View the 2019 CAAR Conference Agenda 

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Wednesday, February 13

Industry Updates
Wednesday, February 13   |   9:10 - 9:40 am

“Industry Update
Stay informed from our three industry reps discussing the current and upcoming issues in fertilizer, crop protection and seed and the impact it will have on the ag-retail industry.


Farmer Panel Discussion
Wednesday, February 13   |   10:30 - 11:30 am

Listen to our panel of farmers to help you gain a different perspective and adjust how you do business.
Farmer Panelists: TBA


Mental Health Awareness in the Ag-Retail Industry
Wednesday, February 13   |   11:40 am – 12:30 pm

Breaking Barriers in Agriculture: Can you imagine having one conversation that can change someone's life?

After sharing a live video last summer of her and her husband's mental health stories that created a conversation within and outside agriculture and around the world, Lesley will speak to her and her husband's journey together on mental wellness, how mental wellness has helped them, their team and farm, and the power behind how one conversation can break barriers and help save a life.

Lesley is the head and heart behind the blog and company, High Heels & Canola Fields with the goal of building community, creating conversation and help make agriculture stronger. She grew upon her family’s grain farm at Watrous, Saskatchewan and after gaining an education in marketing and accounting, went on to work in various marketing and branding positions in the ag sector, such as Cargill, ATB Financial, Farm Credit Canada and WorkHorse Hub.

Using her entrepreneurial spirit and the skills developed through her agribusiness career, she created a snack food business using the barley grown on her farm. In December 2015, she started her blog in hopes to dispel myths and bring consumers and farmers together. In 2017, she expanded her reach by becoming a co-host on What the Farm podcast which explores various topics in food and farming through real life conversations.

Advocating for mental health is near to her heart and in 2018, she was part of the #BellLetsTalk campaign and co-founded the Do More Agriculture Foundation whose mission is to break barriers and create a culture where all producers are encouraged, empowered and supported to take care of their mental well-being. She was recently recognized by the Regina YWCA with the Women of Distinction award for her contribution to the rural community for her advocacy in mental health. She isn’t afraid to tackle any conversations within agriculture and through storytelling, photography and her love of ag, she’s attracted a loyal fan base in the thousands across the world.

“Lesley Kelly


“James Cunningham

James Cunningham: CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet EntertainmentWednesday, February 13  |  9:00 – 10:00 pm

Following the CAAR's Choice Awards Ceremony, CAAR is pleased to present James Cunningham, your comedy entertainment who is equal parts comedian and foodie.

From the smash success of his award-winning Funny Money lectures to his nightly stints on comedy stages across North America, Cunningham is simply one of the best.

Featured on Just For Laughs, Halifax Comedy Fest, and Last Comic Standing for his stand up comedy, he is the host of Food Network Canada's hit show Eat St., which gives audiences a curbside view of North America's tastiest, messiest, and most irresistible street food.

Thursday, February 14

Unleashing Your Disruptive Behaviour
Thursday, February 14  |  8:10 - 9:10 am

The concept of “Disruptive Marketing” has become so buzz-wordy that we often mistake simply being “innovative” with being disrupting. Truly standing out in a tough economy, against monster-sized competition requires the use of part of our brains we don’t often access. In fact, we’ve been taught to suppress our disruptive behaviour since childhood — but now it’s time to harness those powers of disruption for the benefit of successes as entrepreneurs.

Tool Shed Brewing Company’s unique approach to disrupting the market has led to it being nominated for Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year; being named as Calgary’s “Top 40 under 40”; and the brewery’s position in the top five percent of breweries in North America.

After hearing Graham’s story and insights, you’ll walk away incredibly inspired and with a clear path to unleashing your own disruptive behaviour to transform your business.

Graham Sherman is a self-professed “high level geek” who has used his love of technology to help him master the craft of brewing artisan beer. Together with his partner, Graham launched the Tool Shed Brewery four years ago, and has never looked back. Speaking on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Graham’s passion comes through in every talk.

Prior to starting Tool Shed, Graham and his Tool Shed partner worked on contracts for the Canadian and US governments and military forces, installing encrypted, tactical communication networks. By day, they rolled around Afghanistan in armoured vehicles, “geeking out” in the world of satellite communications. By night, they aimed their obsessive, high-level thinking at mastering everyday tasks such as coffee, learning to control their homes in Canada remotely with their iPhones… and finally, perfecting batches of beer.

Now sold in over 1000 locations in Western Canada, Tool Shed has its 15,000 square foot headquarters in Calgary, and the team behind the brand has also been nominated as Canadian Entrepreneur of the year, the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, with programs in 145 cities in 60 countries.
Graham Sherman


Panel Discussion: Mergers & Acquisitions
Thursday, February 14  |  9:20 - 10:20 am

“M&A Panel
CAAR has assembled a panel of ag industry leaders from Bayer CropScience Inc., Corteva AgriScience, BASF Canada and Nutrien who have recently experienced mergers and acquisitions. Gain insight from this power panel as they share perspectives on the evolving ag industry and the future of ag retail.

You won’t find this unique group of leaders outside the CAAR Conference, don’t miss this rare opportunity to engage the panel with your ideas and questions.


Does Your Lender Understand Your Business Needs?
Thursday, February 14   |   11:00 - 11:50 am

Learn how to communicate with your financial institution so they better understand your business needs and also determine what they're able to do for you.

Dean Klippenstine, CPA, CA, is a Partner and Business Advisor with MNP’s Agriculture team. Working out of the Regina office, Dean delivers assurance and tax services as well as tailored business advice to help his clients achieve their goals.

Dean draws on a wealth of knowledge to deliver services and solutions that help clients keep their agricultural businesses current, competitive and profitable. During his professional career, he has consistently focused on the agriculture industry, including day-to-day operations of his family farm.

Dean served on several industry-related boards and committees, including Global Ag Risk Solutions, the National Safety Net Advisory Committee for Agriculture and the Provincial Farm Support Review Committee. He also served a term as the Saskatchewan vice president for the Western Canadian Wheat Growers. 

“Dean Klippenstine


Sylvain Charlebois

Keynote Presentation: The Future of Canadian AgricultureThursday, February 14   |   12:45 – 1:45 pm

It appears plant-based dieting is the future, as the latest report in The Lancet suggests. Reminding us that eating more sustainability is critical for the betterment of our planet, but what does this mean for the future Canadian agriculture? Dr. Sylvain Charlebois will use the consumer as a starting point for a conversation about Canadian farming’s new normal and how Canadian agri-retailers and farmers can address the new landscape head on.

Strengthen your knowledge through Dr. Charlebois' presentation, with his current research in food distribution, security and safety, 'The Food Professor' will share insight from his studies in the ag industry.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a Professor in food distribution and policy in the Faculties of Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is also the Interim Scientific Director of the Institute of Agri-food Analytics, also located in Halifax. He is as well the former Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. While at the University of Guelph, he was also the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Business and Economics.

Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. He is one of the world's most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability.

He has authored five books on global food systems, his most recent one published in 2017 by Wiley-Blackwell entitled “Food Safety, Risk Intelligence and Benchmarking”. He has also published over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles in several academic publications. Furthermore, his research has been featured in several newspapers, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star.

Dr. Charlebois sits on a few company boards, and supports many organizations as a special advisor, including some publicly traded companies. Charlebois is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Business Scientific Institute, based in Luxemburg. He conducts policy analysis, evaluation, and demonstration projects for government agencies and major foundations focusing on agricultural policies and community development both in Canada and in development settings. Dr. Charlebois is a member of the Global Food Traceability Centre’s Advisory Board based in Washington DC, and a member of the National Scientific Committee of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Ottawa. He has testified on several occasions before parliamentary committees on food policy-related issues as an expert witness. He has been asked to act as an advisor on food and agricultural policies in many Canadian provinces, in the United States, Brazil, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, China, Great Britain, Finland and the Netherlands.