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ARA Distinguished Service Award

The ARA Distinguished Service Award honors an individual member of the association who has gone above and beyond the traditional responsibility to support the ag retail industry and the association – making the industry better for all.

The individual chosen for this award is selected by the ARA Executive Committee from the submitted nominations. The designee may come from any of the membership categories in ARA: retail, distributor, or manufacturer of equipment, chemicals and fertilizer.

Nominations Open

Nominations open mid-year. Nominate candidates by completing the form below before the deadline. This service award will be presented at our annual conference this year.

2023 Honoree

ARA recognized Toby M. Hlavinka, president and CEO of American Plant Food (APF), with the ARA Distinguished Service Award during the ARA Conference & Expo in front of more than 620 ag retail industry professionals.

“Toby has set the bar in his role as ARAPAC Committee chair,” says ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “He has been an enthusiastic supporter of our Political Action Committee which provides a vital tool to advance our advocacy efforts."

"Beyond his direct service to ARA, American Plant Food under his leadership also set the standard for how to be prepared for and respond to an emergency situation. Through the way they handled direct response to the incident, communication with first responders and the community and safety compliance preparation with the help of ResponsibleAg, APF very effectively mitigated what could have been a serious incident.”

Learn more about his contributions to the ag retail industry and read more in the news release. 

News Release

Past Recipients

  • 2022 - Gary Vogen, Yara North America (news release)
  • 2021 - Anne Yargus Sheehy and Meg Yargus Steward of AGI Fertilizer Systems (previously Yargus) (news release)
  • 2020 - John Oster, Morral Companies (news release) Watch Video
  • 2019 - Tim McArdle, Brandt Co. (news release)
  • 2018 - Billy Willard and Bob Willard, Willard Agri-Service
  • 2017 - Steve Nielsen, United Suppliers
  • 2016 - Jamie Southard, The Equity
  • 2015- J. Billy Pirkle, Crop Production Services
  • 2014 - Paul Derig, J.R. Simplot
  • 2013 - Rod Schroeder, WinField Solutions
  • 2012 - Ken Manning, Wilbur-Ellis Company
  • 2011 - Dan Weber, Ceres Solutions
  • 2010 - Kim Bohlander, Dow Agrosciences
  • 2009 - Dave Coppess, Heartland Ag Service
  • 2008 - Tom Warner, Crop Production Services
  • 2007 - John Hester, Nichols Agriservice
  • 2006 - Pete Romano, Quincy Farm Chemical
  • 2005 - Don Pottinger, AGCO Corporation
  • 2004 - George Thornton, Agriliance & Neil Strong, Syngenta
  • 2003 - Allen Summers, Asmark
  • 2002 - Jim Thrift, BASF
  • 2001 - Ray Train, Syngenta
Toby Hlavinka APF Distinguished Service Award 2023
Distinguished Service Award honoree Toby Hlavinka