Ag Sector BoardAEM’s Ag Sector Board met in-person and via teleconference on Thursday, Aug. 5 at AEM’s offices in Milwaukee to discuss progress on the association’s 2021 priorities and share member company updates from various AEM staff members related to association service areas, including market share statistics, advocacy, workforce solutions and others.

AEM Ag Sector Board Chair Todd Stucke of Kubota Tractor Corporation called the meeting into order, noting his appreciation for the opportunity to once again meet in-person as an Ag Sector Board and expressing his thanks for all AEM did to support its members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

After seeking and receiving approval of the minutes from the March 23 Ag Sector Board Meeting, Stucke and the Board approved Casey Niemann from AgriSync as the newest member of the Ag Sector Board.

During the meeting, the Board covered the following:

2021 Ag Sector Priorities

During its March 23 meeting, the Board reviewed and approved its priorities for the year, which are:

  • Maintain and grow AEM’s global ag leadership position
  • Advocate for the ag equipment industry with policymakers and regulators
  • Strengthen and grow AEM’s ag member business

It was noted that as these priorities are communicated to the broader public, attention needs to be given in sharing how all of the priorities are in support and in parallel with the ag industry.

Market Share Statistics

AEM Vice President of Business Intelligence Larry Buzecky and Senior Director of Statistics Mike Lietke provided a comprehensive summary related to efforts to update and further develop AEM’s statistics program in order to continue to meet the needs of members and the industry at-large. Following a lengthy discussion, it was determined to table the issue of market share statistics expansion until the November 2021 meeting to allow for a specific, merit-based recommendation to be brought forward by AEM staff.

Commodity Classic

AEM Director of Ag Events John Rozum shared details regarding the 2022 Commodity Classic scheduled for March 10-12, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana. AEM continues to expand its relationship with the show, and the goal moving forward is to attract and recruit younger attendees to Commodity Classic in the future. In addition, Rozum noted the 2022 edition of Commodity Classic will see the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) bring the North American Plugfest to be co-located at the show, providing a uniquely valuable opportunity to further showcase AEM’s efforts to better establish interoperability.

Workforce Solutions

AEM Senior Director of Workforce Development Julie Davis provided an overview of the association’s workforce toolkit, assessment resources available for AEM member companies, and some details regarding toolkit engagement on the part of AEM member company HR leaders. Davis also reinforced the ongoing hiring challenges AEM members are facing and the efforts she is working on to support those challenges and help members find key talent for growth.

Engine Emissions and Alternative Power

AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Ag Policy Nick Tindall summarized work being done by the association’s Regulatory Affairs Working Group, which continues to discuss multiple topics, one being an effective strategy to engage with engine emissions. These strategic discussions led to the formation of the Engine Emissions Strategy Task Force to develop a strategy related to engine emissions to understand how future regulations may impact the industry. AEM Senior Director of Utility John Somers then discussed the recent meeting where the task force objectives were established. In addition, Somers shared an update on the Alternative Power Technical Committee, which has been formed to address the more technical side of alternative power sources.

Equipment Interoperability and ISOBUS

At the March 23 meeting of the Ag Sector Board Meeting, Ag Technology Leadership Group Chair Darryl Matthews of Trimble and AEM Senior Director of Ag Services Anita Sennett were challenged to focus the efforts of the committee to determine what steps are needed in area of interoperability.

The group returned with significant progress including agreed upon definitions for interoperability, a SWOT analysis for ISOBUS, and recommendations to the Board:

  • Interoperability: Basic ability of different computerized sensors or control systems to readily connect and exchange information with one another, in either implementation or access, without restriction
  • On board Interoperability (includes short-range communication): Exchange of interaction between connected devices physically working on the same task such as tractor/implement or machine/machine (even if communication is wireless).
  • Off board Interoperability (includes working groups and long-range communication):
    • Moving prescriptions, field boundaries, field maps, guidance lines from office/handheld/tablet to machine/tractor/implement to complete the task
    • After completing the task, moving as applied data from the machine to the cloud to connect with an ERP system for billing, an FMIS which holds all field records, or to a system that validates the application
    • Machine to infrastructure (on road vehicles)

Government and Public Affairs

AEM Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations Kip Eideberg, AEM Director of State Government and Industry Relations Stephanie See, and Senior Director of Government Relations Kate Fox Wood provided the CE Board with an update on select state and federal advocacy efforts in support of our industry.

Fox Wood provided an overview of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and highlighted the work done by the AEM Advocacy Team to build support for the bill among lawmakers in the House and spearhead a growing coalition of industry groups. Eideberg discussed the recent release of a new report by IHS Markit that shows that infrastructure investment will create 100,000 equipment manufacturing jobs.

See spoke about the association’s ongoing advocacy efforts against illegal tampering and its success in defeating all “right to repair” bills introduced at the state level this year. She also discussed President Biden’s recent Executive Order and the steps AEM is taking to engage with the White House and the Federal Trade Commission to highlight the many unintended consequence that the Executive Order will have for equipment manufacturers. Fox Wood also outlined how the association is rallying industry partners and stakeholders against efforts at the federal level to pass so-called  “right to repair” legislation.

Eideberg gave an update on the I Make America campaign and stressed the importance of grassroots advocacy to the success of the association’s overall state and federal advocacy efforts. He issued a call to action for all AEM member companies to mobilize their employees in support of the association’s grassroots efforts, including passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Finally, he outlined the creation of a new award for members of Congress who vote consistently with equipment manufacturers on the association’s policy priorities and who have established a strong record of support for the industry during their time in Congress.

Guest Speaker -- Ted McKinney

During the meeting, the Board heard from Former USDA Undersecretary for Agricultural Trade and Foreign Affairs -- Ted McKinney, who provided a comprehensive update on the European Union Farm to Fork initiative, UN Food Systems Summit and additional global issues in food production.

Consent Agenda

Prior to the meeting, the Board received reports on each of the following AEM services and activities detailing the latest updates and actions led by association staff. The services and activities updated included:

Ag Sector

  • Ag Leadership Groups
  • Agrievolution

Joint Sector Services

  • Business Intelligence
  • Market Share Statistics
  • Membership
  • Safety & Product Leadership
  • Workforce Solutions
  • Advocacy
  • Regulatory Affairs

Joint Sector Committees

  • Component Members Executive Committee
  • Service Members Executive Committee
  • Aftermarket Support Committee
  • Sustainability Council
  • Futures Council

The next meetings of AEM's Board of Directors and CE and AEM’s Ag Sector Boards are scheduled for Nov. 11 as part of the AEM Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information about AEM’s Ag Sector Board, contact Curt Blades at cblades@aem.org.

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