IN AGTECH AND AGRIBUSINESS FOR 2024

Innovation is Where Dealers Come to Grow!

While agtech venture funding has slowed within the industry over time, the implications of technology, complex interactions between companies, and macro trends continue to drive compelling new themes to pay attention to for agribusiness professionals such as yourself.

Follow along for highlights and predictions (although, not intentional) of some themes surrounding agtech and agribusiness you may want to pay attention to. They are in no particular order.

Also featured are other ag innovation articles on:

• Precision Spraying: Discover who is dominating the industry in precision spraying and learn more about the different options in the market today.

• Drones & AI: Learn how drones are making artificial intelligence accessible to small farmers, revolutionizing their operations with real-time data collection, ease of use, and cost-effective adoption.

• Autonomous Drones: Dive into the world of autonomous drone technology with Guardian Agriculture, and see how their innovative solutions are transforming farming practices with efficiency and precision.

• Autonomous Robots: Read on to learn three basic questions when it comes to one of the hottest trends right now in agriculture...autonomous robots.

These articles offer a glimpse into the forefront of agricultural innovation, providing dealers with actionable insights and opportunities to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving industry. Get ready to explore the future of farming and unlock new possibilities for growth and success!

12 | FEATURE CATALYTIC THEMES TO WATCH IN AG

1. Vertical Ag Software Battles Intensify:

The competitive landscape in vertical agriculture software is becoming more intense. Companies like Bushel, AgVend, Smartwyre, and Ever.Ag are making significant strides in market penetration. The focus on reducing friction for agribusiness professionals and customers, enhancing user experiences, and expanding platform value chains is driving further competitive dynamics.

2. Evolving Crop Input Trends:

There is a significant shift towards sustainable molecules in crop protection, biology and formulation technology, moving away from reliance solely on proprietary synthetic active ingredients. Companies are differentiating through novel formulation technologies that can enhance product performance, extend intellectual property, and reduce environmental impacts.

3. Precision in All Aspects of Agriculture:

The trend towards precision in agriculture is expanding beyond traditional areas like fertilizer application. It now encompasses various activities including product marketing, gene editing, grain marketing, crop protection product formulation, and staff training. This shift towards more granular and precise approaches in various facets of agriculture aims to improve efficiency and outcomes and will eliminate generalities and focus on the average.

4. Soil and the Convergence of Crop Protection and Fertilizer Industries:

There is a growing overlap between the realms of crop protection and fertilizer manufacturers. Companies traditionally focused on crop protection are now entering the soil health and nutrient efficiency space. This convergence is leading to new competitive dynamics in the industry, with companies like Corteva and Syngenta expanding into nutrient and nutrientuse efficiency products.

5. Advancements in Agribusiness Software and AI:

The integration of AI and large language models (LLMs) in agribusiness software will impact agriculture in 2024, but not in the way that is most talked about with agronomic decisions; the primary method will be through administrative and workflow optimization for agribusiness

professionals. This includes applications like crop protection programming, product sales materials, and automated workflow processes. The integration of AI is seen as a key enabler for improving the efficiency and decision-making capabilities of agribusiness professionals.

6. Rocky Raising Environment and Venture Capital Shifts in Agtech:

The agtech sector is facing a challenging capital-raising environment, prompting a trend towards self-funding and more sustainable unit economics. Venture capitalists are responding by looking at new methods of funding too, such as venture studio models. This also leads to potential consolidation, particularly in the agribusiness software and biological sectors.

7. Digital Infrastructure and Cloud Wars in Agriculture:

The competition in cloud computing is intensifying in agriculture, with major providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google forming partnerships with ag-specific companies. These collaborations aim to deliver the digital infrastructure to transform agricultural data into actionable insights, indicating a shift towards ecosystem clouds. This trend reflects a move toward integrated cloud services and applications that are specifically tailored to the unique needs of the agricultural sector.

8. Challenges in Climate Smart Agriculture, Traceability, and MRV: Progress in sustainability, traceability, and MRV in agriculture will move at a snail’s pace in 2024. A lack of unified direction and inconsistent approaches hinder them. The effectiveness of large-scale projects is questionable, suggesting that starting with smaller, more manageable initiatives could lead to more significant, scalable successes in climate-smart agriculture and related areas moving forward. 

FEATURE CATALYTIC THEMES TO WATCH IN AG | 13

Precision Spraying: Coming to a Farm Near You!

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of autonomous vehicles, electric tractors, ag robots, and AI enhanced equipment at World Ag Expo, FIRA USA and Agritechnica. Out of all the new tech equipment, I believe the first large-scale adoption will come in precision spraying.

Herbicide-resistant weeds have proliferated over the past years. There are also numerous negative reports on the environmental and health impacts of using farm chemicals, including a recent report that came out showing Midwest states having the largest increased rate of cancer. Also, Bayer has fought over 110,000 lawsuits and still has more than 50,000 to go on the claim that glyphosate causes cancer. Bayer has $6.3 billion set aside for these cases. This all points to less chemical usage.

But the biggest reason for quick adoption is the buy-in by major ag manufacturers. There were many entrepreneurial companies promoting their precision spraying technology, however, they got limited traction with farmers until John Deere came out with See & Spray. It seems like all these companies’ technologies are now being validated. Also, when you see chemical companies like BASF and Bayer promoting this technology, it appears the writing is on the wall.

First, there are two types of detection of weeds. The first technology was much easier, green-on-brown. Some of this technology has been around since the early 2000’s. Cameras would detect green weeds or grass in fallow fields or pre-planted fields. The latest technology is green-on-green. This is where AI learning comes into play. These systems learn over time what is a weed and what is the crop.

Detection of weeds can come from the sprayers themselves or from aerial imaging. Minnesota-based Sentera recently entered this segment with an aerial scouting technology that can detect weeds and generate data about when and where to spray, and with which chemical cocktail. The Sentera WeedScout involves low-cost drones and one high-end sensor that can map the weeds in a field and generate a prescription for herbicide application. In 2023 field trials, their target was 95% detection of quarter-inch weeds; the algorithm performed at a 98% rate.

There is also a difference in the level of precision spraying coverage. Some companies activate sections of a boom, while others target individual plants. The industry, however, is moving rapidly from zone-focus with section control to individual plants.

Here are the players that I know about and their targeting ability:

Agrifac

Agrifac’s DynamicDosePlus technology can deliver variable rates from each nozzle in a minimum width of 10” under the control of a prescription map.

Agrifac has RGB color cameras mounted on the boom, recognizing weeds and crops based on shape, structure and contrast. NOTE: Agrifac now has locations in Kearney and Seward, Nebraska.

AgTechLogic Aftermarket start-up )

Green-on-brown spraying at this time.

Bayer (Development stage)

Bayer’s MagicSprayer 6000, in principle, is similar to the well-known Ecorobotix ARA, which also has a 6-meter working width. However, the spray nozzles on the MagicSprayer are placed even closer together: at a distance of 3 instead of 4 centimeters.

14 | EXPO DIRECTOR
(Photo: www.deere.com)

Ecorobotix (Specialty crop for now)

ARA is a 20’ mounted ultra-high precision sprayer, which enables the ultra-targeted application of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides or fertilizers.

Fendt, CaseIH and New Holland

ONE SMART SPRAY, the smart spraying solution of a joint venture between Bosch and BASF will be on Fendt, CaseIH and NH sprayers. This will provide customers with green-on-green (plant on plant) and green-on-brown (plant on soil) weed detection and selective spraying.

Greeneye Technology (Aftermarket)

Green-on-Green – Differentiating weeds from crop to spray precisely only the weeds and reduce up to 90% of herbicide usage.

Green-on-Brown – Apply precision spraying on preplanting and post-harvest spraying application.

Precise-Level – Identify weeds down to the species level to fight herbicide resistance weeds.

NOTE: University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2022 field trial found Greeneye Precision Spraying System reduced non-residual herbicide use by 87% while delivering same efficacy as broadcast spraying.

John Deere

See & Spray Select is for use in fallow ground only. It uses color-detecting technology to identify and target spray green on brown soil.

See & Spray Ultimate detects weeds among corn and soybeans. Individual plant detection.

Solinftec Solix Ag Robotics (As a service model)

Solix operates autonomously day and night, seamlessly navigating through fields without disturbing rows. The platform facilitates a targetspray application.

Trimble (Aftermarket)

WeedSeeker system can identify plants on bare soil (green-on-brown) and can only be used prior to the crop emerging from the soil.

The WeedSeeker® 2 automatic spot spray system uses advanced optics and processing power to detect and eliminate resistant weeds (green-on-green).

Verdant (Specialty crop for now)

Verdant’s Bullseye targeting technology uses artificial intelligence to identify individual crops and weeds in your field with 99% accuracy. Can operate day or night. Mounted.

I’m sure I missed a few new players as this technology advances quickly. If you are in the sprayer business, it is time to seek out what you can offer your customers because they will be asking! 

EXPO DIRECTOR | 15

5 Ways Drones Are Making AI AccessibleMore to Farmers

Many small- and medium-scale family farms aren’t adopting artificial intelligence because it’s out of their price range and area of expertise. Can drones make it more accessible?

Why Is AI Out of Reach to Smallholder Farmers?

Many smallholder farmers can’t afford — or don’t know how — to integrate algorithms into their processes. In the U.S., small family farms making less than $350,000 before expenses accounted for 88.1% of all farms in 2022. Needless to say, they don’t have enough for AI.

Most smallholder and medium-scale farmers will need a mid-sized AI because crop, livestock, and equipment management require complex analysis. They should expect to pay anywhere from $100,000 to $9,000,000 to train, test and integrate it. AI engineers alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Since most family farms are priced out of AI, many have turned to drones to make it more accessible. One with the same capabilities as a mid-sized tractor costs around $150,000 upfront — and other models might be even less expensive. These unmanned aerial vehicles could help farmers take advantage of one of the most promising technological developments of the century.

How Do Drones Make AI More Accessible to Farmers?

Here are five ways drones make AI more accessible to smallholder and medium-scale farmers:

1. Real-Time Data Collection

When equipped with sensors, high-resolution cameras and imaging technology, drones provide a constant data feed for algorithms to analyze in real-time. Without this technology, farmers would need to find another — likely more complicated — way to transfer information.

Since the resulting analysis happens in realtime, there’s virtually no delay between data collection and insight generation. For example, where a manual survey can take up to 48 hours, a drone can finish in mere minutes. This speed is crucial during planting and harvest season.

2. Ease of Use

Developing and maintaining a model can be complex. Usually, without an AI engineer, most small businesses don’t have the expertise to do those jobs themselves. However, an integration simplifies things — a drone with a built-in AI is designed around ease of use, so farmers don’t have to worry too much about the technical side of things.

16 | FEATURE DRONE ACCESSIBLITY
(Photo: Andres reto Molina / unsplash)

3. Built-In Accessories

Drones have cameras for capturing images from a distance, sensors for monitoring, and nozzle systems for spraying fertilizer or pesticides. Farmers can add extra accessories. For example, they can use thermal imaging to measure soil moisture tension or detect nearby predators.

These accessories make AI more accessible because they provide more data for analysis. For example, since stressed plants can’t absorb blue and red light due to chlorophyll pigment loss, near-infrared light cameras could help algorithms identify crop diseases.

4. Data-Driven Insights

Drones enhance the accuracy of AI analysis. Since most threats to crops and livestock are visible, a basic model can provide enough information to improve data-driven insights. Whether farmers need their algorithm’s help to seed, irrigate, or count cattle, they’ll only need one drone.

5. Cost-Effective Adoption

Farmers will spend less on an algorithm-powered drone than on AI development. They’ll also see additional savings due to the benefits high-resolution cameras and sensors offer. In fact, drone usage alone leads to a $2-$12 return on investment per acre, depending on the crop.

When farmers use drones to empower their AI, they often see significant returns that make up for the investment cost. This technology can increase their yields and save them time while minimizing the need for manual labor and equipment maintenance.

Will More Small Family Farms Use AI-Powered Drones?

While many small family farms are getting drones to take advantage of AI technology, adoption is relatively slow. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers used aerial imagery for less than 10% of planted acreage of any row crop in recent years.

Although drones streamline many agricultural processes, minimize crop compaction and improve early disease detection, many farmers still hesitate to adopt them — even with AI’s added benefits. It isn’t too surprising, given that agriculture is often slow to implement modern technologies. However, many farmers are catching on to the potential of an AI-powered drone. Since it can essentially replace their other, more expensive equipment, their interest is reasonable. As the adoption rate increases and others realize it isn’t as risky as they first assumed, more small and medium-scale family farms will likely adopt it.

The Future of AI-Powered Drones in Agriculture

Drone technology makes AI more affordable, easier to manage and more accurate. Farmers who use it could see even more significant returns. Soon, it could become a staple in the agriculture industry. 

Source: Jane Marsh, Editor-In-Chief | Enviornment.co

FEATURE DRONE ACCESSIBLITY | 17

GUARDIAN AGRICULTURE Develops Autonomous Evtol Systems with Capabilities for Commercial-Scale

Guardian Agriculture Nets $20m Series A

• Guardian Agriculture has raised a $20 million Series A round led by Fall Line Capital to expand its autonomous drone technology to farms across the US and ramp-up manufacturing of its SC1 aircraft. The raise brings Guardian’s cumulative funding to $35 million.

• Founded in 2017 with a focus on large-scale agriculture, the Woburn, Massachusetts-based company has more than $100 million in pre-orders and will begin commercial operations to support customer (and investor) Wilbur-Ellis in Salinas Valley, California, this summer.

• The first Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) company with Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approval to operate commercially nationwide, Guardian Agriculture has “taken a practical approach to building and deploying our technology that puts us well ahead of other eVTOL developers,” claims founder and CEO Adam Bercu.

• “Customers, investors, and regulators recognize that there’s no better application of electric, fully-autonomous aircraft than in commercial farming. This funding will allow us to begin and quickly expand commercial operations on real farms with paying customers sooner as we continue to strengthen our team and ramp up aircraft production.”

18 | FEATURE GUARDIAN AGRICULTURE

Develops with Spraying Commercial-Scale Farming

What does the future of spraying look like? Drone or ground rig? Both? Or something else?

I alluded to this above regarding potentially tethering together a drone with a ground sprayer to spray the inefficient areas (around sloughs, power poles etc). However, there are other visions for what the future holds—consider the Solinftec Solix unit. This on-the-ground, solar-powered, autonomous unit can “see and spray” and eradicate insects with UV light. Or we could consider the likes of SwarmFarm in here as well.

In Built to Last, Jim Collins talks about “The Tyranny of the Or” vs. “The Greatness of the And.” In short, his concept is that when we consider a decision and position it as an “or” proposition (we must choose A or B), we are confining ourselves to only one of two choices— and they are usually at opposite ends of the spectrum. Black or white. Yes or no. Right or wrong. When we substitute “and” in place of “or” we open up our range of choices or solutions to an infinite number of options between A and B. In most instances, there is a sweet spot in the middle that does a pretty good job of meeting the needs of both sides and delivering a superior outcome.

In The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin proposes integrative thinking as the process for innovation and success. This approach is a discipline of considering two opposing ideas simultaneously and producing a synthesis that is superior to both or a new concept altogether. Martin states this as “the ability to face the tension of opposing ideas constructively and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new idea that contains elements of the opposing ideas but is superior to both.” An opposable mind in the ag industry must identify the best possible routes to superior outcomes by combining disparate ideologies. If we apply this thinking to the North American market, we can see the potential of drones in the short term.

Spray technology will likely look different in various geographies — permanent specialty crops in California and Washington (e.g., apples and almonds) offer a great entry point for drone spraying as a standalone. Western Canada, with 320+ac fields and oil pump jacks in fields, presents an opportunity for a tethered approach with both. The mid-west USA may offer an exciting combination where Solix can work in tandem with a spray drone. Without commercial offerings of some of these concepts, it isn’t easy to assess their viability. Still, we can see how autonomous drones with high payload capacity and acceptable regulations present unique opportunities.

Guardian getting FAA approval is a great step to illustrating what a commercial offering in conjunction with market access (Wilbur-Ellis) can bring to the industry. 

Source: AgFunder News

FEATURE GUARDIAN AGRICULTURE | 19

Autonomous Robots: Answering Three Basic Questions

Autonomous robots are one of, if not the hottest trends in precision agriculture at this moment. These robots are equipped with a wide range of technologies and sensors. Because farming is about achieving the best results with minimal effort, I advise farmers to consider the capabilities and the level of autonomy the robots have before purchasing one. This is more important than focusing on fancy lights, colors, and options that don’t add any value to their basic operations.

For a robot to be truly autonomous, it must find solutions to three basic questions:

1. Where is it located at this moment?

2. Where is it going?

3. How does it get there?

In addition to these questions, the robot must also consider how to use the attached implement and how to control it properly, but this is a topic for another article.

To answer the three basic questions mentioned above, the robots have to receive or execute the following inputs and outputs:

1. To have a model of the environment: In agriculture, the environment in which robots navigate is relatively simple with not many variables, but it changes rapidly throughout the year (crops grow, soil is prepared, irrigation equipment in different positions, etc.). In this case, the environment model will be given to the robots, or at least most of it (for example, loading shape files with boundaries, obstacles, and other points featured on it). However, the robot will still have to (at least partially) perceive and analyze the environment through its sensors and algorithms.

2. Find its position and situation within the environment, which is achieved again through data collected by sensors and with the help of algorithms.

3. Plan and execute the given task by using the motion devices with which it is equipped, in a safe and proper way.

“Autonomous robots are something new to all of informed as we can to understand it better and
20 | FEATURE AUTONOMOUS ROBOTS
Autonomous robot navigating in a field. (Photo: Farmdroid)

Analyze the environment

Now, let’s discuss what sensors the robots can use to perceive and analyze the environment and what they are doing.

Laser Scanners or LiDAR (Light Detection

And Ranging) provide accurate and real-time environmental sensing and mapping. It helps robots to navigate, avoid obstacles, and understand their surroundings. Think about this as radar technology, but with light (or laser) waves instead of radio, with the main difference being that some advanced LiDAR systems can be used to capture the reflected light’s angle, creating a detailed 3D map of the environment. GNSS (or better known as GPS) plays a significant role in helping robots navigate the environment by providing accurate positioning information. This information feeds the robot with precise information about where it is and confirms that it is heading in the right direction or on the right path. In scenarios where multiple robots need to collaborate in the same field, GPS is used to coordinate their activity. It is important to note that while GPS is very valuable in outdoor applications, it can be limited or impossible to use in indoor applications, such as greenhouses.

Valuable information with cameras

Cameras are another kind of sensor that provides valuable information for the robots, and here the more, the better. Digital cameras provide a wide field of view by capturing images and videos from multiple directions. Cameras are used more and more in SLAM algorithms (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), allowing robots to build maps of the environment while simultaneously determining their own localization within that environment. It must be noted that algorithms that use data input from cameras need a larger than average computing power. Inertial Measurement Units (or IMUs) are sensors that measure and report specific force and angular movements. They provide crucial information in agricultural robots for motion tracking, orientation estimation, and control. For example, speed can be measured using such sensors, but also valuable information about the robot’s roll, pitch, and yaw angles.

As most of the robots deployed in agriculture are wheel-based or tracked, wheel encoders are other important sensors to find out about. They are used to measure the rotation and speed of wheels on a robot but also provide valuable information about odometry, navigation, and error correction (like slippage or uneven terrain).

of us and a fast developing technology. But it is important to be as most important to find how we can put it to do the best work for us.”
FEATURE AUTONOMOUS ROBOTS | 21
Naio robot with LiDAR, camera and GNSS antenna in the top center front. (Photo: Mark Pasveer)

Sensors

Other sensors commonly found in commercially available robots today, with the main focus on safety or quality, are:

1. Proximity sensors, which use infrared or ultrasonic sensors to detect the presence or proximity of foreign objects, animals, or people.

2. Touch and pressure sensors, such as forceresistive sensors, allow robots to detect physical contact with other objects or surfaces. These sensors are integrated especially in the safety bumpers of agricultural robots.

3. Temperature and humidity sensors are starting to be implemented more and more in agricultural

robots, as there is a need for certain operations to be stopped if the weather conditions change during the operation, in order to preserve the quality of it.

And we should not forget about the more commonly used sensors in agriculture, such as flow sensors, tilt sensors, encoders, potentiometers, or RFID sensors. Perhaps we won’t spend time explaining these because most farmers are familiar with them.

Autonomous robots are something new to all of us and a fast developing technology. But it is important to be as informed as we can to understand it better and most important to find how we can put it to do the best work for us. 

Source: Julian Stefan, Syngenta

Mergers & Acquisitions Business Law Succession Planning Wills, Trusts, & Probate 7155 Lake Drive, Suite 200 West Des Moines, IA 50266 www.KreamerLaw.com (515)727-0900 Samuel I. Kreamer, J.D., C.P.A. sikjdcpa@kreamerlaw.com 7155 Lake Drive, Suite 200 West Des Moines, IA 50266 Licensed in both Iowa and Nebraska INEDA Associate Member
22 | FEATURE AUTONOMOUS ROBOTS
AgXeed robot with front safety bumper. (Photo: Mark Pasveer)

2024

Save Time & Register Now for INEDA’s Spring & Summer Events!

Regional Workshops

This year the Regional Workshops will be held in conjuction with a Transportation Regulations Workshop at each meeting location. These workshops will be beneficial for dealership executives, store and branch managers, human resources, recruitment professionals, and transportation department employees. Both workshops are free for INEDA members and their employees to attend. Please RSVP in advance to secure your spot!

NEBRASKA

May 23 | Heartland Events Ctr. Grand Island

IOWA

May 30 | FFA Enrichment Ctr. Ankeny

Legislative Meeting & Golf Outing

This is an incredible opportunity to connect with dealers, hear the latest legislative developments in your state, and have fun golfing all in the same day! Members are able to attend just the meeting and are not required to participate in the golf outing.

NEBRASKA

June 18 | York Country Club – York

IOWA

June 20 | Copper Creek Golf Club – Pleasant Hill

SCAN HERE TO REGISTER!

Or go to: https: //ineda.com/2024memberevents/

INEDA EVENTS | 23

Court Denies Discrimination Claim for Worker Who Requested “Lifelong”

Accomodation of Working From Home

A federal court in Pennsylvania on January 23, 2024, gave INEDA members guidance in a case concerning claims brought by an employee who worked remotely for almost two years against her employer who determined she could not perform all of the essential functions of her job from home. She contended that her employer’s refusal to grant her request for a permanent work from home accommodation was discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Galette v. Avenue 365 Lending Services LLC, U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D.Pa. Jan. 23, 2024).

When she began working for the employer, she worked full-time in person at its sole Pennsylvania office. Her primary functions included printing, scanning, and disbursing checks, releasing wires, facilitating the timely funding of loans, handling files disbursed by third-party partners, handling mail, answering emails, handling phone calls, overnighting checks, booking or posting wires and deposits, or performing wire confirmations.

The refinance and purchase transactions related to home ownership that the employer’s Funding Specialists handle require dealing with very high sums of money in the form of property tax checks, homeowner’s insurance, mortgage payoffs, liens, and creditors checks, all of which contained sensitive, nonpublic information. Due to the large volume of money flowing through accounts on a daily basis, her employer is a prime target for wire and check fraud.

In March 2020, all of the employees began working remotely due to COVID-19 pandemic governmental orders. In July 2020, the Company required all Funding Specialists to return to work in the office, unless the employee had obtained a medical accommodation or moved far away from the Company’s Pennsylvania office. She was permitted to continue to work remotely because she obtained a medical accommodation for her COPD.

In November 2020, she was cleared to return to work after being granted a short-term

disability leave for a kidney condition. Because of her COPD, she was permitted to continue to work remotely.

In July 2021, the Company required Funding Specialists to return to the office full time to coordinate the high volume of work which made remote work inefficient. She was informed she needed to return to the office or provide updated medical certification to support her continued need to work remotely. She submitted the request for her to work from home for medical reasons and due to the extraordinary high volume of business causing the Company not to be able to hire enough Funding Specialists to keep up with consumer demand, she was allowed to continue to work remotely through the end of the year.

In late 2021 and into 2022, the financial market slowed drastically causing the Company not to hire any new employees, implementing a Company-wide hiring freeze, and several rounds of reductions in force.

24 | HR INSIGHT
JERRY L. PIGSLEY | Woods Aitken LLP

In January 2022, she submitted a request for a permanent work from home accommodation. The Company denied the requested accommodation. It offered several options for in-office accommodations, including a handicapped parking spot near the office so that she would not have to walk far, a private office to provide space for her oxygen tanks and to allow her to maintain distance from coworkers due to concerns about vulnerability to COVID-19 transmission. She was terminated after she elected not to return to the office by April 1, 2022, or to apply for another remote position within the Company.

The Court in granting the Company’s motion for summary judgment concluded she failed to establish any claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act because she was unable to demonstrate that a reasonable accommodation would have allowed her to perform the essential functions of her job. The Court further stated: “ADA does not require employers to accommodate a disabled employee by permanently reassigning essential functions to in-office employees, forcing those employees to take on additional tasks.”

In determining “essential functions” of the job, the ADA provides that “consideration shall be given to the employer’s judgment as to what functions of a job are essential, and if an employer has prepared a written description before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job, this description shall be considered evidence of the essential functions of the job.” 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8). The burden is on the plaintiff that he/ she is an “otherwise qualified” individual, and he/she must “demonstrate that a specific,

reasonable accommodation would have allowed her to perform the essential functions of her job.” Taylor v. Phoenixville Sch. Dist., 184 F.3d 296, 320 (3d Cir. 1999). So, while this federal court decision in Pennsylvania is not binding on Nebraska and Iowa employers, such as INEDA members, it does provide helpful guidance on the issues an employer may face in denying an employee a request for a permanent, lifelong accommodation to work at home. 

Sales/Acquisitions of Dealerships

Succession Planning

Strategic Planning

Financial Statements & Tax Returns

HR INSIGHT| 25
Burt Circle, Omaha, Nebraska (402) 445-4040
10516
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Adrian
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Randy Koski
tax, accounting and consulting services to equipment dealers for over 30 years.
Michelle Thornburg
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Insightful Guidance ~ Proactive Solutions

WASHINGTON D.C. FLY-IN

On behalf of Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) members, thank you for the opportunity to visit with you about issues impacting equipment dealer businesses and industry. The intent of this visit is to find common sense, resultsoriented solutions. To the right are five issues INEDA asks you to consider today:

The Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) and its members and staff participated in our annual Washington D.C. Fly-In on March 19-21. The Washington D.C. Fly-In plays a critical role in the success of INEDA’s legislative agenda and gives INEDA members the opportunity to discuss important topics with their elected representatives and industry officials.

During the Fly-In, we met with Congressmen Mike Flood, Don Bacon, Adrian Smith and US Senators Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts from Nebraska as well as Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Ashley Hinson, Zach Nunn, Randy Feenstra and US Senators Charles “Chuck” Grassley and Joni Ernst from Iowa.

The group was also hosted by Associated Equipment Dealers (AED) staff for industry panels which provided insight on key issues before INEDA members visited the Hill. (INEDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AED to partner on Federal Advocacy in November of 2023.)

Facts about the Iowa Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA)

The goal of the fly-in is to find common sense, resultsoriented solutions to equipment dealer industry issues. INEDA presented five main issues to legislators during the fly-in:

• INEDA is a trade association dedicated to promoting the general well-being of agriculture, construction, and outdoor power equipment dealers in Iowa and Nebraska.

Farm Bill

• Established in 1893, INEDA is one of the oldest retail trade associations in North America.

• INEDA supports its members with legislative advocacy, manufacturer relations, education and scholarships, workforce development, and more.

We urge lawmakers to strengthen the safety net for farmers, continue voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that allow for producer flexibility, expand the use of agriculture-based bio-fuels, encourage adoption of the most precise, high- tech equipment, and invest in promoting U.S. commodities around the world.

• Equipment dealers employ over 9,000 personnel in sales, management, parts, service, accounting, and technical positions.

• Over 90 percent of dealership jobs are in communities with fewer than 10,000 population.

Farm Bill

Federal Regulations

The Biden administration’s regulatory onslaught is in full swing, INEDA is working together with AED and the broader business community to push back against costly and burdensome mandates targeting America’s job creators.

We urge lawmakers to strengthen the safety net for farmers, continue voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that allow for producer flexibility, expand the use of agriculturebased biofuels, encourage adoption of the most precise, hightech equipment, and invest in promoting U.S. commodities around the world.

Right to Repair

Federal Rulemaking

The Biden administration’s regulatory onslaught is in full swing, INEDA is working together with AED and the broader business community to push back against costly and burdensome mandates targeting America’s job creators.

Right to Repair

The American Farm Bureau Federation and most major agriculture equipment manufacturers have signed Memorandums of Understanding to allow farmers access to technical information, parts, tools, and diagnostic equipment to repair their own equipment. We oppose government intervention in equipment markets including right to repair legislation and regulations. INEDA asks Congress to allow the private sector process to continue to develop solutions to better serve customers.

Tax Policy

The American Farm Bureau Federation and most major agriculture equipment manufacturers have signed Memorandums of Understanding to allow farmers access to technical information, parts, tools, and diagnostic equipment to repair their own equipment. We oppose government intervention in equipment markets including right to repair legislation and regulations. INEDA asks Congress to allow the private sector process to continue to develop the solutions to better serve customers.

We strongly support making expiring (and expired) provisions from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) permanent. Aside from the corporate tax rate, which doesn’t sunset, most other pro-growth provisions from TCJA have either expired, are currently phasing out or will end after 2025.

Workforce Development

Tax Policy

The greatest challenge facing INEDA members and their customers is the workforce shortage. While our members are leading the charge through incentives and recruitment programs, we are asking for policies that will provide resources to employers and workers to pursue in-demand careers and educate students to fill skilled positions at dealerships. 

We strongly support making expiring (and expired) provisions from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) permanent. Aside from the corporate tax rate, which doesn’t sunset, most other pro-growth provisions from TCJA have either expired, are currently phasing out or will end after 2025.

Those in attendance of the 2024 Washington D.C Fly-In:

Dave McCarthy – Titan Machinery

• Iowa and Nebraska equipment dealers’ combined gross annual sales of equipment and services is in excess of $4.5 billion.

Kevin Clark – AKRS Equipment

Daniel Fisher – AED

Jamie Mertz – INEDA

Jonathon Porter– AED

• There are over 430 dealer member locations in Iowa and Nebraska.

Workforce Development

Mark Hennessey – INEDA

Mat Habrock – LandMark Implemement

Garon Borkowski – AKRS Equipment

Phil Erdman – INEDA

The greatest challenge facing INEDA members and their customers is the workforce shortage. While our members are leading the charge through incentives and recruitment programs, we are asking for policies that will provide resources to employers and workers to pursue in-demand careers and educate students to fill skilled positions at dealerships.

26 | GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
PHIL ERDMAN Director of Dealer and Government Affairs [phile@ineda.com]

@INEDAAssoc represents hundreds of Iowa & Nebraska locations that sell agricultural, construction, and outdoor power equipment. I enjoyed discussing the latest innovations in ag equipment & policies like my PRECISE Act that will expand access to precisions ag tools for farmers!

US Senator Deb Fischer Congressman Mike Flood Congressman Adrian Smith
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS | 27
Attending Members

MARKETING VIEW

Top 10 Insights and Actionable Marketing Strategies to follow in 2024

As the marketing landscape evolves rapidly in 2024, it’s crucial for dealerships to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. with the latest marketing trends isn’t always easy. Keeping up isn’t easy, but to succeed in the fastpaced marketing world — I’d challenge you to pick 3 or 4 of the insights below to focus on and see what a difference it can make!

1. Short-form Video Content Dominance

Insight: Short-form video content on platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, Reels, and YouTube Shorts continues to engage audiences effectively, with 53% of marketers utilizing this format in 2024.

Actionable Steps:

• Invest in creating concise, engaging short-form video content.

• Analyze platform-specific engagement to tailor your video strategy.

• Re-purpose successful video content across different short-form video platforms.

2. Authenticity Through Brand Values

Insight: With 82% of shoppers preferring brands that align with their values, content authenticity becomes pivotal.

Actionable Steps:

• Conduct surveys or use social listening tools to understand the values important to your audience.

• Integrate these values consistently across your marketing content.

• Regularly communicate your brand’s commitment to its values through storytelling.

3. The Rise of Social Media Advertising

Insight: Social media advertising remains a key strategy, with 36% of marketers planning to increase their investment in 2024.

Actionable Steps:

• Collaborate with influencers that resonate with your target audience for social media advertising opportunities.

• Ensure your social media ads provide value and blend seamlessly with the platform’s content.

• Track and analyze the performance of social media ads to refine your strategy.

4. Influencer Marketing’s Strategic Role

Insight: Influencer marketing remains critical, with a notable shift towards micro-influencers for their authenticity and engagement rates.

Actionable Steps:

• Identify and partner with micro-influencers who share your brand’s values and have an engaged audience.

• Co-create content that resonates with the influencer’s audience while staying true to your brand.

• Measure the impact of influencer campaigns on brand awareness and conversion rates.

5. Podcasts and Audio Content’s Steady Growth

Insight: The popularity of podcasts and audio content continues to rise, with 82% of marketers planning to increase or maintain their investment.

Actionable Steps:

• Launch a podcast series that aligns with your

28 | MARKETING VIEW
MARKETING

brand’s expertise and audience interests.

• Consider audio content in your content strategy, such as audio books or branded playlists.

• Collaborate with established podcasts for guest appearances or sponsorships.

6. The Enduring Power of Blogging

Insight: Blogging remains a cornerstone of content marketing, with 92% of marketers planning to maintain or increase their investment.

Actionable Steps:

• Consistently create and publish valuable, SEO-optimized blog content.

• Engage with your audience through comments and social sharing.

• Utilize analytics to understand which content performs best and refine your blogging strategy.

7. Infographics Drive Engagement

Insight: Infographics remain popular for their ability to convey complex information in a digestible format, with 88% of marketers investing in them.

Actionable Steps:

• Create high-quality infographics that highlight key industry data, trends, or how-to guides.

• Share infographics across your social media, blog, and email campaigns.

• Encourage sharing and use infographics in presentations or sales materials.

8. Social Media Selling Increasing in Popularity

Insight: Social media channels are increasingly becoming shopping destinations, changing consumer purchasing behaviors.

Actionable Steps:

• Integrate social media shopping opportunities into your strategy, by using the channel to promote products and services you sell or even to promote an online store you may have.

• Create shoppable posts and ads to streamline the purchasing process so your audience knows what products and services you sell.

• Monitor and analyze the performance of social selling efforts to optimize your approach.

9. TikTok’s Growing Brand Interest

Insight: TikTok’s marketing appeal continues to grow, with brands planning to increase their investment to tap into its vast, engaged audience.

Actionable Steps:

• Develop creative, trend-aligned content for TikTok to engage users.

• Experiment with TikTok ads and influencer partnerships to expand reach.

• Analyze TikTok analytics to refine content and maximize engagement.

10. Strategic Focus on Multiple Social Channels

Insight: Marketers typically manage three to five social channels, tailoring their strategies to each channel’s unique audience and features.

Actionable Steps:

• Choose the right mix of social channels based on your target audience and marketing goals.

• Tailor content and engagement strategies for each channel, leveraging their specific strengths.

• Regularly review channel performance and adjust your strategy to optimize results.

Staying informed and agile is the key to evolving marketing landscape of 2024 to leverage these trends for dealership marketing success.

MARKETING VIEW | 29

Creative financing solutions are key for today’s farm equipment buyers looking to embrace current technology and necessary upgrades while combatting fluctuating economic conditions. Plus, leasing can offer dealers distinct advantages through additional buyer opportunities.

AgDirect offers competitive rates and tailored payment structures to maximize cash flow with 100% financing of all brands and types of new and used equipment. Visit agdirect.com or call 888-525-9805.

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entering
a
producers should consult with an accountant for advice on leasing options. AgDirect is an equipment financing program offered by Farm Credit Services of America and other lenders, including participating Farm Credit System Institutions.
Equipment
Association 8330
Johnston,
50131-2841
AgDirect
customers’
Before
into
lease,
Scan to learn more about AgDirect leasing.
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