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June 24, 2015

Association Leadership: Committed, Creative, and Eager to Hear from You
I have had the pleasure the last few weeks of meeting with the Association’s Board of Directors and leadership of the Associate Supplier Section. The meetings were outstanding opportunities to hear more about the boots-on-the-ground experiences in the industry and to explore how the Association can best be of service to its members in years to come. >>>


High Court Rules Raisin Grab Unconstitutional
Supreme Court rules a 66-year-old program that lets the government take crop away from farmers to help reduce supply and boost market prices is unconstitutional.

“Let them sell wine’ is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history,” he wrote. “Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated.” >>>



Union Negotiations Begin for Steelmakers Amid Weak U.S. Market
Talks began last week between executives at U.S. Steel and leaders of the 30,000-member United Steelworkers Union. Circumstances in the American steel industry make this negotiation especially high-stakes. >>>



Salary Ceiling for Overtime Expected to Change
Labor Department expected to propose a rule as early as this week that would double the salary-level threshold at which employers must pay overtime. Under the anticipated rule, salaried workers who earn less than $52,000 a year would be eligible for overtime pay. >>>


Businesses Monitor Court Review of Class Action Suits
When the U.S. Supreme Court resumes in October, among cases it will consider is Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM are among groups who have asked the high court to hear arguments in the case, which could curb class action litigation >>>


FAA to Finalize Drone Rule Soon
The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week it will finalize rules on commercial drone use within 12 months. This is ahead of a previous target date of early 2017. "The rule will be in place within a year," FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker said in recent testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Hopefully before June 17, 2016." >>>


Internet Bill Helps Iowa Farmers
Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed a “Connect Every Acre” high-speed broadband bill into law in a machine shed in Perry, Iowa, on Monday, Radio Iowa reported. The bill helps coordinate and facilitate broadband access in targeted service areas throughout the state, and it establishes a grant program to communication service providers. >>>



Protecting Against Data Breaches
The publication Industry Week offered manufacturers insight last week into just how vulnerable we are to data breaches and suggested a few strategies to mitigate the risk. >>>


Farmland Prices Decline, Prices Vary by State
A recently released economist’s report on farmland values reveals diminishing worth, although prices differ dramatically from state to state. An unrelated report from a farm-and-ranch real estate company suggests that this year’s harvest may be pivotal in reversing the decline. >>>



Machinery Pete Launches New Web Site
Machinery Pete launched a new website last week and announced the appointment of two senior leaders: CEO Kevin Doyle, formerly with Apartments.com, and VP of Sales Bill Weber, formerly with Deere. >>>


Farm Equipment Sales Lag
Ernie Goss, Creighton’s economist, reported that the farm equipment sales index was 12.5, which repeats a record low from May. This is the 23rd consecutive month that the reading has been below 50. >>>


Topcon Buys Boom Tech Company
Topcon Positioning Group announced June 10 that it bought Norac Systems International, a developer of ultrasonic sensing and boom control technology for agricultural equipment. Norac’s product line includes systems to precisely maintain a spray boom height above the top of the crop or the ground to ensure optimum application of fertilizers and plant protection products. >>>


News From Case-New Holland
Manufacturer News reported recently that Abe Hughes, who held the top spot at New Holland in North America, is no longer with the company. Brad Crews, chief operations officer for NAFTA at CNH, will assume responsibilities in the interim for the New Holland Agriculture and Construction brands in North America. >>>



Minnesota Poultry Industry Gets Help
Minnesota lawmakers last week approved spending $23 million for several programs responding to the bird flu epidemic and investing nearly $27 million in poultry testing facilities at the University of Minnesota. >>>


Deere Teams Up with King Agro
Deere has announced a partnership with King Agro, a manufacturer of carbon fiber technology products, to develop and distribute carbon fiber booms exclusively for Deere application equipment. >>>


Agritechnica Sets Pace for Record Attendance
More than 2,400 exhibitors from 49 countries have registered to participate in Agritechnica 2015, the annual autumn trade fair for agricultural machinery and equipment in Hanover, Germany. Registrations on track with record-breaking participation >>>


Absurd Suit Alleges California Water Restrictions Hurt Fish
A group of environmentalists has sued California and federal officials, claiming the governmental bodies are harming fish and wildlife in their efforts to deliver more water to farms and cities, the Sacramento Bee reported recently. >>>



ASABE Seeks Input on Baling Twine Standard
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has initiated a project to revise ANSI/ASAE S315.4, Agricultural Baling Twine for Automatic Balers. Seeks input from manufacturers... >>>


Dealers News
L.F. Trottier & Sons, moving its Deere dealership to a bigger location in Hartland, Vt.

Koenig Equipment, an 11-store Deere dealer, opens a new Greenville, Ohio, location. >>>



Court Decision Serves as Warning for Inventors
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued a ruling on patent royalties that the National Law Journal characterizes as a blow to inventors who may not know the intricacies of patent licensing agreements. >>>



Senate Passes Trade Deal
A bill seen as essential to the success of a trade deal with Japan and 11 other Pacific-rim countries cleared its final hurdle Wednesday when the U.S. Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority, also known as the fast-track bill. >>>


Rules Protects Investors in 401(k) Plans
Administrators must continue “to monitor trust investments and remove imprudent ones... This continuing duty exists separate and apart from the trustee’s duty to exercise prudence in selecting investments at the outset.” >>>


When the Fine Print is Also Blurry
Oregon man files suit against his eye surgeon seeking funds to cover costs of two subsequent surgeries he needed to correct the first one. His suit is complicated, however, by his signing a paper he was unable to read. >>>


Impact of Weather Patterns is Worrisome
Weather patterns in much of the United States this month forced growers to park their tractors and consider alternative crops. Tropical Storm Bill soaked—even flooded—farmland in sections of the Midwest, but in the days since the storm, it is difficult to assess its cost. >>>


Tractor & Combine Sales Report
Highlights from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Ag Flash Reports. For complete data, go to FarmEquip.org/flash. >>>