Today, I’m in Washington, D.C., for the National Ag Day celebrations. I’m grateful for the chance to be in the middle of it all and to meet and network with influencers and industry leaders. National Ag Day

It’s always a good feeling to be among those who understand what agriculture is all about — those whose lingo matches your own and where conversations about the weather aren’t just idle chit-chat.

As much as I enjoy talking with those from the ag world, I believe our real impact comes from networking outside the world of agriculture. By effectively explaining what agriculture and rural life is all about, we can help preserve — and promote — it.

Hats off to you rural lifestyle dealers who navigate that world every day. You have the experts on staff who can talk specifications with someone who has driven tractors for decades. Then, in a minute switch to explaining to someone new to country living what horsepower or hydrostat or PTO means.  

I challenge you to go outside the comfort zone of your dealerships and seek out other opportunities to talk about equipment and agriculture. For instance, you’re probably attending those community luncheon meetings anyway, so why not present a program on the latest technology and how it benefits the environment? Or, see what events your Chamber of Commerce or area realtor group are planning and offer to speak on rural life.

Don’t limit yourself. You sell equipment, of course, but you’re really an expert on how to achieve a lifestyle that more and more people are seeking. According to our 2016 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook Report, nearly 70% of dealers say their markets have grown 5-20% or more in the last 5 years.

Here are some good reasons why it’s important to reach these new customers, according to the Agriculture Council of America, the organizers of National Ag Day:

  • Informed citizens will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad.
  • Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing vocational agricultural studies.
  • Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans.

As you take on the role of agriculture advocate, you’ll enhance the reputation of your dealership as a trusted source for information as well as equipment. Your efforts also might offer opportunities for your team members to grow and improve their own communication and relationship building skills.

Hope you have a great Ag Day.