Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA)
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) offers programs and services designed to keep agricultural retailers on top of critical issues that impact profitability. The landscape for crop input practices, technology developments and government regulations is constantly changing. Staying informed means staying ahead, and no organization helps the retail distribution industry more than ARA. ARA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association that represents the interests of agricultural retailers and distributors across the United States on legislative and regulatory issues. As the political voice for agricultural retailers and distributors, ARA advocates on critical issues, educates legislators and collaborates with regulatory officials on important issues affecting the industry.
Ag retailers supply farmers and ranchers with products and services. These products include seed, nutrients, crop protection products, feed, equipment and technology. Retailers also provide consultative services such as crop scouting, soil testing, field mapping, custom planting and application and development of nutrient management and conservation plans.
Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) and Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) are often retained on the retailer’s staff to provide professional guidance and crop input recommendations to farmers and consumers.
Agricultural retailers range in size from small, family-held businesses to large companies and farmer-owned cooperatives with many outlet stores. Large and small retail facilities are scattered throughout all 50 states and provide critical goods and services, as well as jobs and economic opportunities in rural and suburban communities.
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) advocates, influences, educates and provides services to support its members in their quest to maintain a profitable business environment, adapt to a changing world and preserve their freedom to operate.
ARA receives its guidance and accomplishes its work through the active participation of leaders serving on the board of directors and members volunteering through committees, work groups and task forces. This document describes the various groups that function within ARA. Signup for these groups is done annually in December for service during the following calendar year.
The Board of Directors holds the ultimate governing authority and responsibility of the association. ARA holds an orientation for the board at the February meeting, which includes information on the duties and responsibilities of the board as a whole and board members individually. The Board is composed of 22 retailer representatives and 17 industry supplier representatives.
An Executive Committee from the board is named annually, and consists of four officers (Chair, Chair-elect, Vice Chair and Past Chair), all of whom must be retailer representatives, and one representative from each of the four industry supplier categories listed above.
The Executive Committee superintends the conduct of the association within the bylaws and policies enacted by the board. It has full power to act on behalf of the board except in matters concerning major acquisitions, sale of major association assets, or amendment of the bylaws. The Executive Committee employs the President & Chief Executive Officer of the association, who in turn hires staff appropriate to accomplish the association’s mission.
ARA Committees provide essential guidance and expertise to all facets of the association. Each member of the Board of Directors is expected to serve on at least one committee. In addition to directors, ARA member companies are encouraged to name representatives with relevant subject matter expertise or responsibilities within their companies to ARA committees, task forces and working groups, so the association may draw upon that reservoir of talent. A solicitation will be provided in December to all ARA member companies, requesting their involvement in ARA committees for the coming year.
Task Forces and Work Groups
Work groups are topic-focused and provide expert opinion to ARA as needed on an ongoing basis. Task Forces are focused on a specific objective, with a finite lifespan that expires when the task is accomplished. The vast majority of this work is done via email and conference call, so there should be no scheduling conflicts with Committee meetings.
Current Task Forces and Work Groups Include:
- Fertilizer Contract Task Force
- Transportation Working Group
- Technology Working Group
- Tax / Finance Working Group
- Environmental Stewardship Working Group
- Security Working Group
- Biotechnology / Seed Working Group
- Sustainability Working Group
- OSHA Working Group