The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is still accepting nominations for the Agricultural Retailer of the Year Award, but time is running out. Nominations are due Friday, July 6. This award is sponsored by Monsanto Company, ARA and AgProfessional magazine and honors retailers who consistently exceed their customer's expectations and serve as a positive example for other retailers through their outstanding, sustainable and innovative business practices.

The winner of the ARA Retailer of the Year Award will receive the following: two round-trip airline tickets and two nights of accommodations at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, Calif., for the ARA Conference & Exposition, Nov. 27-29; a round-trip flight to meet with Monsanto representatives and ARA officers for a VIP dinner and tour of Monsanto's state of the art research facilities in St. Louis, Mo.; a special award presentation at the ARA Conference; and a beautiful crystal award to display at the retail facility. In addition, AgProfessional magazine will include a two-page article featuring the winning agricultural retailer in their magazine and on the ARA Retailer of the Year Award website.

The process for nominating a company to receive the ARA Retailer of the Year Award is simple. Click here and complete the online entry form by Friday, July 6 Retailers are also welcome to nominate their own operation for the award. A panel of judges will select finalists and determine a winner later this summer. The retailer finalists will be judged on the following criteria.

1. Effective Employee Relations
Hires, trains and retains highly skilled, professional employees.
Competitive compensation & benefits plan.
Commits resources for employees to participate in professional certification and/or self-improvement programs.

2. Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
Respect for the environment beyond compliance.
Implements daily practices that improve the environment and the image of our industry.
Demonstrates use of sustainable and financially sensible practices that help to conserve and protect our natural resources to ensure a safe environment and food supply now and for future generations.

3. Reliability
Meets customer expectations, especially during the busier times of the year. Implements practices to reduce downtime (fleet management, preventive maintenance, etc.)

4. Community & Industry Leadership
Civic involvement. Local, state and national industry association involvement. Must be an ARA member

5. Relationship Building
Continually refines strategic alliances with customers, suppliers, employees and state and local governments Manages insurance coverage in today's environment

6. Technology Utilization
Embraces a business philosophy that maximizes revenue service streams by focusing on profitable customer services.
Turns raw customer data into more profitable crop production decisions

7. Innovative Business Practices
Optimizes changing markets by providing personalized services (value added).
Strives to diversify business strategies.
Implements cutting-edge management tools in all facets of retail business.

For more information on the Retailer of the Year award, visit the ARA Web site at http://www.aradc.org or contact Michelle Hummel at (202) 457-0825 or michelle@aradc.org.

Help us recognize the "Best of the Best" and nominate the agricultural retailer you most highly regard today!