Following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) discussed the state of the industry and its top policy priorities ahead of the mid-election -mandate in 2022.
AEM is the North America-based international trade group that represents more than 1,000 manufacturers and suppliers of off-road equipment in the agriculture and construction industries.
“As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and work towards a new normal, we must ensure lawmakers continue to prioritize policies that will help our industry fully recover from the effects of the pandemic that will last. long time. 2022 and beyond,” says Megan Tanel, President of AEM. “This includes working with the Biden administration to ensure that the implementation of the bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Act recognizes the important role that equipment manufacturers can and will have in the process.”
WEA Policy Challenges
The bipartisan federal infrastructure bill was signed into law in November and earmarks more than $1 trillion for transportation, broadband, utilities, roads and railroads. Tanel says more than 30 policy recommendations from AEM “Rebuilding with Purpose” Report were part of the bill, and many more could be adopted as part of the implementation process.
“One thing the past two years has made clear to all of us is the critical importance of our food supply and the rural communities that have overwhelmingly supported investment in those communities,” said Robert Crain, senior vice president and director. general of AGCO North America. . “It is imperative to ensure a strong food supply and to keep our economy and equipment manufacturers strong. Many of our industries depend on a strong agricultural economy.
One of the best ways to support these economies is to provide economic certainty and a safety net for farmers, such as the federal crop insurance program and the creation of markets for biofuels, according to AEM. WEA urges Congress and the Biden administration to support free and fair trade practices that allow farmers to sell their produce in new markets.
The trade group is also calling for greater federal investment in preparing skilled workers and sustainable jobs for its represented sectors. AEM strongly supports Biden’s initiative to expand the Pell Grant and attract more students to technical and community colleges. It also supports the creation of a modernized apprenticeship system to streamline interstate exchange and US Department of Labor-approved programs.
Finally, AEM called for the reauthorization and expansion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to help workers overcome challenges such as child care, transportation costs and acquiring new skills and qualifications for better jobs.
War in Ukraine and energy
While AEM is unsure of the impact of the war in Ukraine on its represented manufacturing industries, Tanel called on the Biden administration to provide bipartisan solutions to potential crises facing the United States.
In the wake of rising energy costs due to dependence on Russian oil supplies and a stalled Build Back Better bill, Crain says he is possible that an energy package will come out of Congress. This could lead to less dependence on foreign energy and more emphasis on biofuels and energy produced in North America.
“A clean and healthy environment is essential to current and long-term economic prosperity,” says Tanel. “We support policies that build on America’s strengths, technology and energy diversity. We definitely encourage investment and innovation in our country’s energy sector, preserving the quality of the environment for this generation and generations to come.
COVID-19 recovery and supply chain
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for AEM’s relationship with lawmakers, with the need for policies reinforcing the essentiality of the 2.8 million people in the industry and providing relief to manufacturers. equipment during the global supply chain crisis.
Crain says AEM is optimistic about the COVID retreat and supply chain improvements, citing AEM’s latest farm equipment report which showed modest gains after strong growth in 2021.
“While there are developing issues that could impact our industry, we are optimistic that the retreat from COVID-19 will mean a greater return to normal – at last – on our farms, in our factories and in our communities. our homes,” says Crain.
by Purdue Agricultural economy barometer for March shows growing feelings about future conditions, even in the face of higher production costs. Additionally, the Institute of Supply Management manufacturing report in february found moderate to strong growth in the six largest manufacturing industries.
“We will no doubt still face challenges in the months ahead, but we are cautiously optimistic that 2022 will see improvements in most areas,” Crain says. “Most of our member companies are also forecasting sales growth and even increased margins in 2022.”