Ag Sector BoardThe impact of the COVD-19 pandemic on AEM member companies headlined a full agenda of topics discussed by AEM’s Ag Sector Board at its March 24 meeting, held via teleconference.

Ag Sector Board Chair Jerry Johnson, president, Farm Ranch & Agriculture Division, Blount International, opened the meeting by welcoming new board members -- Kim Boccardi, vice president. marketing, Titan International; Fernando Cuccioli, executive vice president, North and Latin America, DeLaval Inc.; Charlene Finck, president, producer media, Farm Journal and David Gilmore, senior vice president, global marketing, Deere & Company.

During the meeting, the Ag Sector Board covered the following:

COVID-19 Response Efforts

AEM President Dennis Slater and AEM Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations Kip Eideberg shared an update on how AEM is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to maintain business operations and revised meeting formats.

AEM is spearheading efforts to help member companies through what's happening around COVID-19, through:

  •  Daily discussions with Congress and the White House
  •  Policy recommendations to support the industry and employees
  •  Coordination with trade associations and business groups
  •  Daily updates to the AEM Board of Directors, AG/CE Sector Boards, GPAC and AEM member company OCRs
  •  Regular updates to all member company representatives

Eideberg also outlined specific actions taken by AEM’s Advocacy Team related to COVID-19, including:

  •  Guidance on emergency aid packages
  •  Calling on the federal government to designate equipment manufacturers as "essential," ensuring demand for equipment remains strong, and providing liquidity to equipment manufacturers
  •  Letters to all 50 governors, as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures and U.S. mayors
  •  Calling for increased infrastructure investment
  •  Calling for tariff suspension
  •  Outreach to Canadian federal and provincial officials

In addition, Slater and AEM Senior Vice President of Ag Services Curt Blades asked each Ag Sector Board member to provide his or her individual company’s responses to the COVID-19 crisis in an effort to share best practices across the industry and to help minimize the impact of the pandemic.

Commodity Classic 2020

AEM Director of Ag Events John Rozum provided a detailed recap of Commodity Classic 2020, held Feb. 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas. AEM has assumed greater show management responsibility for Commodity Classic over time, joining the newly formed Management Committee and participating in conversations about the show's future. This year, assisted in surveying both attendees and exhibitors in an effort to provide the show's Management Committee with accurate and impactful information to further drive the growth and development of Commodity Classic. In addition, next year will see AEM become even more involved with show management and registration.

The 2020 edition of Commodity Classic was host to over 9,300 attendees and exhibitors. The farmer attendance figure saw an increase from 2019, while 400 exhibitors took more than 210,000 net square feet, which was on par with last year's show in Orlando, Florida.

Farmer Reception at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Rozum and AEM Senior Director of Ag Services Anita Sennett also provided details on a farmer reception held at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, which took place March 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the growing size and spread of farms, more and more construction equipment is used in farming operations. As a result, there is a significant farmer presence at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. This year's event was a successful one, as those in attendance enjoyed meeting other farmers and networking.

Right to Repair

Eideberg and Director of State Government Relations Stephanie See gave an overview of AEM efforts related to Right to Repair legislation. The Association’s strategy in 2020, as outlined by See, has been:

  •  Enlisting the help of dealers to demonstrate the local impact of Right to Repair
  •  Working with local industry groups
  •  Leading a coalition of diverse manufacturing industries
  •  Amplifying lobbying efforts through a national Right to Repair campaign

See also provided the Board with information regarding what states considered Right to Repair legislation in 2020, states where that legislation was defeated, states where legislation is still in play, remaining Right to Repair threats, in addition to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consent Agenda

Prior to the meeting, the Board received reports on each of the following AEM service areas that outlined the latest updates and actions led by AEM staff. The service area updates included:

  •  Ag Leadership Groups
  •  Workforce Development (with rural focus)
  •  Statistics
  •  Membership (MEST)
  •  2019 Agrievolution Summit
  •  Global Agriculture Indices and Business Barometer
  •  Ag Communication and Public Relations
  •  Technical and Safety
  •  Component Member Group
  •  Regulatory and Ag Policy
  •  Advocacy

The next meetings of the AEM Board and Sector Boards are scheduled for Aug. 4-5 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For more information about AEM’s Ag Sector Board, please contact Curt Blades at

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