Ag BoardAdvocacy and industry perceptions took center stage at the Ag Sector Board Meeting held on November 19 at the JW Marriott in Marco Island, Florida in conjunction with the AEM Annual Conference.

Ag Sector Board Chair Jerry Johnson, president, Farm, Ranch & Agriculture Division, Blount International, opened the meeting by welcoming Brett Davis of New Holland North America and thanking Dale Szuminski of Alo North America for his service on the Board.

“We made significant progress on the strategic goals we put forth at the beginning of the year, but we’re not done yet,” said Johnson. “From technology to politics to workforce development, we have another ambitious set of priorities to tackle in 2020.”

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

Programs & Services Updates

Legislative & Regulatory  AEM Senior Vice President Kip Eideberg, AEM Director of State Government and Industry Relations Stephanie See and AEM Director of Government Relations Alex Russ delivered updates on AEM’s ongoing state and Canadian advocacy efforts on Right to Repair, as well as the public affairs campaign that is underway refuting the need for the legislation.

In addition, See and Eideberg updated the board on current activities by AEM and partnering organizations on engine performance chipping issues.

The team also provided a status report on international trade, Renewable Fuel Standards and rural broadband.

Workforce Development – Anita Sennett, senior director, agriculture and Julie Davis, director, workforce development provided an update on the activities at the National FFA Convention.

At the convention, AEM was recognized for 50 years of support of the National FFA Organization. Other activities during the week included AEM’s sponsorship of the FFA Blue Room, meeting with Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (C.A.S.E.) teacher scholarship recipients, a member-alumni reception and continued progress on memorandum of understanding between the two groups.

Topical Issue: Ag Industry Perceptions

Board members voiced their strong concern over perceptions of the agriculture and equipment manufacturing industries. While the ag sector has a history of working to tackle the image of the industry, continued time and resources are needed to see marked improvement. Blades led a discussion on the various industry groups AEM has supported in the past and considerations for who to partner with in the future.

Strategic Goals and Priorities

2019 was an active year for AEM and the ag sector. The board reflected on accomplishments from 2019 and discussed their key priorities and anticipated issues needing attention in 2020. Priorities included:

  • Secure AEM’s leadership role in precision agriculture
  • Maintain and grow AEM’s global ag leadership position
  • Coordinate with various agriculture organizations for a unified message
  • Grow AEM’s positive influence on Commodity Classic and customer connections activities
  • Ensure market access for members’ products
  • Proactively address state and federal advocacy issues

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:

  • Market Intelligence & Statistics
  • Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF)
  • Ag Leadership Groups
  • Workforce Development
  • Technical & Safety
  • Regulatory
  • Membership
  • Customer Connections

The next meetings of the AEM Board and Sector Boards will be held March 24-25 in Washington, D.C. For more information about the Ag Sector Board, please contact Curt Blades cblades@aem.org.

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