CAAR is the only national association focused on defending, protecting, and enhancing agri-retail businesses in Canada, bridging crop input sectors, business size, and business location to help agri-retailers remain the go-to expert for their customers. CAAR had many opportunities to support, defend, and bring value to our membership in 2016–2017. Here are the highlights of how CAAR made your membership dollars work in the past year.
CAAR SHAPES NATIONAL POLICIES
CAAR continues to be an active contributor to national policy and code development, such as:
- Sitting on the Maximum Residue Limits Steering Committee and chairing the Communication Subcommittee that is developing the communications strategy for this national policy.
- Working closely with Fertilizer Canada and agri-retailer members in development of a new release of the Anhydrous Ammonia Code of Practice, released January 1, 2017.
- Vocal participant in the Journey to Public Trust Summit in 2016 that culminated in the 2016 Canadian Public Trust Research report, available online.
- CAAR joined the facility licensing working group under the Canadian Fertilizer Products Forum, as they work through considerations for a fertilizer facility licensing structure.
CAAR HELPS SHAPE REGULATIONS
CAAR has participated in multiple regulatory consultations, including:
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations consultations and member updates on Parts 1–5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 16, primarily impacting anhydrous ammonia retailers and farmers;
- Environmental Emergency Regulations, advising members of the opportunity to comment and working with industry counterparts to submit a consistent response to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
CAAR IS COMMITTED TO SAFETY
In 2016–17, CAAR continued to build relationships and participate in discussions supporting continuous improvement in safety, keeping the retailers’ needs front of mind:
- CAAR has been an active participant on the Fertilizer Safety and Security Council (FSSC) and the Safety, Training & TDG Subcommittee. CAAR also successfully expanded retailer representation on the FSSC Ammonia Code Technical Subcommittee.
- CAAR is in regular contact with Transport Canada inspectors in multiple regions, discussing emerging issues and communicating compliance challenges regularly to members.
- CAAR partnered with Fertilizer Canada to develop the updated Anhydrous Ammonia: Safety & The Farmer – TDG Certification training course. Supported by Fertilizer Canada, the online TDG certification for farmers is now available at no charge.
- CAAR has also relaunched its Anhydrous Ammonia: Retailer Safe Handling & TDG Certification training course thanks to continued sponsorship from CF Industries. The new course features enhanced descriptions and photos, and a more streamlined training platform.
- CAAR renewed the Nurse Tank Safety Council of Canada in 2016, gathering ammonia industry expertise together in an advisory council that has overseen development of the revised Quality Control Manual under the Nurse Tank Safety Program.
CAAR DEFENDS RETAILERS’ BUSINESS PRACTICES
- CAAR has both led and supported multiple initiatives over the past year related to extensive changes proposed for the anhydrous ammonia sector through the B620 Standards, published by the Canadian Standards Association. CAAR continues to work closely with retailer members and Fertilizer Canada.
CAAR SUPPORTS RETAILERS WHERE THEY LIVE
CAAR provided regional and company-specific support to its retailer members by:
- Offering regional support on issues that members have brought forward, including bi-annual discussions on the Manitoba Winter Nutrient Restrictions, and joining Croplife Canada and other industry stakeholders in meeting with Manitoba’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Cathy Cox, to discuss the possibility of overturning the weed control ban in Manitoba.
- Supporting individual members regarding concern with transmission lines being built next to an ammonium nitrate/anhydrous ammonia facility in Ontario; liaising with Transport Canada on behalf of a Saskatchewan member fined for incorrect documentation on their ammonia tank; and liaising with fire code authorities in Saskatchewan regarding enforcement concerns.
CAAR PROMOTES SUSTAINABILITY AND BEST PRACTICES
- CAAR recognized excellence in agri-retail with the CAAR’s Choice Awards, awarding the J.R. Simplot Agronomist of the Year award to Laurie Manshreck of Paterson Grain; the Bayer CropScience Retailer of the Year award to Top Gro Agro, the Retailer Hall of Fame award in remembrance of Art Funk of Rolla Ag, and the Chairman’s award to longtime board member David Thompson.
- 4R Nutrient Stewardship program, awarding the Fertilizer Canada 4R Nutrient Stewardship Agri-Retailer Award to Agris Co-operative in 2017. CAAR also joined the Manitoba 4R Memorandum of Understanding Working Group, and the 4R Metrics and Adoption working group in 2017.
- CAAR actively supports the Canadian Field Print Initiative committee, and invited a panel of program participants to speak at the 2017 CAAR Conference.
- Keep It Clean campaign, established to maintain international market access for grains and oilseeds.
- CAAR attends the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) meetings and provides updates to members.
- CAAR attends the Seed Sector Roundtable meetings and provides updates to members.
CAAR SUPPORTS INDUSTRY LEARNING AND NETWORKING
- CAAR hosts the only national conference focused on the business of agri-retail. The 2017 theme of “Enhancing Expertise. Building Trust.” featured insight on farmers’ motivations, economic drivers impacting agri-retail, sustainability initiatives, and customer relationships.
- CAAR is an ongoing partner in Agriculture More Than Ever, a valuable agriculture awareness campaign, and proud to promote the importance of being an Agvocate in your own community.
- CAAR staff and directors have attended a number of industry events on behalf of the agri-retail sector: Fertilizer Canada Parliamentary Forum, Ontario Agri-Business Association Conference, Fertilizer Canada Conference, Grow Canada, and the Agricultural Institute of Canada Conference.
CAAR SAVES ITS MEMBERS TIME AND MONEY
CAAR continues to review and improve its CAAR Perk$ programs to leverage association buying power for better member rates.
In 2016–17, CAAR:
- Introduced new discounted products through CAAR Mart, including the UN 1005 placard in a range of sizes, and a renewed member agreement with MacMor Industries.
- Grew the Purolator program in 2016–17, offering more members access to group rates unavailable to smaller companies.
- Introduced Humaniqa in 2016, offering members access to this robust online HR support database for only $100 per year, saving nearly 80% on the regular annual rate.
CAAR BUILT AWARENESS OF CAREERS IN AGRI-RETAIL
CAAR collaborated with the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council to launch the pilot phase of the retailer-specific AgriJobMatch job board in 2016, and attended five military events to raise awareness of the career opportunities in agri-retail.
CAAR was also proud to report its first successful placement of a military candidate through the Operation Ag Careers program.
CAAR IS ADAPTING TO SERVE ITS MEMBERS
In order to better support CAAR’s focus on member outreach and services, CAAR restructured its team in 2016, and established a Membership Value Committee, chaired by CAAR Executive member Stan Loewen, to review and discuss membership structure and services.
CAAR grew its membership in 2016–17 despite significant consolidation, and was pleased to welcome several new retail businesses into the fold.
CAAR IS FOCUSED ON TIMELY, RELEVANT COMMUNICATIONS
CAAR’s communications services are a critical conduit connecting agri-retailers directly to information sources from industry and regulators that would otherwise be limited.
In 2016, CAAR increased its communications touchpoints with members, introducing a bi-weekly schedule for The CAAR Network, CAAR’s e-newsletter that filters industry news and events to focus on information relevant to agri-retailers; as well as providing timely and relevant member alert updates on critical issues as they developed.
Under the guidance of the Communications Committee, chaired by CAAR Executive member Grant Larocque, CAAR’s communications team also upgraded caar.org, and renewed the CAAR Communicator with deeper insight into retail-specific topics.
CAAR VALUES YOUR SUPPORT THROUGH PRO-AG INVESTMENTS
Through the generous support of CAAR members through the CAAR Pro-Ag Investments, CAAR was able raise some of the funds necessary to support the many lobbying, advocacy, and regulatory consultation initiatives listed above, as well as:
- Offer agronomy scholarships of $1,000, awarded to students at the University of Manitoba and Olds College in Alberta;
- Conduct research initiatives, such as the impact of increased ammonia tank testing frequency, to support CAAR’s lobbying positions;
- Upgrade CAAR’s retailer and farmer TDG certification courses, and the Quality Control Manual for the Nurse Tank Safety Program;
- Upgrade the caar.org website and online CAAR Mart system;
- Supplement support for Operation Ag Careers through the initial development and pilot phase;
- Build awareness of industry initiatives such as Keep It Clean, 4R Nutrient Stewardship, and the numerous industry initiatives CAAR is tracking or actively participating in.