Award sponsored by Bayer CropScience: Ray Redfern and Lane Wanless accept the Retailer of the Year award from Bayer CropScience’s Lionel Lamont and Bob Sharanowski. (Left to right: Redfern, Lamont, Wanless, Sharanowski).

Redfern Farm Services, Virden location

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.

“It’s very sweet to have under our cap,” says Wanless proudly. “It’s rewarding for the team and I think it shows appreciation for how we function as a group.

”Since joining Redferns in 2015, Wanless has seen his location grow rapidly – adding both staff and physical space to the Virden location – and 2018 will be no exception. This summer, the team is looking forward to the benefits of their upgraded fertilizer plant, which will increase both capacity and loading speed, and the branch has increased its stock of custom application equipment.

The Virden team is also eagerly awaiting completion of a five-bin soybean and cereals storage and treating facility at their location which will be operational this spring and will benefit the entire Redfern team.

“Redferns is a leader in adopting new technology,” says Bob Sharanowski, territory sales manager with Bayer CropScience/InterAg. “Whether it is the newest hybrid seed technology, or adoption of variable rate, mapping and data management, they can offer it. In fact, the Virden location offers their customers access to Farmers Edge and Decisive Farming VRA Services through their agronomist.”

Long-time customers Stan and Robin Patmore credit Wanless’s leadership skills and his “very cohesive team” for the rapid growth of the Virden branch.“

Lane’s choice to move to Redferns a couple years back has brought significant growth to that location,” writes Stan Patmore of S&R Livestock in Pipestone, Man. “As a farmer, you really feel that he is on your side and wants you to be successful. Lane has surrounded himself with good people who share his values and commitment to service.”

Dedication to their customers and a drive to constantly improve is what Wanless believes sets his location apart from other retails.

“The customer is first and foremost, so we do everything we can to meet their requirements,” he explains. “We work hard to think outside the box. We’re always evaluating what we can do better to improve our customer service.”

We work hard to think outside the box. We’re always evaluating what we can do better to improve our customer service. Lane Wanless

The Virden team, which ranges from nine to 18 people, depending on the season, makes a point of meeting regularly to ensure that they are always on the same page and reaching for the same targets. They, along with the customers, are why Wanless loves coming to work. “We’re a great team – we all have fun together,” he says.

And the team spirit doesn’t stop when the workday ends. In addition to being known for their industry leadership, the company is known for their leadership in their communities, as well.

The Virden team is actively involved in their local community; contributing their time and collective expertise to the Virden Oil Capitals Crop Club, a field trial program that raises money for the town’s junior “A” hockey team, and, as individuals, volunteering throughout the community.

Wanless is currently chief of the Pipestone-Albert Fire Department, a position he’s held since 2015. Under Wanless’s leadership, the volunteer department has grown, training hours have increased and service to the community has improved.

“When you’re involved in the community, you can form relationships, not only on a business level but also on a personal level,” Wanless says.

When he accepted the award during CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet, Wanless made sure to shine the spotlight on Redfern company ownership and his team at the Virden location.

“I have to say a special thanks to Ray Redfern for supporting me from the outset, believing in me, and giving me the chance to build the team we have at Virden,” Wanless said. “Without their hard work and dedication, none of this would be happening today.”

Do you know a CAAR member who deserves to be recognized? Click here to download application forms for the 2018 CAAR’s Choice Awards.

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