Regulatory Issues at Forefront During Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall

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5/16/2024

Ag on the MallThis year’s Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall facilitated an array of substantive policy discussions with agency officials who directly impact regulations critical to the off-road equipment industry.

More than 15,000 people flocked to the three-day event, which featured combine harvesters, milking equipment, sprayers and planters, irrigation equipment, tractors big and small, as well as dozens of interactive and hands-on exhibits by grower groups and agriculture innovators. This year’s theme, the Future of Food and Farming, showcased the advances that drive American agriculture’s long history of producing more while reducing its environmental footprint. In addition, the technology on display along with the engineering and technical personnel on-hand enabled AEM to deliver key messages on:

  • Engine emission advancements
  • Sustainability
  • Responsible use of PFAS in products
  • Spray drift control innovations
  • Autonomy
  • Efficient water use
  • Food safety
  • Alternatively powered equipment
  • Farm worker safety
  • Uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • Rural broadband connectivity

“We had the equipment and experts on-site to discuss PFAS, emissions and autonomy with the heads of the divisions at EPA and DOL who oversee these issues,” said AEM Senior Vice President Curt Blades. “Those are just three of many topics we took deep dives on with officials. Engagement like this does not happen every day.”

Agency leads in attendance include:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Under Secretary for Conservation & Farm Programs Robert Bonnie
  • Trade & Foreign Ag Affairs (TFAA) Under Secretary Alexis Taylor
  • TFAA Deputy Under Secretary Jason Hafemeister
  • Under Secretary for Rural Development Dr. Basil Gooden
  • Rural Business Service Cooperative Administrator Betsy Dirksen Londrigan
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency Deputy Director Nitin Natarajan
  • Department of Energy
  • Science & Innovation Under Secretary Geri Richmond
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) Assistant Administrator Michal Freedhoff
  • OCSPP Deputy Assistant Administrator Jake Li
  • Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Alejandra Nunez
  • OAR Deputy Director for Transportation & Air Quality Ben Hengst
  • Office of Water (OW) Acting Assistant Administrator Bruno Pigott
  • OW Deputy Assistant Administrator Mae Wu
  • Department of Labor
  • OSHA Assistant Secretary Doug Parker
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Commissioner Anna Gomez
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Deputy Administrator Kathryn Thomson

“Our interactions went further than appointees,” said Nick Tindall, AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs. “Scores of career staff swarmed our exhibits. These are the people who will impact regulations for decades to come. The information exchanges and relationships are invaluable to our industry.”

Confirmed career staff from the following agencies were in attendance:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Homeland Security 
  • Department of Labor
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • U.S. Agency for International Development

Lastly, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was on hand to engage with AEM leadership, industry executives, and government officials. Their visit focused on current and future activities of automated and autonomous agriculture. 

OECD staff in attendance included:

  • Director, Trade and Agriculture Directorate Marion Jansen
  • Head of Section, Agricultural Codes and Schemes
  • Programme Manager, Tractor Codes José Brambila

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