The CAAR Communicator sits down for a Q&A with board member Martin Kiefer, past board chair and communications committee chair.
Q: What is your current role in the ag retail sector, and can you give us a little background on your ag retail journey?
A: I am the eastern sales manager at Agrico Canada, a supplier of bulk fertilizer products to ag retailers. Along with my account manager, I work with ag retailers in Ontario, Quebec, New York State and Vermont. A graduate in agriculture from University of Guelph, I have had a diverse career working in many sectors of the industry – with farmers, in government and in private enterprise.
Q: What does working in the agriculture sector mean to you personally?
A: It’s very fulfilling. I love the cycle of agriculture and people who are passionate about it – from the farmers to the retailers that serve them – and the whole infrastructure that supports both. This is a career that asks you to be fully engaged.
Q: If you had the power to change one thing about agriculture in Canada, no questions asked, what would it be?
A: One thing only? That’s an impossible request! Our industry is such an important element in the fabric of Canadian society and yet it is just that – an element. We are reliant upon the people we grow the food for and they on us. We both have a huge responsibility to listen and respond to each other and yet too often we talk instead of listen.
So, what’s my one change? It’s that all Canadians recognize that agriculture has a critical role in the evolution of our society and that we need engaged people on all sides to help lead us through that process. We have the skills and the passion to grow plentiful, safe food for Canadians and we recognize they are partners, no more or less important, in that process.
Our industry is such an important element in the fabric of Canadian society and yet it is just that – an element. We are reliant upon the people we grow the food for and they on us.
Q: From your perspective, what is the role of CAAR in today's agriculture environment?
A: CAAR is the thread that connects ag retailers to the fabric that we co-exist within. Ag retailers each have their strengths and CAAR’s role is to gather those together and communicate them out to the broader society we live in.
But also, critically, CAAR needs to communicate back and challenge its members to consider not only their immediate business needs but those of the broader sector who don’t necessarily understand the work that we do but benefit from it immensely.
Q: Why did you join the CAAR board and how do you apply your industry expertise to the work you do with the board and committees?
A: I joined the CAAR board in 2014 to grow my understanding of the Canadian ag retail sector and to give back to the industry that has provided me a great career. As an Eastern Canadian member of the board, I hope that I bring a different perspective and balance for CAAR’s members.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your role on the board?
A: To lead CAAR forward in its ambition to be the voice for Canadian ag retail, with the help and guidance of my fellow board members.
Q: Outside of your work in agriculture, what are you passionate about?
A: Good food, great wine and experiencing parts of our country and world I have never seen before with my wife and partner of 35 years, Joanne.
Q: Do you have any other personal details you’d like to share with your fellow members – family, fun facts, etc.?
A: I have two great kids and their partners that I am very proud of and two wonderful grandsons!!!
Q: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with CAAR members?
A: Stay engaged, challenge CAAR and yourself to be the best at what we do. Don’t be afraid to tell people that, either.
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