The Agricultural Retailers Association turned 25 this year and is celebrating at the ARA Conference and Expo.
“We’re excited to honor and recognize those who have served and participated in the success of ARA during the past 25 years,” says Daren Coppock, ARA president and CEO. “The organization has a rich history and many accomplishments to celebrate.”
The Foundational Year
ARA formed in 1992 when the long-established National Fertilizer Solutions Association (NFSA) and newcomer National AgriChemical Retailers Association (NARA) merged.
NFSA contributed a strong networking and professional development component, and NARA was an active voice for farm supply dealers in Washington, D.C. In addition to overlapping membership, the organizations shared a desire to represent the distinct interests of agricultural retailers, independently of fertilizer, seed and chemical suppliers. The combined organization, ARA, became a stronger, more focused and unified voice dedicated to the ag retail industry.
“Year after year, ARA has become more well-known in the industry and Washington and has built upon its legacy,” says Tim McArdle, current ARA board chairman and general manager with Brandt Consolidated. “If you think about where we’ve come from, from the old NFSA days to how the industry operates now, it’s light-years different. ARA has grown to the organization that it is today by serving a broader constituency in more ways.”
Marking the occasion, past chairs and board members from ARA, NFSA and NARA have been invited to the conference, Nov. 28 to Nov. 30 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. A reception and recognition ceremony will commemorate the anniversary.
“The importance of ARA is still there,” says former NARA and ARA chairman Scott Ramsdell. “As the rules and regulations continue to be made in Washington, D.C., and not in rural America, they’re mandating things to us that are not totally commonsense. That’s probably the biggest issue today. Without ARA, I’m not certain where we’d be in Washington.”
In addition to honoring the past, the conference remains a venue to look forward. There’s still time to register. Go to www.aradc.org/ARA2017 for more.
“I’m just pleased that we got together,” Ramsdell says, “and what I’m proud of is maintaining representation of the small dealer. I smile when I think of ARA, the history and all the people I met during my time on the board.”