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EDA’s Government Relations Committee Meets in St. Louis
On April 25 and 26, 2016, the Government Relations Committee met in St. Louis, Missouri to discuss legislative and regulatory issues facing dealers across North America including Department of Labor overreach, Right to Repair legislation, and pending trade agreements. The two day meeting was attended by Sarah Partridge (Montana), Brandon Wilbanks (Louisiana), Paul Scherrman (Iowa), Nick Sinner (Minnesota/South Dakota), Ralph Gaiss (Northeast) and EDA’s Natalie Higgins. For more information about this meeting or for information about joining EDA’s Government Relations Committee, contact Natalie Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Co-op Prepares To Start ‘Farming’ Data
There are many different kinds of agricultural cooperatives that produce everything from milk to sugar, but the Ag Data Coalition (ADC) is leading the way for a whole new kind of operation: a farm data co-op.
By June 1, the ADC – including the American Farm Bureau Federation, CropIMS, CNH, AGCO, Topcon, Raven, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, The Ohio State University, Auburn University and the University of Mississippi – plans to have a prototype of the co-op up and running for a three-to-four-month trial, Mary Kay Thatcher, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s senior director for congressional relations, told Agri-Pulse in an interview. By fall it should be fully operational.
Modern farm machinery enables producers to routinely capture and store massive amounts of data as farmers plant, cultivate and harvest their crops, and those producers should have total control and perhaps even profit from that information, Thatcher said. It’s why the group is leading the way to establish the first ever data bank, strictly for the benefit of farmers that use it. Read more. Source: Agri-Pulse
ObamaCare Premiums Expected To Rise Sharply Amid Insurer Losses
Health insurance companies are laying the groundwork for substantial increases in ObamaCare premiums, opening up a line of attack for Republicans in a presidential election year. Many insurers have been losing money on the ObamaCare marketplaces, in part because they set their premiums too low when the plans started in 2014. The companies are now expected to seek substantial price increases.
"There are absolutely some carriers that are going to have to come in with some pretty significant price hikes to make up for the underpricing that they did before,” said Sabrina Corlette, a professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, while noting that the final picture remains unclear.
Insurers are already making the case for premium increases, pointing to a pool of enrollees that is smaller, sicker and costlier than they expected. Read more. Source: The Hill
OMB Reviewing 2017 RFS Proposals from EPA
EPA proposals for the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard are now undergoing review by the White House Office of Budget and Management and are nearing publication in the Federal Register that will lead to public comment.
In a notice posted on the agency's website, OMB said it received the proposals last Friday, putting the suggested biofuel blending requirements on track for public airing this summer. OMB has 90 days to review the proposal, but the White House agency took less than 30 days to review RFS proposals for 2014, 2015 and 2016 when they were submitted in early May last year.
The proposal offers renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for renewable fuel, advanced biofuel and cellulosic biofuel in 2017, plus the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel. (The 2017 standard for biodiesel and renewable diesel was finalized in last year's RFS rule.)
EDA Dealer Manufacturer Relations Survey Report To Be Released Soon
The Equipment Dealers Association is again publishing its annual Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey in 2016. We are putting the final touches on the 72-page report which will be released to only EDA dealer-members and the 55 manufacturers which received the minimum responses to be included in the report. This year we will be releasing the report via a link to our new, redesigned EDA website for download which should be ready in a couple of weeks. At that time we will send you the link to the report on the EDA website for you to download.
EDA is proud to report that due to extensive promotion by our organization along with the promotion and support of several manufacturers we experienced significant increases in dealer participation across the board. A total of 9,180 individual company ratings were provided by over 2,300 dealerships, increases of 35% and 25% respectively. Also 55 companies will be included in the report compared to 50 last year.
Upcoming EDA Regional Director Elections
Express your interest
Director elections are scheduled to be held this summer for the EDA Regions of Canada, Great Lakes and Gulf Coast. Individuals who are interested in running for the directorship positions are encouraged to contact the EDA office at 636-349-5000.
The Canadian directorship represents all dealers in Canada. While the Gulf Coast directorship represents dealers located in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and the Great Lakes directorship represents dealers in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
For additional information, contact the EDA office at 636-349-5000.
EDA Signs On To Crop Insurance Letter
As the House and Senate Appropriations Committees consider annual spending bills, EDA joined almost 60 other ag organizations on a letter urging the Committees to protect crop insurance and recognize its central importance to farmers, lenders and all of rural America.
The 2014 Farm Bill made a multitude of cuts to the farm safety net. The letter states “that an overreliance on savings from the agriculture community in the future will greatly undermine rural economies that have faced an estimated 54 percent decline in net farm income from 2013 to 2015. In these challenging economic circumstances, it is Federal crop insurance that will provide lenders the assurances they need to provide capital to America’s farmers and ranchers.”
A copy of the letter can be read here.
Congressional Members Have Urged Leadership to Halt The NLRB’s Overreach
EDA applauds members who signed the letter
On March 23, 2016, seventy-two (72) Congressional Members co-signed a letter addressed to the House Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member Tom Cole and Rosa DeLauro. The Members urged Representatives Cole and DeLauro to reign in the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) overreach through proposed provisions within the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.
The Members described the NLRB’s recent holdings as “disturbing initiatives” and concluded that several of these rulings have jeopardized the “historic and appropriate balance between employer and employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act.” The letter also described four, key examples of overreach which the appropriations bill could rectify including the recent deviation from the traditional joint employer standard, the NLRB’s alteration of union elections to allow for “ambush” elections, the NLRB’s decision which allows for the gerrymandering of bargaining units and the recent “persuader” rule which interferes with employers’ ability to seek help from lawyers in complying with employment law obligations. EDA applauds the of these Congressmen and women as the NLRB’s actions are a continued threat to the operation of dealerships all over the country. Want to learn more? A full copy of the letter can be seen here.
Members Encouraged to Contact Their Legislators & Senators
EDA Action Item
Under the Affordable Care Act, a 40% tax may be imposed on taxpayers if the cost of their healthcare coverage that exceeds a predetermined threshold. This tax is commonly referred to as a “Cadillac” tax and it is scheduled to start in 2020. At the present time, Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs), and the amounts contributed thereto, are included as part of the “Cadillac” tax threshold. EDA supports the exclusion of HSAs from the “Cadillac” tax calculation for several reasons. First, HSAs offer a simple, tax-free way for consumers to plan and save for run of the mill medical expenses. In addition, HSAs allow consumers of medical products and services to better understand their care and pricing options. In turn, the consumer can individually assess the value of treatment options and personally allocate their health care dollars based upon that information. Finally, HSAs provide a tax free way for young and healthy individuals to save for more significant medical expenses which can be expected to arise later in life.
The Health Care Savings Act of 2016, if passed, will exclude employees’ pre-tax contributions to a Healthcare Savings Account (HSAs) from the “Cadillac” tax calculation set forth under the Affordable Care Act. EDA encourages its members to email or call their legislators and senators and encourage them to support this bill which is pending before both the House and the Senate (House Resolution 4469; Senate Bill 2499). Should you need further information about this legislation or if you need assistance locating your legislators, contact Natalie Higgins at email@example.com.
OPEI Survey Shows Consumers Lacking Education On Ethanol Fuel Blends
Awareness and knowledge of how to use high ethanol fuel blends remains relatively unchanged among consumers over the past few years, according to a recent national poll conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). According to poll results, price continues to drive decisions at the pump and consumers do not pay much attention to pump warning labels. OPEI conducted similar research in 2013 and 2015.
The 2016 poll results show that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of age 18-and-older American adults who own outdoor power equipment say they either are not sure (42 percent) or do not pay any attention (22 percent) to what type of fuel they are using. In 2015, almost half (45 percent) were not sure what type of fuel they used and one in five (20 percent) did not pay any attention to the type of fuel used. Read more.
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Equipment Dealer To Undergo Transformation
New magazine will debut this spring.
As a part of our ongoing effort to improve the value proposition for dealer members, the NAEDA Board of Directors recently decided to put Equipment Dealer magazine on a two- to three month hiatus while we work to expand the content and enhance the delivery of the publication. The “new and improved” magazine is a significant part of the associations’ ongoing communications initiative, which addresses our entire messaging platform – magazine, e-newsletter, web site, email and other key components.
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