The 2020 CAAR Conference brought ag retailers back to sunny Saskatoon, Sask. for two-and-a-half days of speaker sessions and unbeatable networking opportunities. This year’s conference marked CAAR’s 25th anniversary as an association and, fittingly, was equal parts information, recognition and celebration.
Roundtable Discussions gave delegates the opportunity to gather and kick-start their networking before the speaker sessions began. A choice of four themes allowed participants to join the discussion that resonated best with them, share their expertise and learn from others with a similar focus.
Immediately following the moderated discussions, a representative from each table took their turn at the podium to summarize the discussion. It was a great way for everyone in attendance to hear the key take-aways from each table’s conversation and benefit from the knowledge shared by the participants.
A wide range of topics were covered over both days of the conference.
Representatives from Fertilizer Canada, CropLife Canada, Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), Cleanfarms and Transport Canada shared updates and information, relevant to retailers and their customers.
Eric Gregory, CSTA’s liaison to the CAAR board of directors, shared information on the Value Creation model, as well as the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project, which will bring together five national seed organizations, including the CSTA, to foster innovation and provide a vision for the next generation seed system. The vote to merge the organizations will take place at CSTA’s annual meeting in July 2020.
Russel Hurst from CropLife Canada used his time at the podium to provide the State of the (Agricultural) Union. He presented the organization’s views, its activities in Ottawa, and touched on PMRA re-evaluation and how CropLife is working with the agency to improve the process.
Shane Hedderson from Cleanfarms gave updates on his organization’s seed bag collection program and gave details on the expansion of the jug collection bag program to Manitoba and Alberta. He finished his presentation by encouraging retailers to get involved, either by becoming collection sites or by providing information to their grower customers to help achieve the 75 per cent collection rate goal for jugs.
Transport Canada’s means of containment specialist Chris Nowak provided information on updates to B620 and B622 standards, to be published in Spring 2020. The new standards will come into effect on the day they are published, with mandatory compliance six months after publication.
Catherine King, vice president of public affairs at Fertilizer Canada, spoke about the work Fertilizer Canada is doing with Transport Canada to ensure reliable rail transport for fertilizer supplies. She also provided updates regarding advancing awareness of and compliance with 4R Nutrient Management, and the Fertilizer Code of Practice.
Sean Mitchell: Interpreting the 2019 Canadian Precision Agriculture Dealership Survey
Sean Mitchell, an undergrad research assistant in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph, presented delegates with the results of the 2019 Canadian Precision Agriculture Dealership Survey, which was refined and expanded across Canada for the last year with the help of CAAR. Mitchell says that although adoption of precision agriculture in Western Canada has a long way to go, it presents many opportunities for retailers and agronomists to help producers use and benefit from technology. Turn to pg. 20 to read about the results.
Craig Klemmer: Trade, Dollar and Interest Rates:What does it Mean for the Health of Canadian Agriculture?
Sponsored by Farm Credit Canada
Craig Klemmer had the audience’s full attention as he provided an analysis of economic trends and shared insight on how national and global factors are driving the purchasing behaviour of farmers, and what it means for the health of the overall agriculture industry.
In addition to sharing a snapshot of trends in the marketplace, Klemmer provided sound advice for retailers, highlighting areas where there are opportunities to fine-tune their strategies to remain competitive.
“Canadian agriculture is adjusting, and we need to adjust with it,” said Klemmer. “There has been quite a bit of investment and scaling-up (by retailers); we need to ask if this is the time to be making investments. Are we in the position to adjust to a softening industry?”
Dr. Steven Webb: Public/Private Partnerships and Collaborations are Essential to the Design, Development and Deployment of Agricultural Innovations
Dr. Steven Webb, CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) delivered a closing keynote address that focused on how partnerships can drive innovation in the changing landscape of Canadian ag – if these partnerships are formed strategically and involved parties take time to ensure their goals align.
“Sometimes you end up in relationships where the goals are not aligned and that leads to an outcome that is not fruitful,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that industry can only work with industry or academia can only work with academia; it’s how do you find those strategically aligned partnerships.”
Tradeshow Exhibitor of the Year
Congratulations to North Star Systems, winner of CAAR’s 2020 Exhibitor Award!
Perhaps the most colourful booth on the tradeshow floor, the North Star Systems booth attracted plenty of attention throughout the conference and garnered the Saskatoon company a win on home turf.
The vibrant green booth, complete with a putting green, was a popular spot for retailers to gather and sink a putt or two. The activity wasn’t the star of the show, however, as the booth featured a comprehensive and eye-catching display of the company’s Tattle Systems.
This was North Star’s fourth conference and CEO Curtis Kolibab says it’s the opportunity to reconnect with customers and gain new relationships that keeps them coming back year after year.
“This is a great show for us,” said Kolibab. “We have many discussions that lead to business at this show, and it’s also great to connect with the other exhibitors here.”
Save the Date for the 2021 CAAR Conference
Mark your calendars and make plans to join your fellow CAAR members from Feb. 9-11, 2021 in Edmonton, Alta. for the 2021 CAAR Conference! Keep your eye on The Communicator, the CAAR Network and caar.org for event details and registration information over the coming months.
Expanded Web Content
The presentations from speaker sessions at the 2020 CAAR Conference are now available online in pdf format. This is your chance to embrace innovation by reviewing the highlights of the speaker program.
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