Hot issues and trends in international ag retail markets

Margy Eckelkamp from Farm Journal’s The Scoop was the moderator for the panel discussion. During the session, Rezansoff was asked to summarize the challenge Canadian ag retail members face today. Rezansoff said the number one challenge is the environment, environment and urban creep.

The panel representative from Argentina, Luis Mogni, agreed with Mitch about Urban creep and said it is also an issue in his country.

When asked about the regulatory burden in Canada, Rezansoff spoke to the fact that in 2021, Canada was going through a process of reevaluating glyphosate, which was dealing with MRLs, and the Canadian government then shut down that process and called an election. With a new mandate, the government intended to pull back the Pesticide Regulation Act, deciding whether to modernize it completely or update it. As part of “that process, it became very apparent we started to see some EU (European Union) creep in some of the language of some of the government people,” explained Rezansoff.

Rezansoff expanded that EU policies creeping into the Canadian pesticide act were happening simultaneously with proposed fertilizer changes, where the government set a goal to reduce fertilizer greenhouse gas emissions, as applied at the farm gate, by 30%.

He explained that regulatory proposals can often overburden the farmer or the retailer. “In some cases, the proposals are not even attainable, and farmers have pushed back hard.”

The panel representative from Brazil, Mateus Consoli, reported that margins and profitability are struggles for the industry in his country. In 2004, he said the gross margin of the average retailer was about 25%. But nowadays, retailers are struggling to make a 15% gross margin, which leaves them with a net profit of around 3%.

Later, Rezansoff shared some thoughts about CAAR members’ passion for ag retailing. He asked his members, “Why do you love ag retailing?” they answered, “It’s the people in my community, and they rely on me. I am that region’s employer, so I can provide full-time employment. I can employ my customers’ teenagers. That is hugely rewarding to ag retailing. And we shouldn’t diminish that the ag retailer’s responsibility to support the community is right up there with other industries.”

Rezansoff emphasized that the work of CAAR and the other retailers on the panel is important: “our associations are working so that farmers’ shoulders aren’t overly burdened with regulations.”

ARA President & CEO Daren Coppock encouraged the panellists to take a more global approach to some industry issues because each group has to support farmers and help them produce the products that the end customer wants to eat.

Coppock concluded the panel discussion by saying, I think a great takeaway from this is that “It’s a small world,” but he promised not to sing the theme song of the very popular Disney ride.


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