Customer connections, statistics and advocacy drove the most discussion among board members at the AEM Ag Sector Board Meeting held on Thursday, November 2 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.

During the meeting, the Ag Sector Board:

  • Received an update on AEM’s involvement and future agreements with the Commodity Classic joint venture. Reviewed AEM’s withdrawal from the proposed collaborative venture with the Kentucky State Fair Board for National Farm Machinery Show. A customer connection task force was established to explore how AEM could further foster meaningful connections with customers and stakeholders and provide positive ROI for members participating in efforts.
  • Listened to a report from Larry Buzecky, AEM vice president, business intelligence, on the current performance metrics of the statistics program, including the percentage of member involvement, overall growth in the number of statistics programs offered, as well as underscoring the value of statistics participation.
  • Heard updates on key ag legislative priorities and actions including the Farm Bill, tax reform and rural broadband from AEM Senior Director of Government and Industry Relations Nick Tindall and AEM Vice President, Public Affairs & Advocacy Kip Eideberg. In addition, AEM Senior Vice President Nick Yaksich gave members an update on the North Dakota lawsuit and Right to Repair legislation. The board agreed to AEM engaging in a campaign to proactively communicate manufacturer's position on this issue and to support the “right to repair, not modify.”
  • Had a motion to approve the following priorities for focus in 2018:
    • Additional customer connections in ag industry.
    • Ag and rural-specific initiatives for workforce development.
    • Further coordination of agriculture organizations to create unified message.
    • Proactively address Right to Repair issue with various stakeholders and policy makers.
    • Continue efforts to foster positive dealer and manufacturer relationships.

Other updates included AEM’s role with Agrievolution Alliance and next steps for the workforce development plan.

The next meetings of the AEM Board and Sector Boards will be held March 13-14, 2018 in Washington, D.C.For more information about the Ag Sector Board, please contact Curt Blades (cblades@aem.org; tel: 414-298-4112)

Opportunities and Challenges on the Horizon

What opportunities and challenges will affect agriculture markets in 2018? AEM Ag Chair John Lagemann of Deere & Company provided a synopsis of the current situation and his outlook for 2018.

“Agriculture is a cyclical business and we’ve been through a pretty tough cycle the last three or four years,” said Lagemann. “We’re seeing some signs of recovery. The U.S. Farm income is expected to be up in 2017 for the first time in four years. The livestock sector has really been a tough market and is showing some signs of recovery. Without painting false optimism, we do think these are signs that the overall industry is turning around.”

The U.S. and global economies will have a major impact on the level of success the agriculture sector can realize. “It’s important to understand the importance of the general economy to agriculture. A vibrant global economy helps provide demand for agricultural products. We would like to see the global economy continue to improve and any disruption to that could be a concern for agriculture. In addition, there are some domestic issues on the horizon, like NAFTA, that we are quite concerned about and are watching very closely. Anything that disrupts the demand cycle for agriculture can have serious implications.” 

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