SummitKondex President and CEO Jim Wessing joined several U.S. senators to talk about the importance of policies to support farm equipment manufacturers at the Senate Democratic Rural Summit on Wednesday.

The marquee event was organized by the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee headed by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and it featured keynote remarks from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

“The same thing Roosevelt did for electricity, we’ll do for broadband,” Schumer pledged.

The session featured remarks from 14 senators, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and AOL Co-founder Steve Case about a variety of rural issues, ranging from the next farm bill to rural broadband development and infrastructure.

Wessing joined a panel about small businesses alongside Baldwin, Montana Sen. Jon Tester, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkely. Lisa Mensah, a former USDA undersecretary of rural development, served as moderator.

“For manufacturers of agricultural equipment, our fortunes depend very much on the strength of the rural economy,” Wessing said, emphasizing the need for infrastructure investments, a robust farm bill, comprehensive tax reform and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, meanwhile said she was working with her GOP counterparts to quickly advance a bipartisan farm bill in 2018.

“We have defined this as a partisan-free zone,” she said of her work with the committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts.

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