ARA will launch the Sustainability Programming for Agricultural Retailers and CCAs (SPARC) initiative at its upcoming conference and expo to be held in Boca Raton, Fla., in November.
A partnership among ARA, the American Society of Agronomy, the Environmental Defense Fund and Field to Market, the SPARC initiative is a series of introductory-level online educational modules for ag retailer decision-makers and Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) who are considering or just starting to offer sustainability-oriented agronomic guidance.
Cover crops are just one practice covered in the modules. They’re an identified need supported by a recent study conducted by Datu Research LLC. In its findings, Datu highlights the barriers in the industry preventing cover crops from being a prominent business segment. The study found that 89% of agricultural retailers have offered cover crop products and services in the past two years, and 94% say they want to expand these offerings in the future, yet cover crop acreage remains low.
“Ag retailers have always worked to assist their farmer-customers in conservation practice implementation,” says ARA president and CEO Daren Coppock. “The adoption of cover crops will continue at a slower rate until farmers can see the true value in the practice. Our retailer-members appreciate the survey results and any subsequent findings to work with their customers in making the best decisions for their operations and the environment.”
SPARC is one opportunity for ag retailers and CCAs to continue their education and ability to offer these services to their customers. The SPARC launch will take place on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the ARA Conference & Expo. Details can be found at https://www.aradc.org/conference/home.