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Takeaways from the Iowa District Meeting

In March and April of this year, INEDA hosted seven district meeting in Iowa and Nebraska. In lieu of members attending the annual dealer conference, INEDA staff traveled to see members. These were great events that will likely grow over the next few years.

To me, the two biggest takeaways of the district meetings were the social aspect of the gathering of neighboring dealers and the new faces that we saw at these events.

Meeting Your Neighboring Dealer

It has always surprised me that many dealers have never met their neighboring dealer or haven’t communicated with them for several years. One requirement of our district meetings was that attendees needed to sit by someone they didn’t know. When neighboring dealers meet, they find that they have common issues such as over-demanding customers, pressure from manufacturers, finding the next generation of employees, etc. The benefits of meeting your neighboring dealer include new friendships, peer-to-peer mentoring, and sometimes even new business relations such as trading competitive brand inventory.

Next Generation Dealer/Key Personnel

With the district meetings located closer to the dealerships, many dealers took the opportunity to introduce their family members to the INEDA staff. At the Iowa district meetings, eight dealers brought their sons or daughters, the majority of whom have never attended an INEDA event before. Other dealers brought store managers and key personnel. We encourage dealers next year to use the district meetings as an opportunity to keep the next generation of owners/managers engaged in the Association.

Clarification to the Iowa Dealer Protection Law

In a few instances last year, suppliers claimed that because the dealer cancelled the agreement, suppliers didn’t need to repurchase whole goods or parts. The only recourse available to the dealer was expensive and time-consuming legal action. At this Iowa legislative session, the Association added verbiage to the dealer protection law to clarify that the law abides regardless of which party cancels a dealer/supplier agreement:

“If a dealership agreement is terminated by cancellation or nonrenewal by either the dealer or supplier, the supplier must repurchase equipment and parts in the dealer’s inventory and must repurchase special tools and computer hardware or software required for the dealership.”

Demographics of Nebraska Ag Expo Attendees

The Nebraska Ag Expo Exhibit Committee debated extensively last year whether to pursue a $5 admission to the Nebraska Ag Expo. The reason behind charging admission was to incentivize producers to register online or at the door to collect valuable demographic and contact information. When the producer registered, admission was waived.

Last year with COVID-19 and the delay of the Expo until February, the Expo decided not to charge admission at the door. Even with the reduced emphasis, the Expo collected data on 2,559 unique registrations. Of those, 2,045 indicated that they were producers.

In addition to collecting 1,674 email addresses and 1,708 cell phone numbers for targeted marketing, demographic information was also obtained on attendees. This information helps the Expo recruit exhibitors and allocate promotional dollars.

Findings included:

  • 82.3% of producers who attended the Nebraska Ag Expo reside in Nebraska
  • Average acreage size of producers is 1,416 acres, with 38.2% farming over 1,200 acres
  • 88.4% and 82.1% of producers raise corn and soybeans, respectively
  • 35.4% of producers raise alfalfa/haylage and
  • 42.3% of producers raise cattle
  • Average age of producers was 50.3, with 66.7% being 60 or younger