CAAR is forming key partnerships with like-minded organizations.
As CAAR continues to sharpen its focus on advocacy, education and outreach, Canada’s national voice for ag retail is forming strategic alliances with the Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) and the U.S. based Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). CAAR’s Executive Director, Mitch Rezansoff, says partnering with WEDA and ARA sends a strong message to CAAR members about the importance of seeking out what he calls “uncommon partners.”
As agriculture and ag retail evolve, Rezansoff says retailers need to look outside their traditional partnerships and recognize the value in forming relationships beyond their usual network. According to Rezansoff, retailers may have more in common with the equipment dealer down the road than they may think.
“Whether it’s an equipment dealer or an ag retailer, we all have a common bond. The agriculture issues that we face are very similar,” says Rezansoff. “We deal with international suppliers; evolving barriers to trade; industry consolidation; labour, logistics, compliance and environmental challenges; and everyone is looking for means to generate new revenue streams.”
Finding Common Ground
Rezansoff says aligning with WEDA, an organization which represents the interests of farm, outdoor power and construction equipment dealers in Canada and the United States, is a natural fit for CAAR, as the members of both groups ultimately serve many of the same customers.
WEDA CEO, John Schmeiser, welcomes the opportunity to work with CAAR. He sees great potential in the two organizations working together to lobby provincial and federal governments, whether seeking, opposing, or simply dealing with changes to legislation.
“There are opportunities for collaboration on issues like trade and trade agreements – the USMCA, for example – partnering together on taxation or depreciation rates, or jointly working together when there’s a major federal policy initiative that affects us both,” says Schmeiser.
Schmeiser believes that, going forward, there will be many opportunities for stakeholder groups to work together, share resources and, ultimately, have a stronger voice. “If ag organizations can partner on issues at the provincial and federal level, I think we both benefit,” he says.
Learning from Each Other
Operating in the 48 contiguous states, ARA is the national voice for ag retailers in the U.S. By engaging with ARA, Rezansoff believes CAAR and its members can gain a deeper understanding of international issues and help create a North American voice for ag retail.
Daren Coppock, president and CEO of ARA, agrees and adds this is an alliance that he sees benefitting both sides. Because retailers in the U.S. and Canada face similar issues, Coppock sees a tremendous opportunity for his organization to compare notes with its Canadian counterpart and form a reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationship.
“If we can learn from other people’s successes or mistakes – or if there’s a global issue that’s popping up and we can work with others to address it in a coordinated way that is consistent –
I think that’s going to be good for all of us,” says Coppock.
We have shown over time that there is strength in numbers, strength in partnerships, and strength in common voices, common messages and common approaches.
Coppock says that with less than two per cent of the population in both the U.S. and Canada directly involved in agriculture, there needs to be a concerted effort made to form alliances and partnerships within the industry, even if it means crossing international borders. “It allows us to leverage our efforts, but also come up with messaging that is more broadly accepted because it’s backed by more people,” he explains.
Schmeiser sums up the value of the newly formed alliances nicely. “We have shown over time that there is strength in numbers, strength in partnerships, and strength in common voices, common messages and common approaches,” he says.
Rezansoff will be formally announcing these exciting partnerships at the 2019 CAAR Conference. Those in attendance will be the first to hear about upcoming activities between the organizations. Join us in Winnipeg, Feb. 12-14, and learn how CAAR is working to strengthen the business of ag retail through initiatives like this.
Watch future issues of The Communicator for details of joint initiatives and activities between CAAR and partner organizations.
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