VilsackUnited States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack met with more than two dozen equipment manufacturing executives and AEM senior staff to discuss how equipment manufacturers can help advance a rural economic development strategy that supports farmers and ranchers, strengthens communities, and provides young people with more options to live, work, and raise the next generation in rural America.

During the Dec. 14 meeting, Secretary Vilsack spoke about the work his agency is doing to strengthen the American food system, address our nation’s skilled workforce challenges, and how the agricultural sector has an important role to play in helping to end hunger and poverty, face the challenges of climate change head on, and build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems.

“During the pandemic, we found that we need those people who work with their hands just as much as we need those who work with their brains,” said Vilsack. “It doesn’t necessarily require a four-year college degree to have a successful life in this country. We need to significantly increase the capacity and ability for individuals to get the career training and experience they need by making it easier to access those resources and education.”

AEM President Dennis Slater emphasized the equipment manufacturing industry’s efforts to further precision agriculture, support America’s hardworking farmers, ranchers, and growers, and jumpstart the U.S. economy.

“Equipment manufacturers not only make infrastructure possible, but we also depend on it for safe, reliable, and efficient infrastructure to compete in the global marketplace,” said Slater. “We are delighted to have worked closely with the Biden Harris Administration and our allies on Capitol Hill to help get the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) across the finish line and continue that work as we turn our attention to supporting the implementation of the bill.”

AEM Chair Robert Crain highlighted our industry’s dedication to sustainability, touching on AEM’s recent precision agriculture study and our work to build support for the technology on Capitol Hill. “We know that sustainability is an important focus for you and the department, and it’s also very important for our industry as well,” Crain said. “AEM was pleased to release a study earlier this year that outlines the environmental benefits of precision agriculture technology. The study shows substantial gains can be realized through the increased adoption of technologies that will help our producers and farmers reduce their environmental footprint to help them to lower their cost and help them to improve their productivity. And through our work with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on the Precision Agriculture Loan Act, equipment manufacturers are committed to helping the Administration meet its sustainability goals.”

AEM looks forward to continue working with Secretary Vilsack and the United States Department of Agriculture to strengthen American manufacturing and innovation, rebuild and modernize our infrastructure, create more family sustaining jobs, and advance our shared policy priorities.

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