Ag Sector BoardAEM’s Ag Sector Board met in-person March 15 in Washington, D.C. to discuss a variety of important industry issues and assess the association’s priorities for 2022.

Ag Sector Board Chair and Kubota Tractor Corporation Senior Vice President Todd Stucke called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the year, which included the following four new Directors:

  • Kurt Coffey, Vice President, CNH Industrial
  • Michael Gomes, VP Strategic Business Development, Topcon
  • Doug Griffin, Partner, Context Network
  • Eric Raby, Senior VP Americas, CLAAS

The Board then took some time to discuss the Ag Sector Board’s 2022 priorities, which are:

  1. Maintain and grow AEM’s global ag leadership position
  2. Advocate for ag equipment industry with policymakers and regulators
  3. Strengthen and grow AEM’s ag member business
  4. Promote agriculture as a sustainability and climate solution

The group agreed that these broad objectives and the identified tactics for each were on track.  Recognizing the focus that COVID-19 has brought to the global supply chain and food security, it was agreed that a new tactic under Priority No. 1 will be to maintain agriculture’s position as an essential industry providing critical food security to the nation and the world.

Ag Technology

Senior Director Agriculture Anita Sennett noted that AEM’s Ag Technology Leadership Group has been working the last couple of years to stay ahead of the stream of new technologies and ensure that standards or regulations developed overseas meet the needs of North American growers and manufacturers. Group Chair Darryl Matthews of Trimble also provided an overview of the group’s priorities, which are:

  • Automation/autonomous​
  • High speed ISOBUS​
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle communications​
  • Sharing of machine and farm data​
  • Broadband connectivity​
  • Power

It was noted that those priorities are in alignment with Projects undertaken by the Ag Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), and that the group has been working closely with the AEF.

AEF Vice Chair Andrew Olliver of CNH Industrial delivered a presentation on the AEF organizational structure, as well as ISOBUS certification and promotion. In addition, Olliver provided an overview of the AEF Projects in alignment with the AEM Ag Technology Leadership Group’s priorities:

  • High Speed ISOBUS
  • Wireless Infield Communication
  • Medium Voltage
  • Tractor Implement Management
  • Ag Interoperability Network
  • INFO

The Ag Sector Board resolved to support promotion of the AEF ISOBUS database and to encourage North American perspective within AEF through representation within project teams and leadership.

Celebration of Agriculture on the National Mall

AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Nick Tindall provided an overview of the then-upcoming Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall. He noted that 15 AEM member companies and 23 industry partners are participating and that many tours are being arranged for regulators and lawmakers.

Commodity Classic                                              

The successful 2022 Commodity Classic show was recapped, noting a larger show footprint than the previous show, with attendance down about 20% as was expected due to COVID-19 and the restrictions still in place in New Orleans. AEM’s activities at the show were noted – including bringing in AEF’s Plugfest as a co-located event for the first time.

Advocacy                                                               

AEM Director of State Government and Industry Relations Stephanie See, Senior Advisor of Global Public Policy Alex Russ and Senior Director of Government Relations Kate Fox Wood provided updates on state, global and federal issues. It was noted that all three areas are now engaged with Right to Repair, and that Canada in particular is moving forward quickly on issue. In addition, the current status of the AEMPAC was provided.

The meeting closed with an open forum discussion on topics including the future of sustainability & technology, COVID-19 and supply chain, Ukraine/Russia concerns, as well as other topics of relevance. Members shared their experiences with the Russia/Ukraine crisis, noting their priorities of ensuring safety of staff in those countries and continued supply and support of operations in Ukraine.

Joint Sector

The Board also joined AEM’s CE Sector Board and members of the AEM's Board of Directors for a Joint Sector session.

During the session, Directors were given an overview of AEMs regulatory efforts, an update from the Futures Council and a summary of AEM’s recently conducted supply chain survey. In addition, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin stopped by to provide his thoughts on the upcoming election cycle and other political happenings of note in Washington, D.C.

The next meetings of and CE and Ag Sector Boards are scheduled for August 4-5 in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information about the Ag Sector Board, contact Curt Blades at cblades@aem.org.

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