Ag industry leadership, sustainability and customer connections drove discussions at the most recent meeting of AEM’s Ag Sector Board.

The Board met via teleconference on Tuesday, Aug. 4 and covered a full agenda, one which focused on advocacy, regulatory and ag policy, education and events, as well as COVID-19 and its impact on the association’s 1,000-plus members.

AEM Ag Sector Board Vice Chair Todd Stucke of Kubota Tractor Corporation called the meeting into order and asked for approval of the minutes from the March Ag Sector Board Meeting.

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

AEM’s Ag Leadership Role

National Ag Day – AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Ag Policy Nick Tindall discussed proposed plans to celebrate National Ag Day by taking over Washington DC’s National Mall in March of 2021. National Ag Day serves as an opportunity for the industry to celebrate ag and demonstrate the incredible level of technology that is on today's farm to those who make policies affecting agriculture.

Precision Ag Research – Ag Sector Board member Daryl Matthews of Trimble provided details on AEM's Environmental Benefits of Precision Ag study. The Board then discussed the summarized findings and feedback was provided regarding the research results and how they can be used to educate lawmakers and consumers.

Sustainability Council – The Board also heard from AEM Senior Vice President of Ag Services Curt Blades on the launch of the association’s Sustainability Council. The group examined the seven key sustainable goals: Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Responsible, Consumption and Production, and Climate Action. The Board then discussed how they will advance these goals.

Partner Associations – Curt Blades led the Board through the current list of partner organizations with a discussion on priorities and future direction.

Customer Connections

Ag Trade Shows – The Board engaged in a discussion on the outlook for farm shows in the near term and how they are expected to evolve in the long term. Curt Blades and AEM Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and Marketing Nicole Hallada also led a discussion with Board members regarding what their needs are as they relate to customer connections and how AEM can help meet them.

Commodity Classic – AEM Director of Ag & Utility Exhibitions and Events John Rozum spoke on the association’s efforts to grow its positive influence on Commodity Classic and various other customer connection activities. The Board also heard about plans to hold the twice-annual AEF Plugfest events at Commodity Classic in 2021.

Advocacy

AEM Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Kip Eideberg provided an update on COVID-19 and what the AEM Advocacy team is doing to support member companies make sure our industry’s policy priories are addressed in Washington and state capitals, as well as Canada. He provided an overview of the COVID-19 relief packages to date and the latest developments on a possible fifth stimulus bill currently being negotiated by Congress and the Trump Administration. AEM Senior Director of Government Relations Kate Fox Wood expanded on the latest developments of the next relief package and how it could impact our industry and our members companies. She also addressed the politics of the current negotiations. The Board also received a briefing from AEM Director of State Government and Industry Relations on latest efforts related to Right to Repair.

Other Business

The Board also heard from a pair of guest speakers – Former President and CEO of CropLife America Jay Vroom and Executive VP of Trust in Food Amy Skoczlas Cole – who provided a brief overview of Trust in Food and America’s Conservation Ag.

Prior to the meeting, the Ag Sector 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:

  • Advocacy
  • Regulatory & Ag Policy
  • Ag Leadership Groups
  • AEF
  • Ag Technology Leadership Group
  • Workforce Development
  • Statistics
  • Membership (MEST)
  • Agrievolution Alliance
  • Global Agriculture Indexes & Business Barometer
  • Ag Communications & Public Relations
  • Technical & Safety Services
  • Component Members Executive Committee
  • Service Members Executive Committee
  • Education & Events

The next meetings of the AEM Board and Sector Boards are scheduled for Nov. 18-19 as part of the Annual Conference at the Meritage Resort in Napa, California. For more information about AEM’s Ag Sector Board, please contact Curt Blades at cblades@aem.org.

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