2013 ARA conference and expo was highly successful

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The chairman’s gavel was passed from Johnny Council, 2013 chairman, [left], to Gary Farrell The 2013 Agricultural Retailers Association’s conference and expo was held Dec. 3-5 in Miami, Fla., at Trump’s Doral Golf Resort & Spa. The conference’s theme was Play Like a Champion: Winning Strategies for Ag Retail.

This year’s keynote opening speaker was Bill Whitacre, president and CEO of J.R. Simplot Company. He gave the first presentation on Dec. 4, discussing topics that included the ag value chain, sustainability, the changing world of agriculture technology, economic efficiencies, creating value and managing big data for farmer customers.

Later in the conference, 2013 Board Chairman Johnny Council of the Lyman/Tremont Group, based in Woodland, Calif., passed the chairman’s gavel to 2014 Board Chairman Gary Farrell, Ag Enterprise Supply, Inc., based in Cheney, Wash. Farrell joined the ARA board of directors in 2006. He served as chairman of the Public Policy committee from 2011-2012.

Every year ARA holds special events during the conference and events for spouses. This year’s special events featured the ARAPAC golf tournament on the Great White Course. For winners, see page 31.

The ARA annual dinner and auction was held at the resort’s Champions Pavilion and featured a Havana Nights theme. On Thursday, Dec. 5, attendees were invited to a Florida ag tour viewing some of South Florida’s diverse agriculture offerings.

Spouses were treated to a mimosa brunch and resort tour on Dec. 3 and to a Villa Vizcaya tour on Dec. 4. Vizcaya was the winter residence of American industrialist James Deering. FMC sponsored the spouse events. 

New for 2013, the conference added breakout sessions on both Dec. 4 and Dec. 5. On Dec. 4, breakout sessions were titled “Becoming a Destination Employer” and “Fertilizer Industry Macro Trends.” On Dec. 5, sessions were titled, “Future of the Industry” and “New Technology Session.” For details on all of the sessions, visit pages 28-30.

Many presentations from the event are available on ARA’s website.

Also new this year was the introduction of ARA’s Rising Stars program. This new program rewards and develops high achievers and future leaders within the association. Rising Stars are nominated by their respective companies and approved by ARA staff. See this year’s winners on page 25.

Continuing Education CCA Credits were offered for 8.5 credit hours.

ARA’s accompanying expo tradeshow allowed retailers to network with leading companies.

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