NFMS panel discussion

As part of its Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative, AEM brought together agriculture sector stakeholders at the National Farm Machinery Show to discuss the principal challenges and opportunities facing U.S. infrastructure and the projected impact the current and future state of the system will have on the agriculture economy.

The event featured opening remarks from 2017 AEM Chair and Gradall Industries President Mike Haberman, as well as keynote remarks by the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. Commissioner Quarles reminded the audience to “make sure that infrastructure ranks at the very top of all other agriculture policy priorities.”

This Week in Agribusiness co-host Max Armstrong moderated a panel that included CLAAS Global Sales Americas President Leif Magnusson, Vermeer Corporation President and CEO Jason Andringa, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, and Indiana University Senior Policy Analyst Jamie Palmer.

 Among the broader themes discussed was the critical importance of the entire multimodal infrastructure network to the movement of agriculture products and the need to consider the entire system, including ports, waterways, locks and dams. The panelists agreed that a solutions-oriented approach is the next step forward in adapting U.S. infrastructure to the needs of the evolving agriculture economy.

The keynote address and the panel discussion both touched on the renewed focus on U.S. infrastructure and how President Trump’s promise to rebuild U.S. infrastructure could pave the way for a massive rebuilding package in the first year of the new administration. In discussing the need for strong Congressional leadership on infrastructure investment, Leif Magnusson stressed that “the United States needs to maintain its infrastructure advantage in order to stay competitive in the global economy.”

The conversation also focused on how the manufacturing industry and the broader agriculture sector can engage with local, state and federal lawmakers on smart infrastructure policy; such as establishing sustainable funding mechanisms and ensuring that rural communities in the United States have access to reliable and efficient broadband services.

The event was a follow-up to AEM’s Rural Infrastructure Summit held at Iowa State University last August. The Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative will continue to focus on the link between the agriculture economy and the future of U.S. infrastructure next month with AEM’s participation in the Agri-Pulse Farm Bill Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 20.

AEM members interested in attending the summit should contact Infrastructure Vision 2050 Campaign Director Kate Fox Wood at, (202) 898-9066, for ticketing information.