Sept. 1, 2021When I last wrote this update, the spring planting season was just about to begin for many farmers and their retail partners. The time since has seemed to fly by and we are now watching many crops complete their growing cycle and thoughts turn to fall and harvest time. Once again, the growing season has been kind to some and disastrous for others. Let’s all remember those who have experienced droughts, record heat, wildfires, and, yes, in some cases too much rain. As I’ve said before, agriculturalists are a resilient group, but sometimes we are challenged to our very core.
ARA staff has remained active on your behalf throughout the spring and summer. As you might imagine, some policy pursuits of the current administration have presented challenges to our industry this year. The Agricultural Retailers Association continues to educate and advocate on your behalf at the federal level as we’ve done for decades. ARA staff and members have taken action and led efforts on a number of fronts including:
Through the ARA Retailer Fact$ newsletters, members are updated on the latest state and federal news that may impact their operations. If you are a member and not currently receiving these email updates, please email email@example.com to be added to the email list.
Estate tax policy
Surface transportation reauthorization act
Support for administration nominees
Seasonal Ag CDL program
Executive order focused on rail competition
Opposed countervailing duties on imports of farm inputs in trade agreements
EPA risk management program
The ARA Executive Committee held its annual summer meeting in July. Committee members met in Minneapolis to discuss topics of importance to the association and its membership. Agenda items included a report from the dues task force, a preview of the 2022 budget, updates from the investment policy and nomination committees, strategic planning update, membership activities, the annual performance review of the President/CEO, and selections for Retailer of the Year, Distinguished Service Award, and the Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award. There was great discussion, debate, and action taken.
The ARA Annual Conference and Expo is scheduled for November 30 through December 2, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas. Registration is open here. Once again, the conference planning committee and ARA staff have put together a world class agenda featuring a keynote message on carbon markets, panel discussions on future expectations from the Biden administration and COVID-19 business changes, along with breakouts on getting value for service and farmer buying decisions and attitudes. We will also hear updates from our CEO and current board chair and install a new chair for 2022-2023. It promises to be an exciting return to our traditional conference format so be sure to register before the early bird rate expires in October and join us in San Antonio.
The Fall Board and Committee Meetings will be held this year in Philadelphia on September 27-29. This is one of two meeting held throughout the year where every ARA committee meets to discuss topics of importance to the membership. The meetings are open to all ARA members and you can register here. Attendance at this event is a great way to get more involved in ARA activities and there are many exciting things to do in Philadelphia while you’re in town.
The Rising Stars program is a great way to recognize your high-performing emerging leaders. The 2021 Rising Stars will receive a reduced cost registration to the ARA Annual Conference and Expo in San Antonio. While there, Rising Stars will be recognized in front of their industry peers, learn about cutting-edge issues impacting our industry, and expand their network. This is just one of the many ways ARA provides support to your team’s professional development journey and helps increase retention of your top talent. For more information and to nominate someone from your team, please click here.
ARA’s staff hosted their first outside visitors last month at the new offices. ARA member Helena Agri-Enterprises visited the new space for a brief meeting and tour. Due to the convenience of the co-location with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and CropLife America, TFI staff was able to participate as well. The National Future Farmers of America (FFA) officer team also visited the new office at the end of July.
ARA staff has been back on the meeting circuit within recent weeks. Team members have attended a number of events including the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference, InfoAg, NAAA 100th Anniversary of Ag Aviation meeting, TechHub LIVE, and National Ag Safety School. They have also participated in state agribusiness association meetings, including Indiana (ACI), Kansas (KARA), and Nebraska (NABA). It is good to get out and reconnect with ARA members and support other industry partners and participants.
ARA held the Crisis Preparedness Workshop in August, the first in-person Professional Development Pathway event since early 2019. The workshop is held in partnership with FMC and included timely information on COVID-19 response and new cybersecurity measures relevant to the ag industry.
The ARA Smart Payment Processing member service was recently launched as the newest value-added benefit offered to ARA members. ARA has teamed up with a leading payment processing provider to offer ARA members significant savings on the costs of accepting electronic payments. Based on member feedback, ag retailers and suppliers can save up to 33 percent on the cost of credit card acceptance. Now that’s real value! To learn more about this exciting opportunity, click here. Please have your ARA login information handy to access this members-only feature or email firstname.lastname@example.org for login support.
If you’re not already signed up as an ARA Leader of Industry, please do so by clicking here. By becoming a Leader of Industry, you can receive information on ARAPAC events and contribute to this grassroots effort. With key elections on the horizon, now is the time to support ARAPAC and those who support our industry.
Some upcoming dates to remember:
Sept. 27-29: ARA Fall Board & Committee Meetings, Philadelphia
Nov. 30-Dec. 2: 2021 ARA Conference & Expo, San Antonio, Texas
Jan. 25-27: ARA Management Academy, Tempe, Arizona
Until next time, have a safe harvest season, and I hope to see you in San Antonio later this fall.