Developing a comprehensive strategy for the future of CAAR.
With a new year comes new opportunities for CAAR to better serve its membership, craft solutions to industry challenges and reach new stakeholders across the agri-retail industry. To accomplish that goal, CAAR is calling on all members to submit their feedback, priorities and ideas to shape the association’s focus in 2018.
“We’re asking members, ‘What issues matter to you?’” says Lynda Nicol, director of member services at CAAR. “This is a critical time to share information with CAAR, so your priorities can be considered and acted upon,” she says. “You can help shape our focus for membership, training, advocacy and regulatory compliance efforts going forward.”
CAAR’s new executive director, Mitch Rezansoff, looks forward to meeting with CAAR stakeholders and members in 2018, and developing a comprehensive strategy for the association’s future.
“My first goal in 2018 is to understand and confirm the challenges and opportunities facing agri-retailers across Canada, and to begin prioritizing what issues CAAR should allocate resources toward,” he says. “To do that, I need input from as many of our members as possible.”
Advocacy and Regulatory Compliance
CAAR’s staff and board of directors remain focused on building upon CAAR’s advocacy efforts at the provincial and federal levels, and effectively informing members of regulatory updates that help them remain compliant.
Compliance issues currently underway include updates to the CSA B620 and B622 regulations that were developed in 2017 and came into effect on January 12, 2018. Nicol says a key focus of CAAR’s ammonia committee in 2018 will be working to develop means to ensure compliance at a cost and timeframe that works for the industry, and that CAAR members are provided with timely compliance information.
CAAR will also continue working with Fertilizer Canada on amendments to TDG regulations section 1.24 Anhydrous Ammonia Exemption SOR/2008-34.
“This is another ongoing issue which we will be working on with Fertilizer Canada to establish an industry-wide approach that is manageable for all manufacturers and retailers,” says Nicol.
This ties into further updates to CAAR’s training library which will be implemented in 2018. CAAR made substantial updates to training resources in 2017 and continues to frequently update, providing relevant and highly-valued training opportunities.
“Further updates, specifically to the NTSP program, are coming,” says Nicol. “We are working to ensure there is even more thorough and proactive communication going forward, so NTSP trainees have an in-depth understanding of their responsibilities in the program, and that CAAR is providing tools to help them remain compliant.”
The 2018 CAAR Conference
The CAAR Conference provides immediate and direct value to its members each and every year. The 2017 conference in Banff, Alta., was extremely successful, and CAAR looks forward to building on that success at the 2018 Conference in Saskatoon, Sask.
“The ideas for our 2018 conference have come directly from what members told us in past conference surveys and those ideas have been implemented by our planning committee,” says Nicol. “Our event manager has received amazing support from the committee and was given guidance not just on topics to cover, but also who is the right speaker to deliver that message.”
Nicol says this streamlined planning process will be felt in all aspects of the conference. Attendees will receive highly specific, relevant information that will give them the tools to improve key elements of their business in customer relations, marketing agronomic services and effectively using digital communication channels.
“One update in the presentation format this year is adding a second panel discussion back into the agenda. The ease of conversation and opportunity to hear multiple perspectives make panels a valuable addition to the speaker lineup,” says Nicol. “Whether I’m involved in planning or attending a conference, panels are always a personal favourite of mine.”
Nicol says that two committee members have stepped up as panel moderators, allowing them to further improve the conference experience for their fellow members.
“I got involved with the committee because if I’m coming to the conference anyway, I thought why not contribute in this way,” says Markus Weber, owner of LandView Drones and conference planning committee member. Weber will be moderating the Understanding Farmers’ Needs and Expectations panel on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
“To ensure we can deliver the best in professional development, education and information, we’re looking for that direct feedback, input and involvement from our members,” says Nicol. “We’ve had a great response and have really been able to build on that for 2018. I hope to see it keep building in the years to come.”
CAAR’s Choice Awards
The CAAR’s Choice Awards were established to elevate the status of CAAR members through recognition of their accomplishments and dedication to the industry.
“These awards exist for you, the best of the best,” says Nicol. “The awards celebrate an individual or business that demonstrates, through their actions and their involvement, the importance of setting aside competition to promote the achievements of our industry.”
The award winners are announced annually at the CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet held during the CAAR Conference. With categories for companies and individuals, winners can enjoy a night of celebration with their peers and colleagues.
“Sharing the good work of our award winners advances us all in the cycle of continuous improvement we are all striving to achieve,” says Nicol.
Help make CAAR the association our members need it to be – submit your feedback and ideas to help us grow our voice to better represent Canadian agri-retail.
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