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The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) hosted a rural infrastructure panel at the National Farm Machinery Show last week as part of its Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. infrastructure and its potential impact on the agriculture economy.

The event was a follow-up to AEM's Rural Infrastructure Summit held at Iowa State University last August. The Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative will continue to focus on the link between the agriculture economy and the future of U.S. infrastructure next month with AEM's participation in the Agri-Pulse Farm Bill Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 20.

The panel included American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, Vermeer Corporation President and CEO Jason Andringa, CLAAS Global Sales Americas President Leif Magnusson, and Indiana University Senior Policy Analyst Jamie Palmer. Duvall talked about the importance of the three Rs - roads, rivers, and railways - to the movement of agricultural commodities and gave his thoughts on the nominee for agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue. "Governor Purdue is a really good friend of mine," said Duvall. "He cares about people and he really understands agriculture."

In discussing the need for strong Congressional leadership on infrastructure investment, Leif Magnusson stressed that "the United States needs to maintain its infrastructure advantage in order to stay competitive in the global economy." The panelists agreed that a solutions-oriented approach is the next step forward in adapting U.S. infrastructure to the needs of the evolving agriculture economy.

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