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  • April 6-8, 2016 Spring Conference & Supplier Product Showcase
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Keep the Bad News at Bay, Focus on Possibilities at Spring Conference
I visited with Association members and friends in Iowa recently, and our conversations often led us to the upcoming presidential caucus. It became clear to me that even those who are very involved in the political process, at some point, become tired of the polling, mailings and non-stop negative political ads.

The nature of such intense campaigning and media hype can lead to distorted ideas about whatís happening in the U.S. and around the world. The truth of that goes far beyond politics; it is relevant in the farm equipment manufacturing industry, too.

If we focus only on monthly sales reports or financial statements from OEMs, we see reasons to worry. At moments like this, we must remind ourselves to also see possibilities. I heard a comment from a member years ago that I have not forgotten. He said ... >>>

Supreme Court Takes a Hard Look at Union Fees for Public Workers
A group of California teachers has sued its union, arguing that the hundreds of dollars a year teachers are required to pay the union represents a violation of their First Amendment rights, because the money goes to support. . . >>>

Deere CEO Takes Pay Cut, Now Earns $18.7 million
Deere CEO Samuel Allen took a pay cut amid the company's down financial cycle, Crain's Chicago Business reported. Allen's compensation package was reduced by >>>

Attacks on Ethanol Continue in Wall Street Journal
A commentary in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal challenged the ethanol industry. Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, argued that it made economic and environmental sense to replace the 18 billion gallons of ethanol called for in the EPA's 2016 Renewable Fuel Standards with fossil fuel. >>>

Where Will Fuel Savings Go?
We have had several Association members tell us that while the tumbling price of crude oil provides welcome savings at the pump, the ripple effect of a glutted oil market hurts business.

The situation wonít be helped by this past weekendís removal of sanctions on Iran, whose national oil company gave the instruction to increase output by about . . . >>>

Farmers, Ranchers Recover from Southern Storm
Dairy farmers and cattle ranchers in Texas and New Mexico continue to assess their losses after winter storm Goliath wrecked their operations. An estimated 15,000 dairy cows were killed in the storm ... >>>

Magazine Begins Shortline Series
Lessiter Media's Farm Equipment magazine has launched a new series focused on the shortline industry. The series sheds light on business models in which a shortline focus helps dealers satisfy local customers. >>>

Members Earn Deere's Highest Supplier Rating
Several member companies have been named 2015 Partner-Level Suppliers by John Deere.The Partner award represents Deere's highest supplier rating. >>>

Link Wins Quality Award
Link Manufacturing, Ltd. recently received an award for its 20 years of continuous ISO Quality Certification. SRI Quality System Registrar presented the award in December. >>>

Microloans Program Expands
The USDA has announced it will begin to offer farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property.

Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers and can be issued to the applicant directly from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). >>>

On the Way: Ag Innovator Mag
Look for stories in the winter issue on changes in the farm equipment marketplace, global trade opportunities, a Spring Conference preview, Obamacare, and data security. The new issue mails ... >>>

Bestway Execs, Investors, Buy Bestway Inc.
A private investor group that included two members of the Bestway Inc. management team recently announced the acquisition of Bestway Inc. from Rick and Debbie Heiniger.

Key to the acquisition was the retention of Bestway management personnel, with Pat Meenen being appointed President and CEO and David C. Benson as Vice President, Sales and Marketing. >>>

Professional Opportunities
Two member companies are hiring. Openings include a territory manager for a manufacturer and an HR specialist. If you know someone who is not employed by a member company and is looking for career opportunity, pass along this information. >>>

In Memoriam: Diane C. Jorgensen
We were sad to learn last week of the death of Diane C. Jorgensen. Diane, who is survived by her husband Donald Jorgensen, was with us at several conferences. >>>

Dexter Transaction Complete
A deal announced in October between Dexter and AL-KO Vehicle Technology has been finalized. DexKo Global Inc. emerged as the parent company of the combined companies. >>>

Economist Says Ag in 'Economic Reset'
Many of the same conditions that lifted agriculture to new heights from 2007 to 2012 are now combining to deflate it for the years 2016 to 2020, according to David Kohl, a retired ag economics professor at Virginia Tech University. Kohl describes circumstances in agriculture as an "economic reset" rather than a crash, and said this reset has begun. >>>

USDA Explores Ag Market in China
The USDA recently released an analysis of the agricultural market in China that illustrates the potential and perils of the relationship. This market that represents 17% of U.S. ag exports is showing signs of distress. >>>

AFBF Elects Leaders, Defines Priorities
Last week, delegates of the American Farm Bureau Federation from all 50 states elected leaders and approved policies that will help shape the future of agriculture.

Among priorities for 2016 will be issues such as renewable fuels, governmental reform, farm policy, risk management and international trade. >>>

Rural Mainstreet Still Struggles, Some Numbers Improve
The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index rose slightly from Decemberís weak reading, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state region.The January index was 50.9, up from Decemberís 50.0 and tilting toward positive growth on the zero-to-100 scale.

See more from the economist who will speak to us at the Spring Conference ... >>>

Tractor/Combine Sales

Steel Production Down From 2015
The online resource Steelworks reports that recent steel production is down compared to last year. >>>

License to Braid: 2,100 Hours Required
The Iowa Board of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences is a defendant in a lawsuit alleging its regulations are a burden on one woman's right to make a living.

The plaintiff is Achan Agit, a war refugee from what is now South Sudan and a permanent U.S. resident. Achanís elders taught her to braid when she was 5, and she remains a skilled braider. Earning a living, however, is complicated ... >>>

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