ARA conference offers attendees exciting breakout sessions

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click image to zoomBy David McKnight, Associate Director of Member Services & Communications The 2013 ARA Conference & Expo, “Play Like a Champion: Winning Strategies for Ag Retail, “ provides attendees a place to meet, network and learn practical ideas and management solutions to improve their business.

Attendees have the opportunity to purchase tickets to several special events including the ARAPAC Golf Tournament on the legendary Great White Course at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa and the “Havana Nights” themed ARA Annual Dinner and Auction. Proceeds from both events benefit ARA’s Political Action Committee (ARAPAC).

One of the features of this year’s conference are four breakout sessions allowing conference attendees the opportunity to tailor-make their conference experience. Topics include important information on the agricultural industry’s current state and future trends, leadership and employee development, and technology innovations. The four breakout sessions are as follows:


Wednesday, December 4th

2:00 – 3:30 PM

Markets Editor Lauren Williamson and Consultant Stephen Mitchell with Argus FMB

With the U.S. as a top global consumer of fertilizer, the domestic and world markets are inextricably linked. But there are more variables in today’s marketplace that are affecting traditional market dynamics.

Argus FMB fertilizer experts will present on the major supply and demand factors impacting the global marketplace for 2014, with a focus on nitrogen. Global nitrogen editor Stephen Mitchell will lead coverage of international developments key to price movements and trade flows in the year ahead. North American editor Lauren Williamson will facilitate discussions on domestic issues and trends.

The presentation will weave in historical context to provide participants with an informed Perspective for the marketplace today. Outlook scenarios will be identified and discussed.

In the seminar, topics covered will include Chinese production and export regimes, and new capacity coming online both globally and domestically.


Wednesday, December 4th

2:00 – 3:30 PM

Mike Smith and Mark Wascheck of Ag 1 Source

People are your most important asset. In a commodity-based market where products are similar, but a high level of service is needed, your ability to attract, hire and retain quality employees is your competitive advantage in this ever changing marketplace. Learn how “Becoming a Destination Employer” enables each organization to improve the key elements necessary to becoming what current and future employees would consider the ultimate destination to establish and grow a career.

This session will walk you through the five critical steps necessary to make your company the # 1 choice for employment in your geography, and show you the steps you can take to increase the retention of your top employees by creating an environment that makes those individuals want to stay on your team for as long as they possibly can.


Thursday, December 5th

8:30 - 10:00 AM

Allan Gray, Ph.D., of the Agricultural Economics

Department at Purdue University

Fast forward 10 years from today. What will agriculture look like in 2023? The world will likely be a larger, more connected society with incomes rising in developing countries and diets transitioning to more animal-based proteins. Resources to produce food will be limited; especially high quality land and water. Climate change will create wider swings in production around the globe from year-to-year. Increasing production in other parts of the world will add to the volatility and competitiveness of agriculture. Energy independence in North America will become a reality. Technology will be key to utilizing resources more efficiently, boosting productivity and creating a more sustainable industry.

What are the key success factors and core competencies needed by an agricultural input supplier in this fast-paced dynamic industry of the next decade? This session will explore these drivers and discuss the implications for the industry structure, talent and value proposition.


Thursday, December 5th

8:30 - 10:00 AM

The top two supplier nominees of the 2013 ARA/AgGateway Technology Contest will present cutting-edge technologies alongside a retailer customer who utilizes these technologies on the farm, in the fi eld or in the office. A.J. Sackett & Sons will present Sackett’s H.I.M Mixer, and Agrium will present its ESN Smart Nitrogen.

Breakout session attendees will vote at the end of the session to determine the 2013 ARA/AgGateway Contest Winner. The award will be presented during Thursday’s general session.

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