This #CAARCON update is brought to you by InterAg.

The first full day of the 2018 CAAR Conference was a smashing success. The first full day of the 2018 CAAR Conference was a smashing success! Thank you to all sponsors, speakers and attendees who made this day possible.

Panel Discussion: Understanding Farmers' Needs and Expectations

This discussion was the perfect event to start our conference speaker program – four farmers from across Canada addressed their considerations when choosing which retailers they partner with.

“As much as possible we try to use agronomy services from retailers,” says panelist Kevin Serfas. “The kinds of sales representatives I like to deal with are the ones who will honestly tell me ‘we have something that might work for you, but there are better options out there.’ Those are the people I want to build a long-term relationship with.”

The hour-long discussion sparked conversations among the audience, and left conference with lots of information to take back to their teams.

“The gold standard in ag retail today is to become a trusted advisor for farmers – that’s what we’re training our staff to try to achieve,” says Eric Sievers, sales manager with International Raw Materials. “Every panelist came back to relationships. It gave me a lot to think about in terms of the service we’re providing, and how we can build those trusted advisor relationships.”

Innovation Showdown

Markus Weber from LandView Drones returned to defend his title as reigning champion at our second annual Innovation Showdown, but North Star Systems potted the win with their creative use of hockey jerseys, audience giveaways and music to promote their Tattle software.

Congratulations to presenters Curtis Kolibab and Kyle Bortis from North Star Systems - the 2018 Innovation Showdown champion!

Along with a plaque and bragging rights, North Star Systems received a $100 gift card to gift to one independent retailer of their choice in attendance. North Star chose to give to gift card to Rack Petroleum, who they cited as instrumental in the process of developing their product.

Industry Update: What You and Your Growers Need to Know

Representatives from Koch Agronomic Services, Fertilizer Canada, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) and Cereals Canada took to the stage to update attendees with the latest information on industry developments including updates in fertilizer research, sustainability and market access issues.

Rigas Karamanos, senior agronomist with Koch Agronomic Services updated the room on changes to Canadian Food Inspection Agency standards for fertilizer regulations, and encouraged attendees to remember that if it isn’t science-based, it isn’t necessarily reliable.

“Remember that anecdotes are stories, not science. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says Karamanos.

Susie Miller from the CRSC outlined the international sustainability standards the CRSC has based it metrics platform on and gave a preview of some of their survey results which will be published later this year.

“There will be increasing pressure to prove that grain production is sustainable” says Miller. “It’s not just about using good practices, it’s about results.” The CRSC uses three sustainability factors, Social Responsibility, Environmental Sustainability and Economic Viability.

Dr. Karen Churchill discussed the key priorities of Cereals Canada, including proactively addressing market access issues.

“We have more and more regulations popping up around the world,” says Churchill. “Its very important that we stay on top of global practices and communicate these changes to growers. So we have looked at maximum Residue Limits in our eight biggest markets and compared them to Canadian regulations.”

Churchill stresses that it is crucial to communicate to growers that what chemicals they decide to apply can have real consequences on export market access.

CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction

Congratulations to the all the bid winners CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction and thank you to everyone who participated in this spirited affair - always a conference favourite.

The highest bidders came away with some amazing items including a variety of quality crop input products, equipment and services. Thank to all of our generous donors who provided such a fantastic lineup of auction items – you’ve helped make the 2018 Pro-Ag Investments Auction another resounding success!

CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet

CAAR was proud to recognize the outstanding achievements and excellence of this year’s CAAR’s Choice Award Winners at our annual CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet dinner.

Each winner was celebrated for their commitment to business excellence, sustainability and their local communities. It was truly a pleasure to celebrate each of these exemplary members, they give all of us in the agriculture industry in the something to be proud of.

Congratulations to all of our 2017 Choice Awards Winners:

4R Nutrient Stewardship Retailer of the Year: Co-operative Retailing System, Western Canada
Award Sponsored by Fertilizer Canada
Agronomist of the Year: Barry Mankewich, Manitoba
Award Sponsored by Bayer CropScience Inc.
Chairman’s Award: Bob McNaughton, Ontario
Retailer Hall of Fame: Pattie Ganske, Alberta
Award Sponsored by Univar Canada
Retailer of the Year: Redfern Farm Services, Virden, Manitoba
Award Sponsored by J.R. Simplot AgriBusiness

Keep your eye out for the April issue of The Communicator, featuring individual profiles on each of the award winners.

Day Three Preview

Join us for the engaging and educational speaker sessions during the final day of the 2018 CAAR Conference.

8:30 – 9:30 am: Possibility Thinking

sponsored by Farm Credit Canada

Candace Hill and Isaac LeClair from Agriculture More Than Ever share practical strategies for retailers to challenge their marketing mindset and create meaningful customer interactions using social media.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Panel Discussion: Selling the Business of Agronomy

sponsored by ADAMA

Three retailers who have been successful building a business model that includes agronomy as a for-fee service share their advice for selling and designing the business of agronomy.

12:45 – 1:45 pm: Keynote Speaker: Donald Cooper - Accelerate your Business

sponsored by Global Ag Risk Solutions

International business coach Donald Cooper will examine strategies for retailers to create, deliver and communicate compelling customer value and experiences.

Click here to view the full CAAR Conference Agenda

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