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September 9, 2014

Fall Marketing & Distribution Convention Updates
If you have not already done so, now is the time to start making plans for our Fall Convention in Las Vegas, which opens in less than eight weeks.

With executive registrations for this meeting running far ahead of prior years’, we increased the number of rooms reserved for our attendees. Still, we have fewer than 70 rooms remaining at the special rate of $99 per night. While it’s unlikely Las Vegas will run out of rooms during our meeting, we have talked with several members who noticed airfares are moving higher and some flights are already shown as unavailable.

Please note the following adjustment to the schedule: >>>

Small Firms Forego Cost-Cutting, Spend More on Plants and Equipment
Rather than slashing costs, small businesses are now spending more on new plants and industrial machinery, trucks, computers, office equipment and furniture, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Among 798 small private firms with less than $20 million in revenue, 51% said in August that they planned to increase their capital spending in the next 12 months. That is a record high, and it is also up from 42% a year ago, according to the survey by WSJ and Vistage International, an executive-advisory group. >>>

CNH Agrees to Buy Miller-St. Nazianz
“Because we compete as an independent brand in an industry dominated by iconic brands like John Deere, our avenues of distribution are limited,” Miller said.

“We make a world-class product that I would put up against any other machine in our industry, but we have struggled to expand our market presence because 99% of farm equipment dealerships carry their major lines of Case IH, John Deere and Agco,” he added. “Continuing to operate as a small niche player was not a viable long-term strategy, so we proactively sought out this partnership with CNH.” >>>

Step Up and Stand Out with a Sponsorship
A sponsorship is one of the best ways to stand out and leverage your participation at the Fall Convention. If your company sponsors a speaking program session, a refreshment break or a reception, your personnel can take this opportunity to network with fellow attendees and display or distribute marketing materials. >>>

Employee Sues for Illegal Union Dues Deductions
A Dearborn-area Ford Motor Company worker filed federal charges against the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and the company for violating his rights, according to a news release issued by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Todd Lemire, a 16-year Dearborn Tool & Die plant worker, filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in August. >>>

Fall Convention Special Session: Russia/Ukraine Update
During his Fall Convention presentation on Thursday afternoon, Howard A. Dahl will deliver an update on developments in Russia and Ukraine and their impact on American agriculture and manufacturing.

Mr. Dahl is President and CEO of Amity Technology, LLC. He serves on the Board of Directors of University of North Dakota’s Center for Innovation and the Board of Regents for the Russian American Institute. He also is a Director and Past Audit Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. >>>

Iowa Opens Its First Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Plant
Last week in Emmetsburg, IA, baling wire was cut to signify the grand opening of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, reported the Sioux City Journal. The plant is the first of three such facilities under development in the Midwest, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administrator.

The venture, dubbed Project Liberty, is a $250 million partnership between Royal DSM, a Dutch biotechnology company, and Poet, a Sioux Falls-based ethanol maker. It is expected to produce >>>

Valmont Acquires Majority Stake in AgSense
Valmont Industries, Inc., a provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and mechanized irrigation equipment for agriculture, announced that it acquired a majority interest in South Dakota-based AgSense. The acquisition further extends Valmont’s offerings in remote monitoring and control technology for agriculture. >>>

Vermeer Announces Family Succession Plan
On Nov. 1, 2014, Jason will assume the role of President and Chief Operating Officer; one year later, he will transition to the role of President and CEO of Vermeer Corporation. He currently serves as President of Forage and Environmental Solutions. >>>

Fall Convention: Friday Morning Meeting Planning Session
The Association invites executives and guests to attend a special meeting planning session during the annual Fall Marketing and Distribution Convention.

In this roundtable discussion, the convention committee, office staff, executives and guests will share their ideas for future meetings. >>>

U.S. May Suffer Canada-type Grain Transport Squeeze
Bumper crops of corn and soybeans may strain rail logistics and export loading capacity further during the autumn, the council said. Also, railcar demand for petroleum and related products continues to rise. If barge and rail freight operators give priority to energy products, grains storage capacity might come under pressure during the peak harvest season . . . >>>

Canadian Farmers May Harvest Less Wheat & Canola
Canadian wheat growers will probably reduce output by 26% this year, and canola production also will fall, the government’s statistics agency said in late August.

Wheat production will drop to 27.7 million metric tons from a record 37.5 million in 2013, Statistics Canada said in a report, and the country’s canola harvest will fall 23% to 13.9 million tons. Analysts had forecast 14.8 million. >>>

EPA Sends Renewable Fuels Rule to the White House
The EPA sent the proposed final rule for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review, and urged the Administration to finalize it as quickly as possible, according to

“The original EPA proposal and continued delays have severely disrupted the U.S. biodiesel industry this year,” said Anne Steckel, The National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs. “We can begin to reverse that damage with a meaningful increase in the biodiesel that producers can ramp up production in a timely fashion.” >>>

Rain-hit U.S. Wheat Crop 'Slowest on Record'
Due to continuing rains, wheat farmers are experiencing the slowest spring crop harvest on record, reported While the U.S. Department of Agriculture rates 74% of the corn crop and 72% of soybeans as “good” or “excellent,” rainfall has taken a toll on the condition of spring wheat, with a mere 63% rated good or excellent. >>>

Ex-Im Bank Officials Visit Ace Pump
Fred P. Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) recently visited Ace Pump Corporation’s headquarters in Memphis, TN, to discuss how the bank helps small businesses create American jobs by expanding exports. The visit was part of a 28-city tour by Chairman Hochberg and other Ex-Im Bank officials. >>>

NLRB Redefines ‘Joint Employer’
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) informed the McDonald’s Corporation that the Office of the General Counsel will allow the company to be named as a joint employer of workers at its franchise-owned restaurants. This decision resulted from numerous unfair labor practice charges filed by union-backed groups against franchisees that included the corporation as a charged party. >>>

Low Crop Prices Drive Down Farm Values, Tractor Sales
U.S. farmland prices fell for a ninth successive month, amid worsening agriculture sector sentiment that has sent conditions in the farm machinery market to the worst in at least nine years, reported.

An index compiled by Creighton University showed farmland prices in major farming states such as Illinois, Iowa and Kansas at 41.4 for August, below the 48.3 points recorded for July, and the 50.0 mark that indicates a neutral market. >>>

Recognizing September Member Anniversaries
This month we thank the following companies for their membership in the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and their continued support. We look forward to having these companies, and yours, as members for many more years. >>>

Deere Announces Additional Layoffs
Deere & Co. announced it will lay off approximately 460 employees at the company’s Waterloo, IA, reported This pushes Deere’s job cuts in Iowa to 1,000 when combined with layoffs announced earlier for plants in the Des Moines and the Quad Cities areas.

When Deere announced third quarter earnings on Aug. 13, the company said it needed to reduce agricultural equipment production for the balance of the year to respond to “current market demand for its products.” >>>