CAAR’s Executive Director Mitch Rezansoff took a reprieve from the office to attend Ag in Motion 2018 (AIM18), just north of Saskatoon, SK. Read more for Rezansoff’s five key takeaways from the event, and his thoughts on how industry trends will impact ag retail and the broader agriculture industry.

From Mitch Rezansoff:

Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing Saskatchewan’s (Western Canada’s) Ag in Motion for the first time. As the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, it is imperative for me to connect with the ag industry stakeholders including current and prospective CAAR members, suppliers, partner associations, regulators and current and future farmers in an environment representative of the current state of agriculture production.

1. My immediate first impression was…

That I underestimated the impact four years of growth had on the size of this comprehensive agriculture production show. I would not be able to accomplish what I had planned in just one day; all three days would be required.

2: The business of agriculture is evolving.

Retailers and suppliers are evaluating how to best deliver products, services and solutions to farmers. We’re seeing a dynamic marketplace with mergers and acquisitions, new business models, product and service rationalization, divestitures, new business start-ups and product introductions, realignment of market share by company and re-positioning of resources to best serve the next generation farmer.
Ag associations representing farmers and industry must understand Canadian and International compliance and political nuances. Regulations and consumers attitudes impact ag production direct and indirect.

3. The impact of plant breeder rights.

The sheer volume of seed companies, hybrids and varieties, expansion of new cropping systems and international players demonstrates a model that works. When companies and plant breeders are provided a fair model, investment occurs. The benefits to the end user have been quickly realized with new hybrids and varieties introduced every year, and regional attributes are now being introduced.

4. There is opportunity for the ag industry to better align.

Seed, fertilizer, crop protection, equipment, precision technologies and data, finance, labor, logistics and compliance, just to name a few elements, all play a role in the success of a farm operation.
No one trusted advisor represents all aspects when supporting a farm. Farm managers rely on numerous trusted advisors to provide perspective and options. The more trusted advisors can align, understand each other’s offers and recognize mutual opportunities and benefits, the greater the opportunity to be acknowledged within the farm operation circle of trust.

5: Canadian agriculture production will remain a family business for the foreseeable future.

The dynamics are changing. Significant investment is underway seeking economies of scale, securing assets, managing risk, all demonstrating that a family farm is also a medium to large business operating like a manufacturer. Balancing between efficiencies and quality of life.
AIM18 also demonstrated the change of roles and decision makers on the family farm. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters and grandchildren play a role; all recognized and represented at the event. The end result is greater interest from young family members to return and create a family farm legacy.

Status quo is not an option.

Ag retailers play a significant role in supporting Canadian agriculture production. As farms and suppliers evolve, so must the retail operation. How best to anticipate the ag industry evolution and remain relevant is critical. Status quo is not an option.

The more we understand the future trends and needs of agriculture production, the better we will be positioned to serve and capitalize on opportunities.

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