It’s conference time and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome delegates to Winnipeg, Man. for two-and-a-half days of networking, professional development and industry insight.

This year marks CAAR’s 24th conference and, along with crowd favourites like the Pro-Ag Investments Auction and CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet, we are pleased to introduce some exciting new additions to the conference agenda, including Roundtable Discussions.

Roundtable Discussions

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

One of the biggest draws of the CAAR Conference is the chance to connect and network with fellow attendees. This year, CAAR has expanded conference networking opportunities by introducing Roundtable Discussions. These structured, moderated conversations are an excellent format to share your knowledge, learn from your peers and exchange ideas on a topic that is relevant to you and your business.

John Gibson, business director at Albaugh Canada and a member of the CAAR Conference planning committee, is looking forward to taking part in one of the four roundtable discussions at this year’s event. He hopes to gain a better understanding of how retail business operators view their level of influence with growers. “The retail sector is the natural space to build relationships between growers and their decision influencers,” says Gibson.

Choose Your Roundtable Session

Get your first full day of the conference off to a great start by taking part in one of four informative and thought-provoking discussions, designed to help retailers gain insight into their own and other segments of the industry. The sessions will take place concurrently, so be sure to choose the one that resonates best with you:

Retail Management

Designed for key decision makers, this session will be kept at an executive level and will give managers, owners and c-suite executives a chance to discuss ideas and concerns related to their business.

Sales & Customer Service

Sales staff, sales managers and agronomists will have the opportunity to share ideas and get great advice. New hires are encouraged to attend this informative and collaborative discussion!

Safety & Training

Safety is a top concern for every ag retailer. This discussion is a must for safety supervisors, trainers, administrators, HR managers and anyone whose job it is to keep the team safe and up-to-date on training and regulatory concerns.

Technology & Services

Join this tech-based discussion and share your insight into what best serves you and your business. This session is geared to sales teams, agronomists, applicators and those in I.T.

Don’t be shy – take a seat at the table and join in! Space is limited – contact CAAR for availability and to reserve your seat today.

Dennis Prouse
Erin Armstrong
Cassandra Cotton

Industry Updates

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 9:10 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.

Immediately following the opening of the CAAR Conference, representatives from CropLife Canada, Canterra Seeds (representing the Canadian Seed Trade Association) and Fertilizer Canada will be covering important issues, hot topics and upcoming regulation and policy changes in the areas of crop protection, seed and fertilizer. Be sure to attend the Industry Updates session to find out how these developments will impact your business

Crop Protection Update

Last summer, the PMRA announced a proposed phase-out of two insecticides – clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Dennis Prouse, vice president of government affairs at CropLife Canada, will join the panel to discuss the proposed ban and its potential ramifications for retailers.

“There are a number of active ingredients on the proposed phase-out list, and that will affect the offerings that retailers will have for their customers,” says Prouse. “We want to make sure that all retailers are aware that in just a few short years, under the current proposals, some of the most common and most effective products won’t be available.”

Prouse hopes his presentation will motivate retailers to take action. “We want to give folks the benefit of the best knowledge we have of what’s going on and the work we’ve been doing in Ottawa, along with a call-to-action of why they should be involved as well,” he says.

Seed Update

Erin Armstrong, director of industry and regulatory affairs with Canterra Seeds, will be representing the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) on the panel. She will give an update on the AAFC/CFIA consultation process on a new royalty collection system for cereals, wheat in particular, and the two models being discussed. Depending on which model is adopted, wheat seed retailers may have a role to play, informing producer customers of conditions placed on the purchase of pedigree seed of certain varieties.

“This topic has implications on Canada’s competitiveness and ability to attract investment to variety development in Canada,” says Armstrong. “It’s important for as many folks as possible to understand the key points of the issue and engage in constructive discussions.”

Armstrong will provide retailers facts about the royalty collection system, as well as how to participate in the consultation and where additional information can be sourced. She says that a new model might be in place as early as spring 2020.

Fertilizer Update

Rounding out the panel, Cassandra Cotton from Fertilizer Canada is looking forward to answering retailers' questions and delivering information on a number of topics.

“I hope retailers participate in the discussion, and come away with a clear idea of the important updates and changes impacting their business – whether that is changes to regulatory requirements, industry initiatives or programs that they can benefit from,” she says.

One regulatory issue Cotton will address is the CSA B620/622-14 Standard, which came into effect at the beginning of last year. She will provide details on how, over the coming year, Fertilizer Canada will continue to work closely with CAAR on this issue along with Transport Canada and the CSA B620/622 Committee to ensure standards and regulations align with the unique needs of the ammonia industry.

Cotton will also inform delegates of Fertilizer Canada’s initiatives supporting sustainability, compliance and risk management, including 4R Nutrient Stewardship, an increasingly important initiative.

The 2019 CAAR AGM

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

CAAR retailer members are encouraged to attend CAAR's 2019 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in Winnipeg, Man., prior to the CAAR Conference Icebreaker Cocktail Reception, held at Delta Hotels Winnipeg.

The 2019 AGM is open to all voting members of CAAR, and the 2019-20 CAAR Board of Directors will be voted on and announced during the meeting.

Please Note: The meeting will require a quorum of 35 retail members; votes require a majority to pass. Proxy votes are not permitted.

Thank you to all of our current CAAR Conference sponsors!

Click here to view the full list of 2019 sponsors.

Al Driver
Brad Orr
Jonathan Sweat
Mark Thompson

Mergers and Acquisitions

Thursday, Feb. 14, 9:20 – 10:20 p.m.

A recent wave of consolidation in agriculture’s supply sector is causing big ripples in the industry. To examine how these high-profile mergers and acquisitions are changing the Canadian agriculture landscape, we have assembled a power panel of representatives from the “Big Four” – Bayer CropScience, Corteva AgriScience, BASF Canada and Nutrien.

You won’t find this line-up anywhere else, so be prepared for a candid, insightful conversation as retailers take the opportunity to learn from, and pose questions to, some of the industry’s key players.

Jonathan Sweat, vice president of business management agricultural solutions Canada at BASF Canada, says although consolidation in ag is nothing new, it’s the size and scope of these recent mergers and the short timeframe in which they’ve occurred that has made them newsworthy. “The landscape within our industry changed very, very quickly. What Bayer, Corteva, and now BASF, are undergoing at the same time is unprecedented,” he says.

Last summer, BASF acquired several businesses from Bayer, marking the company’s entry into seeds for the first time in its history, and strengthening its market position in the ag industry. Roughly one year before BASF closed its deal with Bayer, Dow and DuPont merged, forming the world’s largest chemical company. In August of 2018, the agriculture division of DowDuPont took the name Corteva AgriScience.

Corteva’s marketing leader, Brad Orr, hopes the panel can help retailers gain a better understanding of how these mergers will affect them, something that he says is on everyone’s mind.

“I think everybody is pretty curious about the dynamic of an organization that has just gone through an acquisition or a merger and how it’s going to affect their working relationships,” says Orr. “Retailers want to know how these mergers will impact their business or themselves personally and will they bring their business any benefit?”

According to Sweat and Orr, the continued investment in research and innovation that consolidating resources and talent allows for will be a significant benefit for the industry.

“We’ve increased the rate at which we invest research and development dollars into the industry,” says Sweat. “Research is the lifeblood of innovation, but it’s expensive and you have to have sizable markets to be able to afford it. It helps us, nationally and globally, to continue investing in innovation.”

Sweat and Orr will be joined on by Al Driver, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, and Mark Thompson, Nutrien’s vice president of business development. Don’t miss this opportunity to tap into the minds of four powerful, passionate industry leaders and hear their thoughts about the impact of mergers and acquisitions on retailers and the industry as a whole.

The CAAR Pro-Ag Investments Auction

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

The Pro-Ag Investments Auction is more than just a great time – it’s also a great way to support the association’s activities and operations for the coming year. Last year’s auction raised a whopping $102,000 and we are looking to do it again!

As CAAR’s only fundraiser, the Pro-Ag Investments Auction helps to keep membership fees low and funds important initiatives such as programming, advocacy efforts, industry strengthening initiatives, critical updates to regulatory compliance training and support materials, and scholarships to post-secondary agriculture students.

“The Pro-Ag Investments Auction is a great way for members to come together in the spirit of friendly competition to support the association," says Mitch Rezansoff, executive director of CAAR.

Prepare to be caught up in the excitement on the tradeshow floor on Wednesday, Feb. 13 when bidding kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Auctioneers and conference favourites Dallas Ballie and Sheldon Matsalla will be back to keep the bids flying and the adrenaline pumping as the crowd competes for the valuable items up for grabs. Don’t miss the fun, camaraderie and fantastic auction items at the Pro-Ag Investments Auction!

See You in Winnipeg!

Visit the CAAR conference page here for the conference agenda, latest updates, speaker profiles and the full list of exhibitors you will find on the tradeshow floor.

Be sure to follow the #CAARcon2019 hashtag on Twitter before, during and after the event to make connections and keep the conversations going.

Online registration is now closed as of Feb. 1, but CAAR is still accepting walk up registrations at the event.

We’ll see you in Winnipeg, Man. on Feb. 12th!

Click here for the most up-to-date list of exhibitors and a map of the tradeshow floor.

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