Hosted in the heart of the Prairies at TCU Place in downtown Saskatoon, Sask., the 2018 “Agri-retail Event of the Year” featured two and a half days of invaluable networking opportunities, professional development and education.

Friends and colleagues connected at the Icebreaker Cocktail Reception.
Friends and colleagues connected at the Icebreaker Cocktail Reception.

The Icebreaker Cocktail Reception

Agri-retailers gathered at the Icebreaker Cocktail Reception to kick off the 2018 CAAR Conference and celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day in style. Delicious hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and conversation were in good supply throughout the evening as friends, old and new, connected.

Grant Kosior of Global Ag Risk Solutions accepts the 2018 Exhibitor Award.
Grant Kosior of Global Ag Risk Solutions accepts the 2018 Exhibitor Award.

The Tradeshow

The tradeshow floor was the centre of the action. Over 40 exhibitors showcased their latest technologies, products and services, making valuable connections with conference attendees.

The participants of the second annual Innovation Showdown.
The participants of the second annual Innovation Showdown.

The Innovation Showdown

Nine exhibitors put their best pitch forward in the second annual Innovation Showdown. The competition was stiff, but the North Star Systems team of general manager Curtis Kolibab and sales and marketing manager Kyle Bortis came away victorious; using music, crowd giveaways and hockey jokes to promote North Star’s new Tattle Systems software.

Along with a plaque and bragging rights, North Star Systems received a $100 gift card to award to one independent retailer of their choice, which Kolibab presented to Rack Petroleum, citing them as instrumental in developing their product.

A conference favourite, CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction was a smashing success.
A conference favourite, CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction was a smashing success.

CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction

CAAR’s Pro-Ag Investments Auction was an exciting and spirited event, with auctioneers Dallas Ballie and Sheldon Matsalla keeping the crowd entertained and the bids flying. CAAR’s only annual fundraiser, the auction supports a diverse range of initiatives, including CAAR’s participation in over 30 industry events, consultations and meetings, ongoing lobbying initiatives and scholarships for agriculture students.

Thank you to all of the auction donors and everyone who bid and bought at the event. With a grand total of $102,500 raised, this was one of CAAR’s most successful auctions yet!

Expert speakers shared their knowledge with attendees.
Expert speakers shared their knowledge with attendees.

Speaker Sessions

Illuminating speaker presentations informed, enlightened and motivated attendees on a range of topics from social media to industry trends.

Possibility Thinking

During their lively Possibility Thinking session, Candace Hill and Isaac LeClair from Farm Credit Canada discussed how retailers can use social media to enhance relationships with customers. Hill and LeClair addressed common questions about social media terminology, covered practical considerations, such as posting frequency and scheduling, and dove into more nuanced issues, like when to stop engaging with negative commenters.

Industry Update: What You and Your Growers Need to Know

Conference attendees received high-level value from the Industry Update, which provided the audience with relevant, timely information for themselves, their employees and their growers.

Representatives from Koch Agronomic Services, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) and Cereals Canada updated the room on how industry, national and international developments will impact agri-retailers and growers in 2018 and future years.

Panel Discussions

Insightful farmer and retailer speaker panels got the audience asking questions and created buzz throughout the conference. How can retailers really earn the status of “trusted advisor” with their customers? What is your agronomy service really worth, and how do you put a price on it?

Click here to read highlights from the Farmer Panel that got everyone talking, and keep an eye out for coverage of the Retailer Panel in the next issue of The Communicator.

Accelerate Your Business

Keynote speaker Donald Cooper spent the conference delivering one-on-one business coaching to help conference participants accelerate their businesses before hitting the main stage Thursday afternoon.

He emphasized the importance of creating clear, compelling communications both externally and internally, saying that in order to create excellent experiences for your customers, you first need to build an enthusiastic and engaged team within your company.

His invigorating keynote presentation closed the conference on a high note, leaving the crowd feeling energized, motivated and excited to get back to work.

Relive the action – click here to view the full 2018 CAAR Conference photo gallery! 

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