April 20, 2016

5 Min Read
<p>AEM has a new smart phone game that is fun to play, but also delivers a message about the importance of ag and construction.</p>

I'm not known as a big game player on my computer, smart phone or tablet. Oh, my wife does, but I'd prefer to read or catch a funny video (no cats please). However, I was intrigued when I get the release yesterday that the Association of Equipment Manufacturers announced it had launched its own new game for election season.

A long time follower of AEM - thanks to their monthly Flash Reports - it's always intriguing when this group representing both farm and construction equipment - tries something new. This game is called "I Make America" and the aim is to "engage and educate voters on manufacturing issues this election season," according to the release.

You can download the game from the Apple Store or Google Play, and supposedly at the Windows Store but I couldn't find it there. Anyway, I did download it to my iPad to give it whirl. The idea is to show people who don't know - and their number is legion - that agriculture and construction are important industries in this country.

In the release announcing the game, Dennis Slater, AEM president, comments: "AEM hopes that this I Make America Game serves as a compelling tool for manufacturing voters to get involved with I Make America and educate themselves on the issues that matter this election season. This is an important part of our broader effort to raise the profile of manufacturing issues during the campaign."

Taking it on the road

And while I downloaded and played the game (more on that later) it's interesting to note that AEM wants to ramp up the conversation as part of this effort. This game is more about the 2016 election than just a fun activity with a few good questions. The association plans to travel to more than two dozen manufacturing facilities across the U.S. to engage employees and allow them to compete in the game.

I Make America is an AEM effort to draw attention to critical issues facing manufacturing in the United States. And while the current candidates have a lot to say about bringing back jobs and saving manufacturing, there has been - so far - little substance beyond the promises.

AEM is working to ramp up the conversation to show the value of manufacturing to the economy. AEM goes farther in the smart phone/tablet game noting the value of agriculture and construction to the entire U.S. economy. The association notes that the grassroots I Make America effort started in 2010 and has attracted "tens of thousands of supporters, and in 2015, generated almost 150,000 emails to members of Congress and other elected officials."

Meanwhile the factory tour with the game will be a prize-awarding series of stops with the highest score at each event getting a prize. There's also a grand prize - a 3D television - for the highest scoring app user by the election. AEM notes that in Iowa alone companies including Vermeer, John Deere, Kinze and Hagie are at work.

Adds Jim Barrett, Blount International: "The I Make America Game is a terrific tool to help manufacturers educate their employees and their communities about the issues that affect our businesses." Barrett is executive vice president marketing, farm, ranch and agriculture division for Blount.

As for farmers? The game offers a nice ag focus, a harvest challenge and a couple trivia questions you can use to quiz your city friends (hopefully you'll know the answer). One concerns the Renewable Fuel Standard and the other concerns the number of people whose livelihood relies on agriculture.

Playing the game

I downloaded the game - and I've provided screen shots throughout this blog - and played along. For ag you have to play a kind of wheat shock whack-a-mole as part of the "harvest" challenge. The entire session is timed and the faster you go the better off you are.

You get a couple trivia questions - on the aforementioned RFS, and livelihoods related to ag - and then you get passed on to the construction challenge, which is also fun. There's a little skill involved, I played it on a tablet - not sure if it's easier to 'harvest' on the phone. But it's a fun little free pastime and a good way to share the ag and construction message.

Note ag and constructions are not only related because of the off-highway, heavy-duty nature of our businesses. But construction is critical to the revitalization of our farm to market road and bridge infrastructure as well as our local to global market transportation system. And there's plenty of work to be done.

So download the game, have a little fun. And if you have a comment leave it hear, we'd love to know what you think about the game. Thanks for reading.

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