Fresh off a partnership announcement with the National Farm Machinery Show and a successful Commodity Classic 2017, AEM's AG Sector Board had already made significant progress for the year when the group met on Tuesday, March 21 in Washington, D.C.
Avenues for AEM to further enhance its leadership role in the Ag sector are coming to fruition, as the association continued to fortify its relationship with Commodity Classic, America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced in conjunction with the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and National Sorghum Producers.
Announced in February and beginning with the 2018 show, AEM will also assist with management and co-production of the National Farm Machinery Show, and have an equity position in the future growth of the show.
“AEM will play a significant role in both of these forums,” said AG Chair John Lagemann of Deere & Company. “Each show provides a different opportunity and attendee base, as well as the ability for AEM to create a better environment for exhibitors, raise the bar when it comes to quality, and grow the shows.”
National & State-Level Advocacy
With a new administration in town, it is more important than ever to be aggressive on advocacy and engaged at the state and national level. Nick Tindall, AEM senior director, government and industry relations, and Stephanie See, AEM director, state government and industry relations, briefed sector board members on Ag policy priorities for 2017.
- Farm Bill: Between border security, healthcare, and tax reform, the Farm Bill won’t see much discussion in 2017. Nevertheless, as the battle between urban and rural funding intensifies, AEM will work to showcase the impact farm programs have beyond the farm gate and how a strong ag economy benefits manufacturing.
- Rural Wireless: Talk of connecting rural America over the past 20-30 years has been limited to running hard lines to hospitals and schools. When Federal Communications Commission officials look at a map they still see a soybean field as a desert, not an area of economic profit. AEM will continue to push for rural broadband to ensure the needs of production ag are considered.
- EPA Engagement: With the Trump administration calling for a 33 percent budget cut to the EPA, now is the time for continued positive engagement with the EPA to ensure long-term success. From a planter and seeder demo day to joint research opportunities, AEM is actively leading conversations regarding spray drift reduction effectiveness and the steps the industry is taking to protect the environment.
- Renewable Fuel Standard: Besides creating demand to boost commodity prices, renewable fuels supports over 28,000 full-time manufacturing jobs per year across the U.S. AEM will continue to work with Fuels America during this crucial time to lobby the new administration. To maintain AEM’s seat on the Fuels America board and improve industry diversity, the AEM sector board motioned for a $200,000 investment from the AEM reserve fund plus a $50,000 member match.
- Right-to-Repair: Ag equipment manufacturers were not the direct target of right-to-repair legislation, but are getting caught up in the mix. With the issue gaining momentum in several states, AEM is seeking options for a resolution with customers, dealers and manufacturers without enacting legislation.
Other Actions: Statistics
A three-year strategic plan for statistics programs is under development and is set to implement in the third quarter of 2017. Regional statistics programs were recently launched in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and other Latin American countries. AEM’s Vice President of Business Intelligence and Strategy Larry Buzecky said reporting of machine shipments needs to be fully stable before the programs will launch retail-level reporting in the region. Recruitment efforts for new participants will take place through attendance at key Latin American events and trade shows throughout the year.
In addition, as of January 1, 2017 AEM has assumed the role of statistics secretariat on behalf of the Agrievolution Alliance. The program currently covers four products: tractors, combines, forage harvesters and balers. The program may be expanded to include additional product categories. By leveraging AEM’s leadership role as statistics secretariat, AEM is in a strong position to harmonize all Ag statistics data globally.
New Directors Join
In addition, the AG Sector Board welcomed three new directors:
- Grant Adolph, COO, Buhler Industries Inc.
- Richard Fox-Marrs, president, JCB Agriculture, JCB Inc.
- Bret Lieberman, VP North America, New Holland Agriculture
For more information on the activities of the AG Sector Board, contact Charlie O’Brien, AEM senior vice president (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 414-298-4157).