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.
Alphonse Karr’s famous quote, “the more things change, the more they are the same” applies to the agriculture industry and will continue to in the future. CAAR is no different – while we remain committed to our areas of focus, at the same time, we are constantly evolving to ensure that our members’ changing needs are represented.
There are several issues that are on the minds of our members and therefore on the minds of the CAAR team. How these issues impact your business dictates CAAR’s engagement, response and proactive support to ensure that your business remains strong and sustainable.
Advocacy and Regulatory Compliance
Agri-retailers invest significant time and resources addressing federal, provincial, municipal and county requirements – warehousing, bulk liquid and anhydrous tanks, equipment, environmental regulations, emergency response action plans, yard site development, public and community engagement and staff training, to name only a few. All must be demonstrated, documented and available.
For many agri-retailers, human resources is an issue that keeps them up at night. Retailers must consider employee recruitment, development, retention and recognition; establishing training and certification plans; cultivating a confident sales staff capable of building trusted advisor relationships; career development plans; empowering employees to serve as company and industry advocates; and the list goes on.
Gaining Competitive Edge
Your customers expect services of value, demonstration of ROI and novel billing methods to help them best manage their business. How can an agri-retailer stand out in the crowd? The professional development, education, learning opportunities and recognition through awards that CAAR offers all contribute to furthering your business’s reputation as a knowledgeable and trusted partner.
Evolution of Farming
As your customers’ role shifts from farmer to farm manager, so must the agri-retailers’ relationship and offering evolve with them. Farm operations continue to consolidate, increasing in size and sophistication as they make critical decisions on if, how and when they will adopt cutting edge and rapidly evolving technologies. This is leading farmers to turn to agri-retailers expecting more – more support, more guidance and more expertise.
Environmental Awareness and Sustainability
Agriculture is deeply tied to the environment and we must always be prepared for the effects of weather. Spring seeding, crop protection and nutrient application, harvest, shipping and logistics to and from markets remain at its mercy. At the same time, regulators and the general public are seeking information on our environmental impact and commitment to sustainable practices. It’s not enough to do good work, we must be seen doing good work.
While the specifics of our challenges may be evolving, there remains a common theme to the issues our industry faces. The deep-seated need to proactively support Canadian agriculture remains, along with the need for a strong, unified voice representing agri-retailers. CAAR is proud to be that voice for your business and can help your business face these challenges and thrive in today’s market.
Executive Director, CAAR
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