As I write this, snow is swirling outside my office windows and thoughts of agriculture and farming seem a long way off. In reality, agriculture and agri-retail do not rest and today is simply one stage in the production and planning process for our members and their customers.

It has now been two years since I assumed the role of board chair at CAAR and it has been a pleasure to work with the staff and my fellow board members. We’ve not been without challenges during this time; first to mind is the resignation of our CEO, Delaney Ross Burtnack, in July 2017.

That set into motion a recruiting process that culminated in January with the selection of our new executive director, Mitch Rezansoff. Reflecting on the time Delaney spent with CAAR, it’s interesting how our business mirrors that of our members.

Delaney laid the foundation, the crop plan you might say, for the future of CAAR. We now look to Mitch to bring those efforts to fruition. Mitch brings some great skills to CAAR and I, as a member of the board, look forward to working with him in the coming months.

Mitch and his team will focus on growing CAAR to represent all members, whether that member is a line company or a single independent. It’s been a theme of mine during my tenure to ask you, our members, for your feedback and insight to mould CAAR into an organization that serves the needs of agri-retailers across our nation.

If CAAR is not the association that you think it should be, I ask: What have you done about it? If you say our association is not necessary in today’s business climate, you are saying that having one voice to speak for agri-retail is not important. You are saying that telling government and society of the positive things agriculture and agri-retail do for our economy, environment and society is not important. You are content to allow persons, governments and special interest groups to speak for our livelihood and the people that we serve.

I want you to know that is not the vision of the staff and board members of CAAR. We strongly believe in the value agri-retail brings to all aspects of agriculture and our Canadian society. Do not sit on the sideline allowing someone else to speak for you, get involved! Get involved with CAAR – as a member, on a committee, on the board. Let your voice be heard as one of many.

Get involved with CAAR – as a member, on a committee, on the board. Let your voice be heard as one of many.

In closing, I welcome your incoming board chair, Don Kitson. The level of knowledge and passion Don has for our industry is to be envied, and I look forward to working with him as a member of the CAAR board. Finally, to the staff of CAAR, thank you for your dedication, especially these past months as you worked to lead our organization during the recruitment of Mitch. I am proud of your efforts and appreciate everything you have done to make my time as Chair that much easier.

Thank you for allowing me to serve,

Martin Kiefer
CAAR Board Chair

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