2019 Agricultural Retailers Association Conference & Expo
Last week, I attended the annual Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) conference & expo in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The ARA is dedicated to keeping its members educated about industry trends and providing a political voice for its members when situations arise that could change or alter the way they operate their business.
This conference provides ARA members a chance to connect with one another and discuss the different challenges and successes they’ve been facing throughout the year, as well as an opportunity for ARA leadership to reconnect with its members. There is representation from across the industry including manufacturers, distributors and retailers of fertilizers, crop protection chemicals and agricultural seed, as well as agricultural service providers ranging from agronomic consulting to precision agriculture. Having the chance to see and speak with all the different industry players, and to learn how each of them has a role to play in supporting and maintaining healthy and sustainable food production (among many other things!), was an extremely valuable experience.
Looking ahead to 2020
During a breakout session, we heard from ARA CEO Darren Coppock as well as CEO and Chairman of the Board at FMC Corporation, Pierre Brondeau. When discussing what 2020 has in store for the agricultural industry, the two greatest takeaways were preserving our scientific regulatory process in the face of continued glyphosate litigation (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup), and the effect that consolidation in the industry will have on agricultural retailers as members of the farm input supply chain. This information provides much needed insight for agricultural retailers on how they can effectively navigate their respective businesses through potential difficult situations.
This conference provided incredible value by allowing me the opportunity to see so much of the industry represented across the whole supply chain in one place. The ability to better understand what each part of the chain is responsible for, and how they all interact with one another is invaluable when working in this industry. The amount of support coming from all attendees and the level of care given to each member’s experience was truly incredible and I can’t wait to attend again next year!