Annual conference season will be upon us before you know it, and here at the Agricultural Retailers Association, plans are well underway for the premier ag retailer event of the year. The three-day ARA Conference & Expo opens with the ARA Invitational Golf Tournament and closes with the opportunity to tour the University of Florida Everglades Research and Education Center. It also features a top-notch lineup of speakers, bustling exhibit hall and networking opportunities aplenty. The historic Boca Raton Resort & Club will provide the ideal backdrop for the conference Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, 2018.
Learn and Grow
This year’s speaker lineup will not disappoint. Attendees will hear from experts on leadership, economics, customer service and the latest advances in technology to advance their organizations.
Chuck Magro, president and CEO of Nutrien, will present the first keynote address of the conference. Attendees can look forward to hearing Nutrien’s outlook on the industry’s future. Following Magro’s address, participants can turn the insight into action by learning from John Spence, author of “Awesomely Simple.” Spence will enhance the audience’s business savvy and leadership skills through a keynote and a bonus workshop to dig deeper into his strategies. People at all career stages will benefit.
One of the most anticipated sessions of the conference is an address from Tejas Bhatt, Walmart senior director of food safety innovations. Bhatt has led the company’s efforts in blockchain technology and will provide a glimpse into how this concept may impact all of agriculture in the future.
Scott Downey, agricultural economist at Purdue University, will lead a session on selling to mega growers on Thursday morning. The session is sure to be of interest to all.
With ARA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., conference attendees can guarantee they will gain the latest on the work that staff and members are doing with the policymakers on Capitol Hill and other agencies. ARA’s own Richard Gupton, senior vice president of public policy and counsel, will provide an update on the successes ARA has seen in the past year and share what is on the horizon in the areas that impact the agricultural retail industry the most.
Additional speakers, sessions and trainings will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to ARA’s website, and be sure to lock in your registration early at www.aradc.org/conference.
A Unique Opportunity to Reach Ag Retailers
Conveniently located near all of the conference action will be the ARA Exhibit Hall. The annual expo provides unparalleled access to key decision-makers in the market for all products and services companies have to provide. This year, ARA has extended the exhibit hall time by two hours to maximize opportunities to connect with key contacts.
You can read more about the expo in the next edition of AgPro, which will feature the official ARA Conference & Expo guide.
Connect with Industry Leaders
Attending the ARA Conference & Expo also provides the opportunity to meet, interact and learn from the best in the business.
The conference would not be complete without an opportunity for attendees to network with colleagues, clients and leaders in the industry through an exciting round of golf on the resort’s recently renovated course. The ARA Invitational Golf Tournament is the kickoff event of the conference. It will have a shotgun start on Tuesday morning. Several prizes and bragging rights are at stake, so be sure to get your team of four entered early—space is limited.
Industry Excellence Rewarded
A highlight of the conference is recognizing the Retailer of the Year. An annual award sponsored by AgPro and Monsanto, the award is considered a symbol of quality and prestige—the emblem of the very best in the industry.
In addition to Retailer of the Year, ARA and its allies present several other awards at the conference. Those include the Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award, Distinguished Service Award, AGCO Operator of the Year, Precision Impact Award and Environmental Respect Award.
In addition to honoring those who are established in the industry, ARA also recognizes its Rising Stars at the event. The program is designed to honor and develop high-achievers and future leaders in ag retail. The Rising Stars program provides a vehicle for ARA member organizations to introduce young or emerging leaders to ARA and industry activity and programs through the ARA Conference & Expo.
To close out the conference, attendees have the option of taking a tour of the University of Florida Everglades Research and Education Center. This tour provides attendees with the opportunity to step off the resort and out of conference rooms to get a firsthand look at local agriculture and the latest research. Located near Belle Glade, the center is an agricultural, environmental and educational unit of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Its mission is to conduct research and extension programs in southern Florida that will explore and promote profitable and sustainable agricultural systems. Belle Glade has unique soil for Florida, and its crops include fruits, vegetables and sugarcane. The tour includes the research center and fields.
Registration is open now. Don’t miss out on the early-bird rates that end on Oct. 15! For more information about the ARA Conference & Expo, visit http://www.aradc.org/conference.