7/30/2012Advisor Newsletters - AEM Advisor
Too often, organizations unveil strategic plans with lofty, impressive goals that although impressive, end up on the shelf and forgotten. As we launch our goal to significantly increase AEM support and ambitions in Ag advocacy, we are making sure that this will not happen. Here is an example of how we are making Ag advocacy a priority.
We just embarked on a first-ever series of radio interviews to explain the importance of the passage of a new farm bill to farmers, the agriculture industry in general, and ultimately Ag equipment manufacturers. The 11 radio interviews began on July 20 with “Radio Iowa,” a statewide network with 58 affiliates and 55,300 listeners, and ended July 26 talking with Mike Adams on the national Ag Talk Radio network reaching a national Ag network of 70 affiliates and 75,000 listeners. In between there were live and taped interviews on radio shows in Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York and the New England states.
As the audience included producers who buy, use, and depend on the machinery, I discussed the potentially devastating results of this year’s drought and how that makes ensuring a significant safety net in the next farm bill all the more important to agriculture.
Just as AEM was able to be a critical part of the coalition to see surface transportation legislation pass earlier this year, AEM is now raising its voice in support of the 2012 Farm Bill with a safety net that will keep U.S. farmers in business when factors such as weather and market volatility threaten to drive producers out of business.
In the interviews, I said that many producers still have one of the lowest debt-to-asset ratios of all time, but nevertheless the drought is hurting them. The drought will keep farmers and ranchers guessing, and that market uncertainty makes it all the more pressing to have a farm bill this year with an updated safety net. About 90 percent of growers do not irrigate, and for them the real impact of this extended drought could occur next year when soil and subsoil moisture is absent.
This year’s farm bill proposals in both the Senate and the House versions allow the use of many risk management tools for producers of all kinds to mitigate losses. The effects of drought are devastating and we know there is great anxiety in farm country about the long-term effects of this extended dry period. Some crop producers will have almost no production this year, and many livestock producers are decreasing the number of animals they’re keeping and their margins are vanishing. The bills in both houses have the tools to help drought-stricken producers keep operating. In other words, there is enhanced market certainty in the bills for producers, which in turn supports the purchasing power necessary to acquire new agricultural machinery.
Equipment manufacturers play a vital role in our local economies for jobs. America’s equipment manufacturers provide local jobs in many of our communities; when producers are buying agriculture equipment, the manufacturing plants are humming and people are working. A sound safety net plays a key role in today’s agriculture, helping to feed and fuel and clothe the world. That productivity has helped agriculture get through The Great Recession, and that is a success story.
Nevertheless, the continuing drought really places an emphasis on the importance of the farm bill that expires September 30. We recognize we’re in an environment right now with deficit spending and that we have to start cutting, but we recognize that producers need a robust safety net.
With our I Make America campaign, we are providing a way for you, too, to raise your voice on behalf of the safety net. You can sign up at www.IMakeAmerica.com, as well as send a letter to your representatives.
We recognize that this radio interview blitz is just one tactic to increase our Ag advocacy activities and much more needs to be done. That’s just what AEM will do. In the next week or so we will be announcing the details of our Ag advocacy objectives and plan for the next two years. And, that plan won’t be put on any shelf.
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