From the CEO

A Global Industry By Deborah M. Hamlin, CAE, FASAE

In November, I was invited to participate in the European Irrigation Association’s 1st Irrigation Industry Forum, held in conjunction with EIMA, the International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition in Bologna, Italy.

During the one-day forum, irrigation professionals discussed current and upcoming challenges and opportunities for the industry. Participants discussed regulatory issues, research-related topics as well as commercial developments. I was able to share information about IA’s initiatives during this conference and at EIA’s general assembly meeting.

The following day, conference participants joined 285,000 visitors from 140 countries at the exposition of “agricultural mechanics.” Held every other year, this five-day event boasted 1,900 exhibitors in 22 buildings. Three of these buildings were dedicated to irrigation, and many IA member companies were present. Like the Irrigation Show, they were sharing their latest technologies in both agriculture and landscape.

The events provided great opportunities to make new acquaintances and grow existing relationships. I used the time to collect ideas to bring home to the United States and also to reflect on IA’s international efforts. Although irrigation is local, and decisions about water are made on a local level, it is important to have allies across the country and across the world supporting best management practices and product standards. The association has always welcomed members from across the globe and encouraged international attendance at the Irrigation Show. In fact, in Las Vegas in December, our extra efforts resulted in a 44 percent increase over 2015 in international attendees coming from 52 countries.

This experience reminds me that it’s time again to start looking at how we align ourselves with our irrigation partner associations around the globe. Whether it’s more shared education and certification programming, joint efforts promoting smart irrigation or consistent messaging to regulators, we have a lot to learn from each other and a lot to share. When the economy retracted, we all focused on our own, local challenges. But it’s time to reach out again and embrace the global industry that we live in. I hope to have more to share in this area in the coming months.

The EIA is a non-profit organization made up of 51 member companies from 19 countries representing the interests of the agriculture, golf and turf irrigation industries. EIA’s members are manufacturers of irrigation equipment, as well as contractors, dealers, distributors and other irrigation professionals. The EIA is based in Brussels and has been active since 1991. For more information, visit

IA CEO Deborah Hamlin and IA Past President Jay Robbins welcomed many award winners to the stage during the general session on Dec. 8, 2016, at the Irrigation Show and Education Conference.

6 Irrigation TODAY | January 2017

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