With many agriculture events and meetings being cancelled this spring with the growing spread of the COVID-19 virus, CAAR was lucky enough to have had the 2020 CAAR Conference wrapped up before much of the world put social distancing into practice.

Which is fortunate, because not only is the conference the one time a year ag retailers gather to share stories and explore opportunities, it is also the time of year that many of the decisions that will guide CAAR for the next year are made.

I for one, am encouraged and excited about a couple of those decisions.

First and foremost the appointment of Theresa Bolton to Board Chair. Even though I have been relatively in touch with things that have been going on with CAAR since I first started working with the association in 1997, I admit I was a little surprised this is the first time a woman is assuming that role.

I guess it might be chalked up to the fact that the majority of the staff I have worked with at CAAR, including two Executive Directors, have been women that I just took it for granted that at some point in the past 25 years one of the Board Chairs was a woman. That will teach me not to take the representation of women at the highest levels of our industry for granted.

I am encouraged by this appointment, but what has me excited is the new perspective she is bringing to the role. I am very much looking forward to Theresa’s experience and leadership as a recruitment professional being applied to the most critical part of the association – growing membership and delivering value.

Communications is part of that value equation, and this is the second thing that has me excited. With the return of Lisa Defoort, the role of Communications Manager is again fully staffed, and thank you to Mitch Rezansoff and Scott Van Alstyne for doing an admirable job of working with us to keeping the communication flowing while attending to their own tasks while Lisa was on leave.

I look forward to working with Lisa in her expanded role, but what has me most excited is the review CAAR’s communications is currently undergoing. This review was kicked off at the conference, with a discussion of what’s working and what isn’t, and a call to action for new ideas and ways of doing things that deliver the most value and make the most of CAAR’s resources.

Our team met with the CAAR team shortly after the conference, and while we were not given all of the details of what is afoot at that time, it sounds like it will be a pretty comprehensive review with, hopefully, some valuable outcomes.
Communications, like all business processes, need to be regularly put under the microscope, tested for ROI and adapted to meet the preferences of the audience they serve. It’s been a few years since the work we do has been put to the test and I am looking forward to the process.

As the business of ag retail ramps up in the spring, our team’s business tends to wind down. As you know, with this issue The Communicator now goes on hiatus until August. We will put this time to good use, working to bring more value to CAAR’s communications.

It is my sincere hope that by August some semblance of normal has returned to everyone’s daily lives, a great crop is in the ground and trade and transportation are firing on all cylinders.

Until then, I wish you the best of health and prosperity.

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