Every year, the CAAR staff, board and committee work together to set the agenda and goals for the coming year, encapsulating the direction of membership and the influence of the industry environment in a statement of intent. The 2017 statement of intent reads:
“In the coming year, CAAR will continue its focus on member outreach, business support and information sharing — building a strong and responsive association to help members remain efficient, compliant and informed. Specifically, CAAR will seek to build on the successful advancements achieved in 2016 in the areas of advocacy, member outreach and member services.”
A growing number of retailers are reaching out to CAAR for their specific business concerns, such as regulatory approvals, zoning and general inquiries about business and compliance issues. CAAR’s goal is to remain informed and proactive across all crop inputs in support of all types of retailers.
“Building on our existing relationships, and establishing new contacts in the industry and in government are the channels that help CAAR respond to member concerns and issues quickly,” says Delaney Ross Burtnack, president and CEO of CAAR.
CAAR will keep working with Fertilizer Canada and other industry groups to make agri-retailers’ voices heard with regard to the proposed changes to B620 and B622 standards for anhydrous ammonia tanks. CAAR believes the proposed changes will negatively impact retailers and we will continue to work to protect members’ bottom lines.
Another ongoing industry issue CAAR worked on last year is pesticide registration and restriction. CAAR will continue to represent its members on the National Steering Committee as they work to develop policies and methodologies to manage the use of products which have limited acceptance outside of Canada.
CAAR is the perfect partner for agri-retailers to have in their corner going forward. We are ready to support and communicate and advocate on their behalf.
CAAR is currently developing revision 6.0 to the Nurse Tank Safety Program. “We would love to get feedback from our members on how they think we could go forward with the NTSP program,” says Burtnack. She encourages interested retailers to contact CAAR in the coming months with suggestions on how to revise the manual to make it more user-friendly.
CAAR is excited to expand its membership to new groups, and to welcome new members into the association in 2017. This year, CAAR will expand its membership to certified seed retailers. CAAR has already partnered with the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) to offer their training course to certified retailers, and is excited to welcome them into the fold.
“We’ve recognized that the folks growing certified seed are oftentimes also operating a retail business,” says Burtnack. “Once the seed leaves the farm, certified seed retailers are selling them directly to farmers or to other retailers.”
While certified seed retailers are part of other associations like CSGA, CAAR will be able to provide them with services to address their specific needs as a retailer.
CAAR is also expanding its membership to farm advisors. Last year, CAAR reached out to the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors to discuss how the two organizations could expand their relationship for mutual benefits.
“Both retailers and farm advisors have been sitting down at the proverbial table with producers, but not together at the same time,” says Burtnack. “By extending CAAR membership to advisors, these two groups will be able to gain a greater understanding of each other to better serve their common customer — the producer.”
CAAR staff will continue to develop an internal membership support team, which will be structured to better support the membership in its training, communications, events, advocacy, staffing and supply needs.
“Agri-retailers must remain the trusted expert for their customers, and it is CAAR’s primary purpose to ensure they do,” says Burtnack. “Our member support team will continue to fine-tune our services to the benefit of our members and offer broad-reaching, proactive participation on issues that impact Canadian agri-retailers.”
Open Lines of Communication
Strengthening connections across the agriculture industry will help CAAR do more for its membership, as we learn fresh perspectives from new sources and bring that information together for the benefit of agri-retailers. A wide array of perspectives in the organization also translates to a strong board of directors.
“The staff and board have an ambitious plan to be the voice of agri-retailers in Canada, but to achieve that, we need your help,” says Martin Kiefer, chair of the CAAR Board of Directors. “Talk to any of us and share your thoughts and opinions to help shape CAAR for the future.”
The CAAR staff and board have an ambitious plan to be the voice of agri-retailers in Canada, but to achieve that, we need your help.
Kiefer encourages members to keep open lines of communication with the board, and to not be apprehensive about contacting a board member.
“The board is a diverse group both regionally and by business. This means we can provide insight to the issues that affect agri-retailers across Canada,” he says. “The board worksav to ensure that CAAR is addressing all of those issues directly or indirectly. We’re a checkpoint to make sure the CAAR team is delivering on the mandate granted to us by our members.”
With a new year comes new opportunities, and CAAR looks forward to maximizing them to help its members.
“CAAR is the perfect partner for agri-retailers to have in their corner going forward,” says Burtnack. “2016 was a year full of innovation, advancement, and of course, challenges. 2017 promises to bring more of all of those things.
“CAAR is ready to support and communicate and advocate on behalf of agri-retailers. Doing everything we can to help Canadian agri-retailers succeed in this industry of immeasurable importance will always be our goal and our duty.”
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