Banner for Ag Retailers Will Lead The Emissions Reduction Plan

By Mitch Rezansoff, Executive Director

Why do agricultural associations exist? The period of COVID lockdowns accompanied by economic disruptions forced many within the ag industry to re-evaluate their commitment to multiple associations supporting and representing components of this dynamic industry.

Most ag associations took the time to pivot and adjust to the new environment. We experienced the value of digital technologies in maintaining and building real-time connections with stakeholders and members.

Now that we have worked through the disruption of the past three years, it is time to re-enforce the value of ag associations and the benefits of membership.

Associations bring together incredible people who become mentors and friends and help challenge the norm. They inspire investments in people that enable us to build better teams, adopt an open and growth mindset, and commit to being lifelong learners, all of which benefit members, associations, and the agriculture industry.

Other vital roles served by ag associations like CAAR include supporting and showcasing new tools, providing relevant information, investing in farmers’ adoption of new technologies, and being supported by ag retailers and staff.

The challenges and opportunities of ag associations continue as agriculture production evolves. We continue to experience farm, retail, and manufacturing cost-driven consolidation, consumer-driven innovation, and expedited changes due to globalization and technology in every aspect of production and marketing.

The past three years have demonstrated how critical it is to remain connected through participation in public and regulatory policy amendments. How consumers, ideology, and non-agriculture stakeholders influence policy today and tomorrow. Including major and minor stakeholder voices should be commended with a caveat. Are the recommendations based on sound science, economic benefit, trade expansion, or opinion? Associations play the role of the common-sense contributor on federal and provincial committees and roundtable discussions.

Federal public policy has shifted leadership from health to the environment. This impacts explicitly Canadian primary ag producers and the supporting industries. Environmental policy tends to be more emotional than practical and science-driven.

Once again, the voice of reason that ag associations provide plays a critical role in demonstrating the big picture of agriculture throughout the value chain. Many voices attempt to detract from current farm practices and pigeonhole facts to modify or revamp public policy. They need to demonstrate more consideration for the long-term impact on the industry.

So why should you invest in associations, specifically CAAR? There are plenty of reasons!

CAAR represents multiple components of the agriculture value change. For example, most agronomists who support primary agriculture production are employed by ag retailers.

CAAR also discusses and represents best management practices (BMPs), introducing and adopting new technologies, environmental and nutrient stewardship compliance, and soil health and farm safety knowledge.

Ag retail locations are defined by a similar group of BMPs and more. Environmental stewardship and transportation of dangerous goods are critical to the location and surrounding community.

The critical components can only be delivered or adhered to with the training and certification of CAAR and affiliated partners. As regulations are amended, CAAR has been afforded opportunities to provide input and comment, representing ag retailers to limit overburdening.

CAAR will continue to invest in health, safety, the environment, and compliance training. Leadership and management development training programs have been identified as a need to address.

Equally critical are future ag retail employee engagement and career opportunities. Succession activities are increasing as managers and owners retire.

Ag retail provides many fulfilling opportunities, such as the ability to remain in the community with recognition as a leader while maintaining the viability of small- and medium-sized rural towns.

The future of agriculture and supporting industries and agricultural associations is bright if we all work together as a unified voice.

CAAR requires the strong support of ag retailers, industry leaders, and consultants to continue delivering critical training, services, benefits, and advocacy today and tomorrow.

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