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Monday, January 9, 2017




11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. “Precision Farming Dealer Summit Registration.” Walnut Foyer (2nd Floor)
1:00 - 2:15 p.m. “The Straight Truth About Precision Farming Growth” Grand Ballroom C/D (2nd Floor)See more
jim.jpgArlin Sorensen, CEO and Founder of HTS Ag, Harlan, Iowa — The foundation of precision farming revenue for dealers has always been selling hardware. This approach has been a profitable one, but not necessarily sustainable for the long-term, says Sorensen, a technology business entrepreneur and founder of HTS Ag, an independent precision farming dealership based in Harlan, Iowa. Sorensen spent more than 25 years in the IT industry and sees similarities in precision ag as profits dictate a move from a product-focused business to one rooted in service. This is driven by shrinking margins on precision hardware — as was the case in the IT industry — as the business matures. “The best IT companies today are making 70-80% of their profit on service. That’s where the revenue must shift in our businesses.” Precision dealers are challenged to create a service model to go along with the sale of a product to sustain profitability. Pre-paid support packages and remote service are two trends adopted from the IT industry now tailored for precision ag. But to make this transition, dealers need to understand the why, how and when to change. This includes setting measurable goals, capitalizing on the uniqueness of your business model and a confidence that initial failures will translate to long-term successes. Sorensen details his methodical and tested approach to building a profitable precision farming business from the ground up — developing a disciplined approach to growth, realizing limitations and the value of leaving a lasting legacy. About HTS Ag: Formed in 1995 by Arlin Sorensen as a branch of Heartland Technology Solutions ... Implemented first multi-tiered precision packages in 2008 ... Doubled precision service revenue since 2013 to account for about 33% of the dealership’s overall revenue ... Billed more than 3,300 precision service hours in 2015 from 2 locations ... Launched series of farmer-focused precision peer groups in 2014 to strengthen customer relationships and explore new product and service opportunities ... Purchased custom-built 24 foot enclosed trailers for mobile training and promotion.

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2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Roundtable Discussions (1st Set)

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Share your insights, ask questions and interact with your peers! Choose 1 of 7 concurrent roundtables for face-to-face dialog on these important precision subjects:

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2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 1. Precision Peer Groups: Your External Support Network Grand Ballroom A (2nd Floor)
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 2. Tips, Tricks & Tactics for Selling Data Management Service Grand Ballroom B (2nd Floor)
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 3. Do I Need a CRM Tool for My Precision Business? Grand Ballroom C/D (2nd Floor)
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 4. Putting on a Successful Precision Ag Field Day Grand Ballroom E (2nd Floor)
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 5. Market Corrections: Lessons Learned During the Downturn Grand Ballroom F (2nd Floor)
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 6. UAVs: Ready for Takeoff? Or a Grounded Technology? Grand Ballroom G (2nd Floor)
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. 7. Aftermarket Opportunities: What am I Missing? Grand Ballroom C/D (2nd Floor)
3:45 - 4:00 p.m. “Roundtable 2-Minute Recaps — Straight from the Moderators” Grand Ballroom C/D (2nd Floor)See more
“Getting all brands and sizes helped to learn what others are doing. What I heard at this event I could take to the bank...” — Lanty “Spud” Armstrong, Ag Technologies, Rochester, Ind.

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4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Dealer-to-Dealer Panel

“Selling Precision Service: Packages, Pricing & Payback” Grand Ballroom C/D (2nd Floor) See more
The ability to capture recurring revenue is essential to growing a precision business. But moving from a free to fee mentality with service requires more than simply putting a price tag on support and expecting customers to open their checkbooks. During this thought-provoking panel discussion 3 experienced dealers share how developing a researched and tested method for selling precision service can increase uptake and minimize pushback from farm customers.

“Twan van Ham, Integrated Solutions Manager, Western Tractor Co., Lethbridge, Ab.” Grand C/D (2nd Floor) twan
Selling and servicing ag technology since the mid 1990s, van Ham spearheaded formal development of the 4-store, phase 4 dealership’s precision farming department 5 years ago. In the last 2 years alone, precision revenues have grown more than 500%, thanks in part to development of the dealership’s data management service and support plan. Managing the highest percentage of engaged acres in MyJohnDeere.com’s operations center among his peers, van Ham shares how Western Tractor’s suite of support plans, technology network support, product offerings and training has evolved into a profitable recipe.

“Colin Hlavinka, Precision Farming Manager, Hlavinka Equipment Co., El Campo, Tx. ” Grand A/B (2nd Floor) colin
After nearly 3 years as an equipment salesperson, Hlavinka transitioned into his current role of managing a team of 3 precision specialists covering 8 stores in Texas. Leveraging service agreements as “partnerships” with customers, Hlavinka follows the proven retail format of add-on selling — usually doubling service visit costs with additional parts or support. Hlavinka details how the dealership has gone from no precision service program to a 30% customer adoption rate in 3 years and the value of taking a “you want fries with that?” mentality to create additional precision service revenue.

“Nathan Zimmerman, Precision Farming Manager, A.C. McCartney, Mount Sterling, Ill. ” Grand E/G (2nd Floor) nathan
A product technology specialist for 5 years, Zimmerman became the manager of the Mount Sterling, Ill., store, while overseeing precision farming operations of the 4-location group. As the primary contact for precision service, Zimmerman helped develop and launch an unlimited phone support plan to include a 10% discount on labor and technology parts, 2 training sessions and free loaner equipment. Zimmerman shares tips and experience-based advice for billing out phone support and how the dealership achieved a 30% take rate on its service plan in the first year.

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5:30 - 6:00 p.m. “Summit Welcome Reception” Gateway 1/2/3 (2nd Floor)
6:15 - 7:30 p.m. “Dinner and Keynote Presentation” Archview Ballroom (2nd Floor)
(Included in your registration fee) See more
“Driving Forces & Logistical Hurdles to Autonomy in Agriculture”
Autonomous vehicles may seem like a futuristic concept, but experts says they are closer to reality in agriculture than many expect. Manufacturers and developers — both large and small — are advancing the technology with plans for these systems to soon become mainstream ag machinery. Just how they will be implemented, sold and serviced remains to be seen. Kraig Schulz, CEO of Autonomous Tractor Corp. (ATC), based in Fargo. N.D., has spent more than 15 years consulting with bio-science companies on commercialization of innovative technologies. After 10 years of research and development, Schulz co-founded ATC in 2012 to develop and deliver autonomous ag technology. “Autonomy is coming, but most people don’t really understand what it means,” Schulz says. “It is more than just steering because we must manage not just the tractor but the implement. But a computer will not be a farmer on day one so we must think about beginning an autonomous program as if we have a new, young, hired hand on the farm that needs training. What operations will we start with and how will we know the system is getting better over time?” During this keynote session, Schulz offers insight on why managing a fleet of autonomous vehicles requires rethinking the logistics of a farming system to be more data-driven than today and more about managing operations than working the field.

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7:30 - 8:30 p.m. “Dessert & Networking Hour” Gateway 1/2/3 (2nd Floor)
(Included in your registration fee)

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