This year marks 55 years of Farm Equipment magazine and 20 years of ownership by our family-run company, Lessiter Media. Below is my first column (“A New-Era Contract”), from the August/September 2004 edition, written weeks after acquiring the magazine.

As the first issue produced under new ownership, these 48 pages in your hands mark a new beginning for both of us.

For our small family-run trade publishing firm, this inaugural issue represents a significant new chapter in our history, and an exciting opportunity to put our ag and trade publishing background and resources behind the respected name of Farm Equipment.


Mike Lessiter, Editor/Publisher

And we hope you’ll discover a renewed energy about your business that comes from fresh and enthusiastic eyes focused on the changing horizon.

As we get started, allow us to introduce ourselves. My father, Frank, founded the company on an ag cornerstone in 1981. Today, our 16-person firm applies its ag knowledge with an understanding of how to put a first-class, reader-first trade publication together.

My initial dealer visits and phone calls have made me feel at home already. Like many of you, I answered the call of the family business after 12 years of running 2 foundry equipment and business magazines in Chicago. While I have plenty to learn about your business, I’ve long kept watch on farm equipment because of its market importance to foundries. In a roundabout way, I too can say I’ve made my living off of iron, even if it was several steps up the production flow chart.

“Thanks for making room on your desk for us since we entered the space in 2004. We’re forever grateful for an acquisition that introduced us to the outstanding people & business leaders that comprise North America’s farm equipment industry.…”

We’re excited to take the wheel of Farm Equipment for several reasons. We have a great appreciation for your role in helping farmers compete. We also like to think we relate well with honest, hardworking folks like you. Finally, anyone who chooses our profession needs to make a difference. There are significant challenges, but if we can help you figure out how to navigate the changing terrain, I can think of no better place to be.

We’d like to present a “contract”for the new era of Farm Equipment. You can expect us to try to understand your concerns and what’s keeping you up at night. You can expect us to listen. You can expect us to collect and disseminate ideas gathered from those toiling in the trenches, not from some ivory-tower desk. You can expect us to present ideas and potential solutions to you — for your own evaluation. Whatever the problem, the answers exist out there somewhere, and we’ll do our best to help unearth them for you.

But like any contract, we expect a few things, too. Let us know how we can help — we’re on your side. We need your input, and will take it every chance we get. We’ll even invite you to chew us out once in a while, as engaged participation is what makes this work. That means a big part of how well we do with Farm Equipment depends on you.