It’s time to reflect on the past 10 months I’ve spent serving as Executive Director for the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers.
When I joined CAAR, I brought my experience in crop protection sales, marketing and formulation and precision agriculture from an equipment perspective and have used this knowledge to enhance the association’s insight into the value chain throughout North America.
Moving to an association environment representing the industry has provided me with a renewed appreciation for the level of regulation on Canada’s agriculture industry, and the wide variety of complex considerations retails manage on a daily basis to remain in compliance. In 2018 I’ve been pleased to represent CAAR members on a number of regulatory items.
CAAR’s Regulatory Involvement in 2018
- Anhydrous nurse tank pressure testing, post weld/non-post weld heat treated period changes
- Fertilizer retailer security requirements
- Fertilizer retailer emergency response assistance plans
- Evaluation of EBDC fungicide registrations
- Evaluation of neonicotinoids instecticides
- Retailer certified inspection and pressure testing capabilities
- Retailer certification facility user fees
- Retailer employee safety and certification requirements
A major concern facing CAAR members today is the issue of public perception within the agriculture input sector. An increasing amount of public pressure is being put on regulators, and this pressure is based on emotion instead of sound, science-backed evidence.
Europe and California have set a dangerous precedent of allowing public opinion and emotion to sway the regulations and requirements placed upon agriculture production.
In the face of recent events questioning the value and safety of neonicotinoids and glyphosate, with regulators showing signs of responding to public opinion and pressure over sound, factual science, we are experiencing the commitment of strong manufacturer, retailer and grower association lobbying and group positioning.
Public opinion and misconceptions of agriculture production must be challenged by all sectors of the agriculture value chain to ensure our message is heard. By crafting common messages and delivering through associations, we can ensure the message is consistent and constant. However, we cannot assume associations alone will get the message out, and must respond as individuals whenever possible.
When we are challenged by non-agriculture stakeholders about the commitment to safety by retailers and the farm customers they support, I take pride in stating that our Canadian system is a global leader in food quality and safety. At every opportunity we all need to engage these non-agriculture stakeholders and say: “Like you, we in the agriculture industry are mothers and fathers of children. We have the best intentions of providing the highest quality, safe and nutritious food for our families every day. We believe in what we produce, and we eat what we produce.”
I look forward to the next year with CAAR and finding new opportunities to strengthen the business of ag retail in Canada.
Executive Director, CAAR
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