Structure & Governance

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.

Board of Directors and Executive Committee

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.  

Current Committees Include: Public PolicyARAPACMember ServicesAuditInvestment PolicyConference Planning, and Nominating.

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:  

Learn more about ARA Committee Structure and Governance.


Standing and Active Committees

Conference Planning

The Conference Planning Committee is responsible for ensuring the ARA Conference is a “must-attend” meeting for retailers and suppliers.

The Committee plans the conference, with particular emphasis on content, structure and site selection. The Committee holds meetings at the winter and fall board of directors meetings and also conducts an on-site planning meeting in late January or early February at the site of the next year’s conference.

Member Services

The Member Services Committee oversees ARA’s membership recruitment and retention efforts and the services and products offered to ARA members. This Committee meets at the winter and fall board meetings, and may hold other meetings or conference calls as necessary.  

Specific functions of this Committee include: Setting goals for membership recruitment and retention; offering concepts and proposals for programs; assisting in development of programs; promoting ARA to current and prospective members; soliciting member feedback on existing and prospective offerings; and identifying and reviewing potential partnership possibilities.

Public Policy

The Public Policy Committee develops, proposes and evaluates the public policy positions of ARA. This committee meets at the winter and fall board meetings, and may hold other meetings or conference calls as necessary.

Specific functions of this Committee include: Developing legislative and regulatory policy goals; identifying and prioritizing long-term issues; recommending approaches to address these issues; providing guidance to staff in responding to regulatory and legislative developments; participating in calls to action; assisting staff and the ARAPAC committee in prioritizing PAC contributions.


ARAPAC is the nonpartisan Political Action Committee of the association. ARAPAC seeks to foster political involvement among ARA members and support federal candidates who align with ARA’s legislative and regulatory mission. Funding helps ensure ag retailers and distributors have a strong voice in the policy and regulatory decision-making process.

Specific functions of this Committee include: Promoting and encouraging members to donate to ARAPAC; overseeing contributions made from ARAPAC funds; expanding fundraising opportunities; and communicating ARAPAC successes.

Members of the ARAPAC Committee must be from ARA member firms, be a "Leader of Industry" (e.g. PAC-eligible), and have given a voluntary, personal contribution to ARAPAC within the past year.


The Audit Committee selects the firm that conducts the annual audit of ARA’s financial statements, reviews the audit with the firm when complete, and presents the results to the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee usually meets at the winter board meeting with the auditor, and may also meet at the fall meeting or by conference call as needed.*

Investment Policy

The Investment Policy Committee supervises the investment of ARA financial reserves and sets parameters for those investments. The Committee usually meets at the winter board meeting with the investment advisor, and may also meet at the fall meeting or by conference call as needed.*


The Nominating Committee is responsible for recruiting ARA board members on an annual basis and presenting that slate of nominees to the Board for approval. The Nominating Committee also presents a slate of nominations for Officers and members of the Executive Committee. The Committee offers its recommendations at the Fall Board meeting; new directors and officers are seated at the annual conference and take office on January 1.*

* These committee are open only to Board members.