Today, the Agricultural Retailers Association opened its 2018 Conference and Expo in Boca Raton, Fla. The annual three-day event continues through Thursday, Nov. 29, bringing together nearly 600 agricultural retail leaders, suppliers, and industry partners.
“The ARA Conference and Expo is the premier event for ag retailers,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “Each year we come together to honor the industry’s best. We hear from engaging speakers who highlight industry trends, and we explore the issues that ag retailers and their farmer customers will face in the coming year.”
The conference kicked off with the Annual ARA Invitational Golf Tournament, affording participants the opportunity to network and create relationships, which are the foundation of successful partnerships for ag retailers. Ambassador Darci Vetter, General Manager of Public Affairs & Vice Chair of Agriculture Food and Trade of Edelman Public Affairs presented a workshop entitled, “Trade, Tariffs, and Their Impact on American Agriculture.” Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. Trade Representative and under secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provided expert insight into the current state of affairs.
“Agriculture, and ag retailers specifically, are being squeezed by the Administration’s trade policy," said Ambassador Vetter. "U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are raising prices on the products they sell, and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products are reducing the income that U.S. farmers have to purchase them. The entire U.S. agricultural supply chain will feel the pinch of these tariffs, and ag retailers have an opportunity to use their experience to demonstrate the importance of trade to the rural economy.”
“If there was a time for us, as the voice for America’s ag retailers, to come together and help influence the future direction of this industry, this is it. This is the place. This is the time,” said ARA Board Chairman John Oster.
Wednesday’s program will feature a keynote address from Chuck Magro, chief executive officer of ARA member Nutrien, and John Spence, author of Awesomely Simple. ARA will also name its 2018 Retailer of the Year and recognize dedicated leaders with the Distinguished Service Award and the Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Information provided by ASA.