The CAAR Communicator

October Issue – See All

By The Numbers

2 - The number of key ways employers can better motivate employees.

4 - This is the average percent increase in crop production gained by farmers that use
precision agriculture technology.

6.9 - The billion-dollar amount of revenues in the Canadian organic market.

12 - As in the number of grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule, the expected amount of greenhouse gas reduction by 2030 via Canada’s upcoming Clean Fuel Standard.

34,318 - The total ascent distance—in metres—CAAR Board member Blaine Cochrane has achieved while mountain climbing around the world. That is “ascent” only. He still had to climb down.

42,000,000 - The amount of money the Government of Canada recently invested in the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, raising concerns that the regulatory process has become politicalized.

65,472,516,904 - Total operating costs for all Canadian farms in 2019.

Agroecology: Who's definition is it?

Despite being the trendy buzzword in agriculture, agroecology is defined differently by country and organization. Even Canada has multiple visions.

CAAR Communicator: Alarm Bells are Ringing

An announcement by the Government of Canada of a delay in changing glyphosate MRLs and its new financial investment in PMRA has the agricultural community worried of a new slippery slope—politics.

It is Time to Stop the Fear Mongering

Growing with marketing campaigns of agriculture food products in Canada and internationally is the increased utilization of fear as a marketing weapon. Statements of non-GMO, grass fed only, organic and antibiotic-free create doubt and fear in the minds of the consumer. Are the products I purchase and consume less nutritious or harmful to our families?

CAAR Communicator: The Power of Technology

New study shows how advanced technology farming can provide environmental and financial benefits.


CAAR’s 27th Annual Conference
Currently CAAR is planning to host an in-person conference to be held February 8-10, 2022 in Edmonton. The theme of our 27th Annual Conference is Resilience: Adapt & Advance. CAAR staff and Conference Committee are continuing to finalize the agenda roster of speakers. Once finalized, this information will be shared in the CAAR Network at and via Twitter (@CdnAgRetail). Those interested in sponsorship opportunities or exhibiting at the conference, please contact Scott Van Alstyne via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 204-989-9305.

Board of Directors Nominations Now Open
CAAR is now accepting nominations for its 2022-23 Board of Directors which will be confirmed during our AGM—date and time to be announced. Lending your time and expertise to the CAAR Board gives you an active and rewarding role in shaping your industry. For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to nominate yourself or a colleague.

The 2022 CAAR Awards - Nominations Are Now Open
The CAAR Awards highlight the achievements and dedication of CAAR members who serve their community and the ag retail industry. The awards celebrate excellence in various areas of retail management, agronomy, 4R nutrient stewardship, and lifetime achievements. The categories for the CAAR Awards are: Agronomist of the Year; Retailer of the Year; 4R Nutrient Stewardship Agri-Retailer Award; and the Retailer Hall of Fame. For more information about award nominating, contact Lady Gabilo at 204-989-9304, by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

2021 – 22 CAAR Membership
CAAR would like to thank all members who have already paid their membership fees for 2021-22. We would also like to welcome new CAAR Members, and Arva Grain Corp. CAAR is the only national association representing the interests of and addressing critical issues facing ag retailers today and is entrenched in the issues that impact your business—making a difference for our ag retailer and supplier members.

If you have not yet renewed your membership, payment can be made online or by cheque, sent to the CAAR office. For more details about CAAR membership contact Scott Van Alstyne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 204-989-9305.

Province of Manitoba Engagement Session
CAAR staff participated in an Engagement Session for Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture. The object was to provide input and support of Manitoba’s preparation for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture July meeting.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
The CAAR Advocacy Committee initiated a direct meeting to better understand and provide retailer perspective to Potential Over-Formulation of N [Nitrogen] and P [Phosphorus] in Fertilizers sold or imported into Canada. CFIA has identified instances of over-formulation of product nutrients identified. The Committee reached out to better understand the rational and support the confirmation and breadth of the potential issue. CAAR Committee members will participate in the CFIA working group providing retail industry’s input to inform the environmental safety assessment and any ensuing risk management options that are deemed necessary.

Rural Broadband with the University of Guelph
CAAR is working on the Regional and Rural Broadband (R2B2) project from the University of Guelph. We are reviewing its mandate and determining how CAAR can support the Canadian Centre of Excellence in Broadband Data Analytics.

Fertilizer Canada and CAAR Interaction
The two groups are working on a Liquid Storage Working Group and a 4R Working Group – Prairie and Ontario CCA board engagement. The groups are ensuring proper alignment of communications and advocacy support, and positioning 4R fertilizer management principles to address GHG’s from farm field applications.

CAAR Training Committee
Committee is working on the development of alternative training solutions (due to COVID-19 constraints), supporting continuing education and certification associated to ammonia handling.

Cereals Canada MRL Assessment Committee
This meeting assessed the trade risks for pest control products of interest proposed for use in the 2022 growing season as per the Canada Grains Council Domestic Use Policy. Another meeting of the committee will be organized in December 2021 to review additional pest control products.

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Banner for Selling Today involves understanding the Evolving Customer Journey

Dr. Scott Downey, Director of the Centre for Food and Agricultural Business at Purdue University, coordinates Purdue’s sales and marketing degree program.

Downey recently spoke about how selling is evolving, how buyers make decisions, The Customer Journey Map, and thoughts about serving customers in the future.

Farming has evolved. There are now bigger farms, more complex farms, and decisions made on farms have evolved as well. 100 years ago, the focus of how products were sold and marketed centered around explaining about the product. Today, the salesperson should know a customer base well enough using data to be able to predict their needs before they offer to solve a problem with a solution.

Buyer’s decisions can be understood by understanding three questions all humans have:

  1. Where are they right now?
  2. Where are they trying to get to? and
  3. How are they using their resources to get there?

All human behavior is based on the answers to these three questions. The resources used to achieve needs (where are they trying to get to?) are finite, and fall under four categories:

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Knowledge, and
  4. Relationships.

Humans, however, are by nature irrational, they might not always know where they want to be, and what resources to use to get there, so customers may elect to take shortcuts. Being a good predictive sales representative requires the ability to predict where customers will take these shortcuts. Downey used an example to demonstrate.

“If you ask me what my goals are at the beginning of the year, I’ll tell you I want lose weight. But at the very same time, irrational as though it may be, I like to eat pie. Being predictive is understanding when will I invest resources towards pursuing my goal of losing weight, and when will I invest resources towards my goal of eating pie… For you to be able to predict which one of those I’m going to do means you have to know me really, really well. Just asking me won’t be enough. That means you have got to know me better than me. It means figuring out what are those motivators that determine where I’m going.”

Nowadays, decisions about the value of a solution is not made based on the benefits of the solutions versus the cost. Buying decisions are instead made based on the perceptions of the benefits versus the perceptions of the cost. It is only after the buying decision is made when the perceived benefits are compared to the actual benefits. Customers understand that a sales pitch showcases what the benefits could be, as well as the best possible scenarios. The only thing they know for sure is the cost. The customer then must weigh the perceived benefits with the actual cost, which isn’t easy.

To predict the customer’s behavior, it is important to understand the Buyer Decision Model.

The model begins when the buyer recognizes a need, a gap between where they are and where they want to be. They then invest time to learn what their options are to close that gap. After determining possible options, each will be evaluated before the buyer makes a choice. After the choice is made (the most difficult part) the buyer will reevaluate to confirm whether a choice was the correct one or not. A buyer could be overwhelmed at any stage of this process, and if they are, they may elect to take shortcuts.

The Customer Journey Map is a process of understanding complex customers. A key is to not begin by mentioning any specific company or product to separate the process of looking for a solution and a sales pitch. It is important to understand the customer journey in a complex operation goes beyond just production (fertility, crop plan, seed selection, harvest, etc.), but includes operations (land, rent arrangements, offices, equipment, etc.), business (strategy, marketing, financing, etc.), and people (agronomy, hiring, supervision, etc.). In each of these areas, the seller can identify the buyer’s experiences in each area and record their pains and gains to prioritize those into a way to better serve them.

These techniques require the seller to be genuinely curious about the customer’s business, connect with the customer’s goals, understand how to measure outcomes that are important to the customer, draw insights from the customer to innovate, and express gratitude to the customer.

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  • CAAR Communicator: Alarm Bells are Ringing An announcement by the Government of Canada of a delay in changing glyphosate MRLs and its new financial investment in PMRA has the agricultural community worried of a new slippery slope—politics. There’s somethin...
  • Get to Know the CAAR Board: Blaine Cochrane CAAR Communicator chatted with Blaine Cochrane, Sales Manager with Shur-Gro Farm Services in Brandon, Manitoba to learn about the person and career, his leadership within the ag retail sector, and why he decided to b...
  • The Value of Ag Tech to the Retail Channel At the 2021 Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers Conference, Todd Ormann recently spoke about his business and commercial development with global Telus Agriculture partners and the value of ag tech to the retail ch...

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