Customer connections, global leadership and data were hot topics at the AEM Ag Sector Board Meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 9 in Chicago.

Ag Sector Board Chair John Lagemann, senior vice president, sales & marketing, Agriculture & Turf Division, Deere & Company, opened the meeting by welcoming Brian Nelson, president, HCC Inc. as a first-time Ag Sector Board Meeting attendee.

“We have a passionate board committed to driving value, customer connection opportunities and sound global leadership for AEM’s agriculture members at large,” said Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president. “This was a particularly active board meeting, and I’m optimistic about the progress being made in all of our service areas.”

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

  • Customer Connections - Received an update on AEM’s involvement and future agreements with the Commodity Classic joint venture, as well as space sales progress for the 2019 show from Curt Blades. 
  • In addition, Sector Board reviewed the progress made by the Customer Connections Task Force. The initial results of a research project on agricultural equipment end users will be unveiled at the end of August.
  • Statistics - Listened to a report from AEM Vice President of Business Intelligence Larry Buzecky on the results of the successful AEM Statistics Conference this spring. He also noted the continuous improvement program the statistics department is undergoing, including a series of stakeholder interviews to ensure member satisfaction.
  • Public Policy - Heard updates on key ag legislative priorities and actions including the Farm Bill, renewable fuel standards, rural broadband and other regulations from AEM Senior Director of Government and Industry Relations Nick Tindall. Tindall also shared highlights from AEM’s third annual agricultural equipment demonstration for officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture, as well as plans for a similar event being held in Canada this month.
  • AEM Senior Vice President Nick Yaksich provided an update on the Highway Trust Fund and the Trump Infrastructure Plan. Kip Eideberg, AEM vice president of public affairs, also updated the board on the Trump agenda and what AEM is doing to continue to build awareness of our position opposing the administration’s tariffs on imported goods. AEM Director for State Government and Industry Relations Stephanie See also shared an update on the Right to Repair issue and new developments related to legislation and the coalitions AEM is working with to support its message.
  • In addition, the Ag Sector Board put forward a recommendation to continue its financial support of Fuels America in 2018. Fuels America is a coalition of organizations committed to protecting America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and promoting homegrown biofuels.
  • Global Leadership - Amy Wang, AEM technology & safety manager – China, provided an overview of the Chinese agricultural machinery market as well as the progress updates on other efforts underway by the AEM China office, including lobbying successes for the China non-road tier 4 emissions regulation, assistance on agricultural machine purchase subsidies and guidance on the enterprise standard.  
  • Arnold Huerta, AEM director of Latin America statistics, shared the positive progress of the Latin America agricultural statistics program, with 22 products launched in the past two years. Huerta noted the future steps to improve and expand development of the program in the region, including a recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Argentine Manufacturers Association of Tractors, Agricultural Implements, Highway, Mining, Industrial, and Engines, of Buenos Aires, Argentina (AFAT).
  • AEM Senior Director of Ag Services, Anita Sennett provided an update on the Agrievolution Statistics Program, highlighting the index data that is now available to Alliance associations and their member companies. In addition, Sennett shared details on the upcoming Seventh World Summit on Agriculture Machinery in Spain in September 2019.
  • Curt Blades provided a brief update on the current activities of AEF, as well as AEF Steering Committee-approved directives and priority initiatives for 2018 and beyond. AEM is a founding member of AEF, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in September.
  • Ag Data, Telematics & Machine Digitization - Curt Blades updated the board on behalf of the Data Task Force, highlighting the slow adoption of ISOBUS standards in North America, the manufacturer commitment needed to adopt a universal standard and the importance of growing the number of certified products in the Ag Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) database. The board recommended relaunching the Data Task Force with participation from engineers at member companies with the intent of exploring global standards for wireless communication and machine connectivity.
  • Workforce Development – Anita Sennett shared a progress update on AEM’s comprehensive Workforce Development plan to support both ag and construction and help members effectively manage workforce challenges. The plan includes a best practices webinar series, a member workforce development toolkit, teacher scholarships, advocacy support on the federal and state level, and more. In 2018 the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (C.A.S.E.) teacher Scholarship program awarded scholarships to 32 educators, connected manufacturers and dealers with scholarship recipients, and expects to reach 2,100 students during the 2018-2019 school year. The board made a commitment to support the C.A.S.E. Ag Scholarship program through 2020, including a 10-percent increase in scholarships.
  • AEM Membership – Curt Blades also shared an overview of AEM membership renewals and engagement for 2018. He encouraged members to participate in the seven Thinking Forward events scheduled in 2018, offering members the opportunity to learn about new technologies and network with industry peers throughout the year.

The next meetings of the AEM Board and Sector Boards will be held Nov.29-30, 2018 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California in conjunction with the AEM Annual Conference. For more information about the Ag Sector Board, please contact AEM’s Curt Blades (cblades@aem.org; tel: 414-298-4112).

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