As we say goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024, this issue of the Retailer is focused on our economy.  As we have heard from many of you, along with the sentiments you’ve heard in your dealerships, there is an uneasiness underlying our current economic condition.  A few of the factors contributing to this feeling include rising interest rates, softening of commodity prices, the presidential election and the nation’s highest level of consumer debt at a staggering $17.29 trillion.

Our dealers of all shapes, colors, and sizes are wrestling with the challenges involved in managing inventory.  Whether it’s not having enough or getting stuck with too much inventory is a delicate balancing act in these uncertain times. Caution is the key word being touted.  Depending upon your appetite for risk, many of you have memories from the past going back to the mid-1980’s.  At a time where dealerships ended in bankruptcy, farms were lost and heavy construction came to a standstill.  Nobody wants to relive those challenging times, but our past memories remind us to not forget those hard lessons.

Upon returning from our Nebraska Ag Expo, there were many interested buyers and qualified future prospects.  Exhibitors shared their exuberance with the amount of activity, interest and sales they experienced at this show compared to the past.  Many remarked that it was their best show ever!

As you will hear in this issue, our field staff have been busy meeting with our members and listening to their perspectives.  I’ve been actively talking with my fellow association executives covering 27 states, and manufacturers about their observations going into 2024.  The overall tone is activity is up, perhaps not as much as last year, but business seems to be pretty good for 2024.

As your association, we appreciate serving you, being a collective voice representing you and working alongside you this past year.  Turning the page to 2024, we look forward to being a trusted resource for you to experience another successful year.