The unusual event of the opening day of the Agricultural Retailers Association annual meeting was the roast of Jim Thrift, who is retiring from full-time duty on the staff of ARA at the end of the year.

The other functions on the opening day agenda included the ARAPAC golf tournament, Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World” presentation by Fred Below, new members and first time attendees reception, the opening reception of the trade show and New Leader Night appreciation dinner.

Thrift has been the vice-president of regulatory policy and corporate relations. Four people who recalled working with Thrift provided comedic comments, but Thrift wouldn’t be outdone as he provided his own comedic look to the future. Those speaking before the entire trade show crowd about Thrift were Brian Gentsch, Scott Rawlins, Karen Soule and Bill Rowland.

ARA annual meeting began TuesdayBelow spoke about his seven factors affecting corn yield ranking them from having the most impact to the least yield impact: 1) Weather, 2) Nitrogen for the crop, 3) Hybrid selection including insect resistance, 4) Previous crop and crop rotation, 5) Plant population, 6) Tillage and 7) Growth regulators which includes strobilurin fungicides.

ARA annual meeting began TuesdayNew Leader Night featured a performance by comedian Ron Pearson, comedian, juggler and actor. He has appeared on numerous television shows and continues to be cast for show parts including some not yet aired.