AEM’s AG Sector Board took steps to further engage on industry efforts aimed at standardizing ag electronics when it met on July 21 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Following an update by Peter van de Vlugt, chair of the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), the AG Sector Board indicated an interest in creating a subcommittee that would work with representatives of the German machinery association, VDMA, to cohesively provide input and guidance on AEF activities as needed.

AEM and VDMA founded AEF in 2008 along with agricultural technology companies AGCO, CLAAS, CNH, Grimme, John Deere, Kverneland Group and Poettinger. SAME DEUTZ-FAHR joined the leadership of AEF as its eighth core member in 2013. The group is well-known for its biennial Plugfests in Europe and the U.S.

Renewable Fuel Standard Support

In other action, the sector board expressed a desire to further AEM’s work with Fuels America following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of their proposed blend levels under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Nick Tindall, AEM director of government affairs, said the EPA proposal lowers the corn-ethanol mandate by 3.75 billion gallons and represents a step backward for advanced ethanol production. He said AEM plans to file comments, due July 27, on this flawed proposal and will continue to work with the Fuels America coalition to utilize every avenue to protect the RFS.

Spray Drift Mitigation Efforts

The AG Sector Board also reviewed plans to have EPA representatives meet with members of AEM’s Sprayer Leadership Group concerning the EPA’s recently established Drift Reduction Technology Registry.

AEM is arranging to have EPA representatives tour the booths of sprayer manufacturers and attend the Sprayer Leadership Group meeting during the Farm Progress Show in early September. Tindall noted that this engagement will give industry an opportunity to highlight extensive efforts to control spray drift without the need for increased government oversight.

Open Forum Looks at Emerging Issues

In the open forum portion of the meeting, sector board members expressed concerns on a number of emerging issues:

  • Labor shortages and costs from field to supply chain.
  • Technology that is advancing faster than dealers can deploy and support it.
  • Foreign exchange rates that are holding back sales overseas.
  • Challenges managing a millennial workforce.
  • Potential state laws on data management restricting the delivery of technology.

For more information on the activities of the AG Sector Board, contact Charlie O’Brien, AEM senior vice president (cobrien@aem.org, tel: 414-298-4157).

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