Two agribusiness associations have joined forces to increase their international clout.

"There is no national agribusiness association," said N.E. Hollis, executive director of the Agri-Energy Roundtable, which is being joined by the Agribusiness Council. "We have state and local agribusiness associations, we have national farmer and cooperative organizations, but we have no national group to sponsor trade missions or represent agribusiness interests in government."

Agribusiness is a broad term that describes any private enterprise that deals with food, from farm fertilizers to food processors. The Agribusiness Council, an organization founded in 1967, encourages overseas investment in the agribusiness sector of underdeveloped countries. The group is supported by such companies and organizations as Deere & Co., Kellogg Co., Dalgety Inc., Seaboard Milling and the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

This fall, the council closed its office in New York City and moved its files to Agri-Energy Roundtable's office in Washington. It had no full-time staff members to relocate.

"The council ran out of gas when the Reagan administration started talking about private enterprise," said Hollis, who also sits on the council's board. "It never plugged into the political dimension of Washington, and lost a lot of the trade missions it used to sponsor in the 1970s to the Overseas Private Investment Corp."

The council hopes to survive by allying itself with the Agri-Energy Roundtable, an international organization accredited by the United Nations that seeks to strengthen ties between Third World countries and industrialized nations in the area of agribusiness and energy related agricultural programs.

"By having access to international facilities through the Roundtable, Agribusiness {Council} will be able to give more services to its members," Hollis said. The council and the roundtable will share day-to-day administrative duties, but each will remain independent and autonomous legally, financially and in matters of policy. However, the Agribusiness Council now is essentially a U.S. chapter of the Agri-Energy Roundtable. If the alliance succeeds in generating support for agribusiness programs, "it may break down the factions in agriculture," Hollis said. "We may be able to come up with general solutions that last."

System Automation Corp. of Silver Spring has won a $17 million contract from the Army Personnel Information Systems Command to help keep track of job qualifications of newly enlisted personnel.

The five-year contract requires System Automation to supply software for a computer system that matches enlisting men and women with jobs. After a candidate has passed the Army's initial screening tests, the enlistee's qualifications are keyed into the computer. The system then finds an appropriate job.

"With this system, senior Army managers can look at where people are placed and make program decisions," said Craig A. Mattice, vice president of contracts and finance for System Automation.

The Washington-based architectural firm of Burt Hill Stinson Capelli is designing a $5.2 million U.S. Customs Service command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) center at Richmond Heights, Fla. The building is part of a coast-to-coast system that monitors the southern border of the United States. It will be equipped with electronic surveillance equipment that will give the Coast Guard, Customs Service and other federal agencies an overview of air, sea and land activity along the border.

Burt Hill has designed two other C3I centers, at March Air Force Base in Riverside, Calif., and at Customs National Aviation Command Center in Oklahoma City.

Kenco is moving its sewage pump manufacturing plant to Front Royal from Lorian, Ohio.

"The Midwest is notoriously rough on business. Taxes are high. There are bad labor problems," said Carlos Perry, president of Atlantic Coast Industries Inc. in Manassas, the parent company of American Kenco. American Kenco bought a 7.5-acre site in Front Royal's Happy Creek Industrial Park for $115,000. The company is investing $2.6 million to expand and convert the 25,000-square-foot building into a 40,000-square-foot factory.

Perry said that when it opens next spring, the Front Royal facility will employ 25 people, primarily in assembly and machine work. Within two years, the number of employes is expected to double, he said.

American Bank Stationery of Hunt Valley has agreed to sell its engraved stationery operation to U.S. Graphics Inc. of Annapolis for an undisclosed amount.

"The engraving operation no longer fits with the strategic direction of the company, which is to focus on printing personal bank checks and related documents," said Ed Haiser, president of American Bank Stationery.

U.S. Graphics is a holding company for American Marketing & Graphics, which will run the engraving operations.endqua