The ARA celebrated the service and dedication of the ag retailer industry's best professionals at the 2010 annual conference and expo.

ARA honored Central Valley Ag as the 2010 Ag Retailer of the Year. This award is sponsored by Monsanto, ARA and AgProfessional magazine and honors retailers who represent the very best in the industry.

For the past seven years, CVA has served farmers in central and eastern Nebraska. CVA's 350 employees strive to stay on the leading edge of technology and innovation to meet the needs of their more than 10,000 customers. To ensure the success of each farmer, Central Valley Ag's agronomy division works with its customers on an individual basis to establish a unique plan to improve each farmer's yields and profitability.

ARA also awarded its Legislator of the Year Award to two congressman: Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) ARA presents this award to members of Congress who have worked closely with ARA in helping to champion legislation important to the ag retail industry. Since both men are also involved in their own family farms, they understand the needs of the agriculture industry and work tirelessly on issues that ensure a productive future for America's farmers and agribusiness.

"As I visit with ag retailers across the country, the number one issue they bring up as a threat to their business is the hours of service issue," said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. "Congressmen Graves and Luetkemeyer have led the congressional effort to reassert the intent of Congress on this issue, making it possible to serve the needs of farmers during their busy seasons."

Coppock announced the Distinguished Service Award winner as Kim Bohlander with Dow AgroSciences. This award honors an individual member of ARA who has achieved above and beyond their traditional responsibilities for the ultimate benefit of the entire ag retail industry.

Bohlander had served on ARA's board for a number of years, served as a member of the nominating committee and served as a member of the member services committee.

Ken Root, former executive chairman of the National Agricultural Retailers Association — which preceded ARA — presented the Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill Griffith, who was general manager of crop protection chemicals at American Cyanamid for several years. In accepting the award, Griffith said, "Can you imagine (back then) that we had cooperatives, we had megastore retailers and we had independents. It was a job like herding cats trying to get all of those people on the same page, and they (NARA) were able to do it. I'm just so proud of what's turned out to be the ARA (and this) great crowd that you have and the job that you're doing, taking care of your own interests."