The business environment is changing for Canadian agribusiness, and so too membership associations are being driven to change to accommodate members. Agribusinesses are increasingly beginning to scrutinize which associations they choose to be part of and support. This has more to do with their time constraints and value added, rather than annual dues and participation costs. Selection of membership associations is now more based on alignment with members’ strategic goals and representation and support of the ag industry.
The financial cost of membership can be a factor considered that could affect the decision to join or maintain a membership, but not always. Membership in associations is viewed as an investment. And like most investments, investors are looking for some measure of return. A return of perceived value is the primary motivation for membership. And, that value can be expressed in several ways – through access to information, education, peer group interaction opportunities and strategic alignment with member priorities.
Businesses in general are experiencing increased levels of competition, placing more strain on margins and profit. And we’re seeing a drive toward localization and specialization among manufacturers and service providers. Agribusiness leaders have identified several issues they are dealing with within their organizations. It’s not immediately clear what the impact will be as they navigate the challenges.
In summary, businesses are struggling with post-pandemic recovery taking longer than expected; technology continues to disrupt the way business gets done, creating alternative paths to buyers; food supply and capital material supply chains are disrupted; there are concerns about customer relationships that are being tested; ideology vs science-based production practices as a stipulation of contract production and exports are becoming common.
With the changing market realities and dynamics, CAAR recognizes it is at a crossroads. We need to better understand agri-retailer needs, stakeholder insights and strategic organizational value. Beginning in March and continuing through to August 2021, CAAR will redefine who we are; how best to interact and service current and future customers/stakeholders/prospects; expand advocacy top down and bottom up; and finally reinforce the ag retail voice at national, provincial and municipal levels.
The past 5 years, modern production agriculture has been burdened with a misidentified reputation by distant alternately motivated stakeholders. Claims of unsustainable practices and stewardship are unwarranted and not fact-based. Ideological claim-based recommendations versus sound outcome evolution has no legacy. The Canadian agriculture production supply chain is recognized as world leading and continues to evolve without interruption.
The industry continues improvements to adopt new technologies ubiquitously when return on investment, efficiency and quality of life is demonstrated. Defending and leading the long-term reputation of Canadian food production will be elevated by CAAR future activities.
Unknown to most not directly affiliated with Canadian agriculture production, is that most farmers have already adopted sustainable regenerative practices. Over the past 20 years significant investments of progressive technologies have been adopted and deployed. Agriculture is about continuous improvement practices. My recommendation, don’t change much to meet realistic goals.
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