The Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers honoured five Canadian ag retailers for their outstanding achievements in business, community and stewardship. The winners received their awards in the company of their peers during ag retail’s biggest night of the year: the 12th annual CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet, part of the 2019 CAAR Conference held this month in Winnipeg, MB.

“The CAAR Choice Awards program is our opportunity to recognize individuals and companies who have succeeded in making a difference,” said Mitch Rezansoff, Executive Director of CAAR. “They are among the leaders who are already, or who will become, integral in recognizing opportunities for our industry now and in the future.”

The CAAR’s Choice Awards is the only awards program that recognizes the vital contributions Canadian ag retailers make to the agriculture industry in Canada, to their communities and to environmental stewardship. Each year, CAAR recognizes retailers in the following 5 categories: 4R Nutrient Stewardship Retailer of the Year, Agronomist of the Year, the Chairman’s Award, Retailer of the Year and the Retailer Hall of Fame Award.

The CAAR’s Choice Awards Winners (Recognized for 2018)

4R Nutrient Stewardship Agri-Retailer: Nutrien Ag Solutions

Award Sponsored by Fertilizer Canada

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Agri-Retailer award recognizes one CAAR member team that has fully embraced the adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship into their business practices.

Nutrien Ag Solutions has shown tremendous leadership in environmental sustainability through the adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship into all levels of their business. The company launched an immensely successful 4R pilot program for their business in 2017 and reported approximately 135,000 acres under the 4R framework.

All managers of agronomic services at Nutrien Ag Solutions are 4R-designated agronomists, their CPAs make 4R plans with their customers and the company has integrated the 4R training into their level 1 and 2 agronomy programs. Nutrien Ag Solutions has received numerous compliments about their adoption of 4R from grower customers who enjoyed learning more about 4R principles and the impact of 4R on their farms. CAAR congratulates Nutrien Ag Solutions for bringing the economic, environmental and social benefits of 4R to your customers.

Agronomist of the Year: Taralea Simpson, Manitoba

Award Sponsored by Simplot

The Agronomist of the Year award recognizes a CAAR member agronomist who consistently exceeds expectations through dedication to their customers and their agronomic knowledge.

Taralea Simpson of Shur-Gro Farm Services Inc. was presented with CAAR’s Agronomist of the Year award, recognizing over 20 years of providing outstanding service and agronomic advice to her customers. Described as honest, reliable, courteous and responsible, Taralea is a true leader who is both an invaluable trusted advisor to her customers and a mentor to young agronomists.

Simpson is known among her customers and colleagues for her expertise and enthusiasm for ag technology, crop protection practices and for the well of priceless knowledge of the history of customer operations, fields and soil conditions she possesses. Simpson is celebrated not only for her technical prowess, but for her dedication to excellent customer service and always considering her customers’ best interests first and foremost in every decision she makes in the field.

Chairman’s Award: Grant Larocque, Saskatchewan

Chosen by CAAR’s Board Chair, the Chairman’s award is given to an individual who is a strong supporter of the Association and the broader ag retail industry.

Grant Larocque of Orchard Transport is an active and passionate supporter of ag retail in Canada, and this is perfectly demonstrated by his longstanding support of CAAR. Grant has served on CAAR’s Board of Directors since 20111 in numerous positions, including communication chair, vice chair, board chair and past chair.

Larocque is known for keeping a level head in turbulent times, and always brings a positive outlook to his work with CAAR in the face of challenges such as industry consolidation. Larocque excels at building bridges between different players in the industry and working with competitors in a way that is mutually beneficial. He is a true gentleman, demonstrating respect to everyone he meets. Larocque is stepping down from the CAAR board this year to focus on his role with Orchard Transport. CAAR extends its sincere thanks to Larocque for his years of service to the organization.

Retailer of the Year: South Country Co-op, Alberta

Award Sponsored by Bayer CropScience Inc. 

The Retailer of the Year award was established in 2008 and recognizes one CAAR member that went above and beyond to serve its customers.

CAAR’s Retailer of the Year, South Country Co-op, operates ag retail sites at 10 of its 19 locations throughout southern Alberta. Each site is unique in its offering but alike in their belief that their customer comes first. South Country was named CAAR’s Retailer of the Year for their excellence in customer service and satisfaction, business innovation, effective employee relations, safety and environmental stewardship and community and industry support.

South Country Co-op prides itself, among many achievements, on exceeding legislative requirements in regard to training, safety equipment and supplies, and for their investment in their staff and high staff retention. South Country’s staff are more than numbers on a spreadsheet. Employees are supported and encouraged to take ownership of the company brand and make choices that are best for the client and their fellow staff members. South Country Co-op is also active in the communities it serves, supporting numerous sports teams, ag shows, rodeos and many more community initiatives.

Retailer Hall of Fame: Wayne Deschouwer, Manitoba

Award Sponsored by Univar Canada

The Retailer Hall of Fame award was established in 2008 and recognizes an individual who has consistently demonstrated exceptional performance and dedication over time.

The 2018 Retailer Hall of Fame award is presented in memory of Wayne Deschouwer. Deschouwer had a long history in Manitoba’s ag retail sector and was taken from the ag community far too soon. Since 1994 Deschouwer had worked with Agrium as a fertilizer wholesaler to co-ops in Manitoba and Southeast Saskatchewan.

Throughout his career Deschouwer amassed an incredible amount of knowledge about ag retail in the province of Manitoba. Wherever he went within the province he could summon up details of the area’s farm customers, the competitive retail fertilizer structures, various facility capabilities and turnover capabilities. Along with his love for agriculture, Deschouwer was also known for his lifelong passion for and involvement with sports. He was a huge supporter of youth sports, devoting many hours to coaching hockey, and he was instrumental in the establishments of the Gladstone Lakers senior hockey team and the Gladstone Whips fastball team. 

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