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Vermont: Not an Example to Follow
As of this writing, the only thing standing between the Vermont legislature’s effort to interject its will on what language should be required in a private business agreement between manufacturers, distributors and independent dealers, is the lack of agreement between the House and the Senate on which version of bad legislation to send the governor.

The Vermont Legislature should rethink its further intrusion into private business and not rush a decision with so few days left in the 2016 session. Any proposal needs the proper time to be considered, and lawmakers should table this issue. (Click for More)

The status quo, while not ideal, will serve Vermont until voters of this state have their say in November. >>>

Purdue, CME to Take Monthly 'barometer' of Confidence
Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture and the derivatives marketplace CME Group are partnering to produce the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, a monthly nationwide measure of the health of the U.S. agricultural economy.

April survey results
The agricultural sentiment of U.S. producers increased to 106 in April 2016, which was an improvement in producer sentiment compared to the base period of October 2015 through March 2016. >>>

Congress Passes Legislation to Protect Trade Secrets
U.S. lawmakers recently passed legislation strengthening legal protection for companies’ trade secrets, including manufacturing processes.

The House voted 410-2 to approve the “Defend Trade Secrets Act.” The Senate unanimously passed the measure earlier in April. >>>

Federal Income Taxes: A Nod to the 1 Percent
An estimated 45.3 percent of American households—roughly 77.5 million households—pay no federal individual income tax, according to data for the 2015 tax year and the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based research group.

Taking a broader look, the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans pay the most in income taxes, paying nearly 87 percent of all the income tax collected by Uncle Sam. in 2014, the top 20 percent earned an average of $134,300 a year. >>>

Cyber Attacks on Small Businesses Grow
More than ever before, cyber crooks are targeting small businesses, according to law enforcement and cybersecurity experts. Mom-and-pop businesses are getting hit, and it’s pushing many entrepreneurs to the verge of bankruptcy. >>>

Farm Data Vulnerable Too
The FBI and USDA say criminals may steal farm-level data in bulk to track, even anticipate, crop availability and pricing. The data may also be vulnerable to ransomware or “hacktivists,” individuals who destroy data to protest, for example, the use of GMOs. >>>

Spending Surges On Digital Ads
Digital advertising revenue surged in the U.S. to a record-breaking $59.6 billion in 2015, a 20 percent increase over last year’s record-breaking numbers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said in a report prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Advertising on mobile devices drove the surge, growing by 66 percent to $20.7 billion in revenue. Social media ad revenue grew by 55 percent to $10.9 billion. >>>

Ag Innovator: New Issue, Engaged Audience
This is the Association’s sixth year of publishing the magazine, and with each issue, the publication more firmly establishes itself as a resource and valuable benefit of membership.

You likely recently received the Spring 2016 issue of Ag Innovator magazine. It includes insights into how to: >>>

Tariff Relief for Manufacturers Likely on the Way
The U.S. House easily passed legislation last week to help businesses seeking tariff relief. The bill is designed to comply with the congressional ban on earmarks.

The bipartisan Miscellaneous Tariff Bill legislation overhauls the process for reducing or eliminating tariffs on imported inputs and products not available in the U.S. or in short supply >>>

AGCO Releases Q1 Financials
AGCO announced last week its net sales for the first quarter of 2016 were $1.6 billion, a decrease of approximately 8.4 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Sales in North America were down by 11.6 percent. Sales in South America fell by 21.2 percent. AGCO reported a 19.4 percent gain in Asia/Pacific, and a 4.2 percent gain in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. >>>

Survey: Farm Equipment Sales Remain Weak
The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for April fell unexpectedly from March’s weak reading, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs.

After increasing for two straight months, the Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), which ranges between 0 and 100, sank to 38.2 from March’s 40.2. >>>

Dockworkers, Shippers Consider Extending Contract
Dockworkers and shipping companies at U.S. West Coast ports are officially considering extending the five-year contract they agreed to last year, according to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who met with the two groups in Los Angeles.

The parties have not agreed to an extension but rather agreed to consider it. Still, the news brings relief to manufacturers and retailers. >>>

Educational Achievements at S3
S3 Enterprises in Swift Current, Saskatchewan is celebrating the accomplishments of several employees who’ve recently completed professional training.

Through the Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant program and S3’s Employee Education Allowance, employees have pursued professional training at no personal cost. >>>

Dealer Sentiments: Sales Down, Inventores High
Farm equipment dealers tell Ag Equipment Intelligence and Cleveland Research Co. that sales are down and inventories are high. Take a look at highlights from the April report, which reflects dealer sentiments gathered during the last two weeks of March. >>>

Dealer News
Noteboom Implement and Hultgren Implement will merge on July 31.

BayWa Ag of Munich, Germany, and Claas, which is based in Harsewinkel, Germany, plan a cooperative venture in Canada >>>

Association Staff Changes
The Association bid farewell to Elaina Jackson in April. Jackson joined the Association staff in 2012 as director of membership. At the time, we counted just over 600 companies as active members. Through her outreach efforts, total membership grew year after year and reached just under 750 member companies. >>>

Professional Opportunities in the Industry
Account Manager (Job #116) Company seeks an individual to sell and market forged, formed and machined steel components.

Marketing Manager - Ag Equipment (Tractor/Implement) (Job #115) Looking for someone to promote and support all aspects of his or her assigned product lines, develop marketing strategies, train and support dealers, and gather, maintain, and communicate information about competitive products.

Test Engineer (Job #114) Executes field test plans, reports test outcomes, supports field test technicians, and follows up on field-related issues. >>>

Council Spotlight: Rotary Cutter
Association members have asked to learn more about the work of committees and councils. This submission from Jeff Welsch, chairman of the Rotary Cutter Council, is part of that information-sharing process.

Council AdThe Association’s Rotary Cutter Council includes manufacturers of rotary cutters and suppliers of rotary cutter components. The council meets every year at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Association’s Fall Convention.

The primary focus of the council is to >>>

Unverferth Exec Named Marketer of the Year
The National Agri-Marketing Association named Dan Fanger, vice president of sales and marketing at Unverferth, its 2016 Marketer of the Year. >>>

DOL Reportedly Lowers Proposed Overtime Threshold
The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to lower the salary threshold in its forthcoming final rule related to overtime pay. The new threshold, $47,000, would double the current threshold.

The overtime salary threshold is the level at which virtually all salaried employees who earn that amount or less qualify for time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. >>>

3-D Printing: Opportunity Takes Shape in Manufacturing
Start-up company Carbon3D developing a 3-D printing method that manufacturers, including Ford Motor Co., say shows greater promise than existing methods. It's expensive, so it's early uses may be in customized products like parts for airplanes.

But, a startup backed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google Ventures is developing a different 3-D printing method that some manufacturers, say shows more promise. Carbon3D Inc.’s printers project light continuously through a pool of resin, gradually solidifying it onto an >>>

EPA Funds Anti-Ag Billboards
An EPA-funded public relations campaign in Washington state takes aim at farmers.

The billboards and other promotional materials juxtapose photographs to suggest farmers are polluting waterways and killing fish. Federal lawmakers are demanding answers. >>>

Ag Downturn Hits State Government
Lawmakers in South Dakota are experiencing the ripple effect of low commodity prices. As farm equipment sales dip, the state collects fewer sales tax dollars.

Sales tax collections on farm equipment peaked in South Dakota’s 2014 budget year at an estimated $43.9 million. Collections fell to $33.6 million in 2015. >>>

Rocky Mountain Dealerships Announces 1Q Results
Used equipment inventory declined by $10.9 million or 3.8%.
Total revenues declined by 14.0% to $189.5 million.
Agriculture segment product support revenues reported a tenth consecutive quarter of growth versus the comparable period in the prior year, a trend beginning at the inception of the segment.
Gross margin increased to 14.9%, up from 14.3% in the first quarter of 2015.
Gross profit decreased by 10.1% to $28.3 million. >>>

Tractor/Combine Sales Report for March
Highlights from the AEM Ag Flash Report for March. For complete data to to >>>

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