U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee got a first-hand look at Ag equipment and the issues that affect farm equipment manufacturers at Farm Progress Show 2017.
Perdue joined Congressman Mike Conaway, the Ag committee chairman, and a delegation of additional members of Congress from that committee for a tour of the show organized by AEM.
AGCO Vice President and Ag Sector Board Director Bill Hurley welcomed Perdue, Conaway and the rest of the delegation for a demonstration of AGCO’s products and the company’s main exhibit area.
Secretary Perdue enjoyed a ride on an AGCO-made Massey-Ferguson tractor, while Conaway enjoyed a tour of AGCO’s newest sprayers. The ridealongs offered a chance for Hurley and AEM leaders to highlight the technology driving modern farm equipment, including the kinds of interconnectivity that drive the need for expanded broadband access across cropland in rural America.
Perdue and Conaway will be instrumental figures in writing the next Farm Bill, which is due for consideration in 2018. In addition to expanding rural broadband access, AEM is actively working to protect and expand programs that are vital to the farm economy, including a robust crop insurance system. A report released earlier this year by AEM found that the Ag equipment manufacturing sector supports about 320,000 jobs across the United States, and that the biggest factor driving growth for the sector is farm incomes.
Hurley had an additional opportunity to highlight the importance of the Farm Bill to Ag equipment manufacturers during the delegation’s visit to AGCO’s main exhibit area, which showcased additional modern farm technologies. AEM Senior Vice President Nick Yaksich and Senior Director Nick Tindall additionally visited with Secretary Perdue about the importance of trade to the farm economy, especially as the Trump administration renegotiates NAFTA and works to restore the Export-Import Bank to full functionality.
The Farm Progress tour was also an opportunity to showcase the I Make America program, and the broad grassroots support across the equipment manufacturing industry for pro-farm policies that support jobs across the industry.
Members of the House Agriculture Committee, led by Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, also hosted a listening session at the Farm Progress Show to elicit the broader agricultural community’s priorities for writing the next Farm Bill.