Ag Sector MeetingA round of applause kicked off and closed the AEM Ag Sector Board Meeting, held on Tuesday, July 18 at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the group welcomed incoming senior vice president of ag services, Curt Blades, and thanked Charlie O’Brien for his service and dedication to advancing agriculture at AEM.

“We had a very productive Ag Sector Board Meeting,” said AEM Ag Chair John Lagemann of Deere & Company. “If you think of the core tenets that we’re concentrating on as a sector board, things like advocacy, statistics, exhibitions, data standards, and the overall opportunity to make ag a more impactful piece of AEM in general, we made progress on most of those tenants.”

“We had a lively discussion on exhibitions, regarding our partnerships with Commodity Classic and National Farm Machinery Show.”

“A very strong, focused discussion also took place on workforce development. There was a lot of interest in promoting curriculum around ag power and technology at the high school level, as well as offering a scholarship program to support teacher certification in this area.”

During the meeting, the Ag Sector Board:

  • Examined the exhibitions opportunities available with Commodity Classic and National Farm Machinery Show, how AEM can have a positive influence on the shows, and where AEM can raise the value of the shows for participating members.  
  • Heard updates on federal legislation including the renewable fuel standard, rural wireless, the Farm Bill, and automatic milking regulations, as well as AEM’s ongoing engagement with the EPA from AEM Senior Director of Government and Industry Relations Nick Tindall. In addition, AEM Senior Vice President Nick Yaksich and AEM Director of State Government and Industry Relations Stephanie See told members that the Right to Repair legislation that was being considered in 11 states has failed.  AEM is working on an approach and is developing a memorandum of understanding allowing significant industry groups to agree on market-based solutions.
  • Listened to a report on the status of the Latin America Regional Ag Statistics Program from AEM Vice President of Business Intelligence Larry Buzecky. On top of the 17 ag product programs already launched in Latin America, Buzecky was optimistic about the opportunity to launch additional programs.
  • Discussed the importance of workforce development for the industry and heard a recommendation from the task force presented by AEM Senior Director of Agriculture Services Anita Sennett and Mark Core of Vermeer Corporation. Actionable areas for AEM included the development of a toolbox with best practices and resources, as well as equipment specific ag curricula scholarships. Members were enthusiastic about the potential to certify more high school teachers in ag power and technology, especially since the curriculum already exists.
  • Reviewed the progress of the data committee relative to AEM’s role in machine data and standards harmonization for the ag industry. As a next step, the committee plans to collaborate with the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association on a survey of their members regarding in-field equipment usage and what technology producers value most.
  • Other updates included AEM’s role with Agrievolution Alliance, key achievements of the five ag leadership groups, and an overview of AEM’s thought leadership initiative.

“I’m most optimistic about the continued momentum on what is important from an ag industry perspective as it relates to AEM. The way to do that is to become more relevant in ag exhibitions and industry advocacy. We’re making strides on our strategic plan and I feel good about that,” Lagemann concluded.

The next ag sector board meeting will take place at the AEM Annual Conference, held November 1-3 at the The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.

For more information about the Ag Sector Board, please contact Charlie O’Brien (, tel: 414-298-4157).