CAAR Communicator

Never Stop Learning

This May, I’ll celebrate a decade of working with CAAR, and with that also a decade of working in the agriculture industry. There are so many things that inspire me in this industry, but none more than the shared commitment to innovation and learning. I see this accomplished in so many ways, both formal and informal, everything from ongoing education through post-secondary institutions to the multitude of engaging and informative discussions on social media. Events like the CAAR Conference, as well as the numerous tradeshows and conferences hosted throughout the year, provide a wealth of information and opportunity to learn from friends and colleagues.

CAAR Can Help

It’s been a fast paced couple of months since I joined the CAAR team in January. Already, the 2018 CAAR Conference has been successfully completed, while other areas of focus, such as the negotiations with Transport Canada regarding anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks, continue at the time of writing.

Agronomist of the Year: Barry Mankewich

The winner of the 2017 Agronomist of the Year award has worked in a variety of roles in his 40-year career, but Barry Mankewich has always been happiest when helping his customers in the field.

“I love plant nutrition, crop protection and everything to do with agronomy,” says Mankewich, who has been working as an agronomist with GJ Chemical Company Ltd. at their Arnaud, Man. location since 2006.

4R Nutrient Stewardship Agri-Retailer: Co-operative Retailing System

Trish Meyers, knowledge and innovation manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), believes that 4R Nutrient Stewardship allows agri-retailers to steer the conversation about sustainability in agriculture in a way that is good for their farmer customers.

“Farmers have been using 4R practices for a long time, we just haven’t had a name for it,” says Meyers. “The 4R program gives us a way to quantify what farmers are doing and lets us be in the driver’s seat to tell our good news story.”

Retailer Hall of Fame: Pattie Ganske

When she first started working part-time at Parkland Fertilizers in Wetaskiwin, Alta., Pattie Ganske didn’t know she was paving the way for woman in agri-retail and agriculture.

More than three decades later, her excellence in business, participation on numerous boards, including multiple terms on the CAAR board, and unwavering dedication to agriculture advocacy have earned her the 2017 Retailer Hall of Fame award.

Chairman’s Award: Bob McNaughton

The winner of CAAR’s 2017 Chairman’s Award has been a force in the Ontario fertilizer industry throughout his career, which has spanned more than 40 years. Although his business achievements are numerous and impressive, it is his commitment to giving back to the industry and his active, vocal and passionate support for CAAR that earned Bob McNaughton the Chairman’s Award.

Concerning Products of Concern

Agri-retailers can support market access by helping growers Keep it Clean.

Maximum residue limits (MRLs) are playing an increasingly important role in the acceptance of Canadian agriculture commodities in domestic and export markets. However, one of the challenges growers face is that the limits are not always uniform across markets, or they may not yet be established in export markets.

Canadian growers must continue to follow best application practices to keep residues within acceptable limits and markets open. To do so, growers need to know which products can cause concern in certain markets.

A Growing Problem

Herbicide resistance has been increasing across Canada for the past four decades, with resistant weeds now found on an estimated 38 million acres of cropland in Western Canada.

According to Hugh Beckie, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the rising percentage of cropland affected by herbicide resistant weeds is showing no signs of slowing down.

Beckie was part of a team that conducted three rounds of prairie weed surveys in 2001-2003, 2007-2009 and 2014-2017. During each period, the team surveyed one of the three Prairie provinces per season. “Across the Prairies, we quickly found that the more we looked, the more resistance we discovered,” he says.

When Saskatchewan was last evaluated in 2015, the team found that 57 per cent of surveyed cropland had weeds that were resistant to one or more herbicide modes of action.

Stepping up to the Plate

Agri-retailers can play a more prominent role in sustainability.

Western Canadian organizations dedicated to promoting sustainable farming practices are struggling to survive, due to a significant decline in memberships, event attendance and overall interest.

These challenges have recently forced organizations like the Northern Prairies Ag Innovation Alliance (NPAIA) to fold due to lack of funding from membership and government sources.

NPAIA had been a farmer-directed organization that promoted conservation and sustainability on farms, with representation in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota.

CAAR’s Ammonia Committee

CAAR and Fertilizer Canada are working together to address regulatory challenges on behalf of the industry.

Just days after Mitch Rezansoff joined CAAR as executive director in January, new requirements for ammonia nurse, applicator and highway tanks came into effect under CSA B620-14/B622-14. Rezansoff met these updates head-on and went to work on behalf of membership, attempting to secure an extension for compliance. Rezansoff describes the experience as a steep learning curve, but a necessary one, given the timeliness of the issue. 

CAAR’s 2018 Year in Preview

Developing a comprehensive strategy for the future of CAAR.

With a new year comes new opportunities for CAAR to better serve its membership, craft solutions to industry challenges and reach new stakeholders across the agri-retail industry. To accomplish that goal, CAAR is calling on all members to submit their feedback, priorities and ideas to shape the association’s focus in 2018.

Reflecting and Looking Forward

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.

Turning the Spotlight onto CAAR

As I’ve often heard said in our industry; it’s not enough to do a good job, you have to be seen doing a good job for it to really count. As a member-based association and advocate for the agri-retail sector, it’s part of CAAR’s role to share the news and stories of the good work being done by our members.

The 2018 CAAR Conference

Conference attendees have the invaluable opportunity to tap into the minds of their customers at the Understanding Farmers’ Needs and Expectations panel discussion.

Celebrate Canada's Agriculture Day at the Icebreaker Cocktail Reception

Once again, the CAAR Conference coincides with Canada’s Agriculture Day, created last year by Agriculture More Than Ever to highlight the ag industry and strengthen connections between consumers and the food production chain. Join us at the Icebreaker Cocktail Reception to kick off the conference and raise a glass to celebrate agriculture in Canada – and we have a lot to celebrate!

CAAR Pro-Ag Investments Auction

It wouldn’t be the CAAR Conference without CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction! Always a conference highlight, this annual event supports programming and advocacy, while helping to keep membership fees low.

CAAR Introduces Mitch Rezansoff as Executive Director

Mitch Rezansoff has a love for agriculture, a strong personal drive and an innovative spirit.

Having spent significant early life on his family’s farm in the Swan River Valley, Man., Mitch Rezansoff began developing a passion for agriculture at a young age. “I love watching animals, crops and the industry itself develop,” he says.

CAAR’s 2017 Year in Review

CAAR represented agri-retailers on a diverse range of issues in 2017.

In 2017, CAAR continued to focus on advocacy and created positive benefits for agri-retailers on numerous policy and compliance issues. Reflecting on the past year, CAAR is proud to have delivered on its mandate to advance and defend Canadian agri-retail.

“It is CAAR’s promise to you that we will continue working to ensure the collective voice of our membership is being heard and acted upon,” says Lynda Nicol, director of member services at CAAR.