The Communicator

An Exciting Time for The Communicator

Diving headfirst into producing the February issue of The Communicator after a holiday break is the perfect project to kick off the new year. Maybe it's the chill in the air, but I feel energized and eager to get to work on the five issues of the magazine we publish each year.

CAAR's Year in Preview

Thinking strategically, acting tactically.

Behind every successful endeavour is a well-thought-out strategic plan. In order to make effective short-term gains, forward-thinking companies and organizations base everything they do on eventually reaching milestone goals. CAAR is no different.

The 2019 CAAR Conference

It’s conference time and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome delegates to Winnipeg, Man. for two-and-a-half days of networking, professional development and industry insight.

This year marks CAAR’s 24th conference and, along with crowd favourites like the Pro-Ag Investments Auction and CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet, we are pleased to introduce some exciting new additions to the conference agenda, including Roundtable Discussions.

Retailer of the Year: Redfern Farm Services

Hearing they had won the 2017 Retailer of the Year award took manager Lane Wanless and his team at Redfern Farm Services, Virden location by surprise, but once it sunk in, they were thrilled. The prestigious award recognizes one CAAR member that went above and beyond to serve its customers, something the team at Virden pride themselves on.

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.

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.