The Agricultural Retailers Association installed John Oster with Morral Companies in Ohio as chairman November 30 during the ARA Conference and Expo in Phoenix.
As he took the gavel to lead ARA’s 26th year, he reflected on those before him.
“You can’t imagine what a daunting feeling that’s going through me right now when I look out at guys like Wendell Stratton, De Willard, Dan Weber -- all the guys who are really icons in this thing we call our retail business,” Oster said. “I’m following in their footsteps and I’m a little bit humbled. I hope to be able to do half as good a job as our outgoing chairman Mr. McArdle.”
Oster follows Tim McArdle, Executive Vice President with Brandt Consolidated. Among other accomplishments, McArdle’s term in office was highlighted by several key regulatory rollbacks as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce government red tape.
“Even when we talk about changing regulations to the downside,” he said. “We still need leadership to make sure that’s done in the proper way, and ARA has done that.”
McArdle said it was a privilege to serve as chairman.
“It’s a tremendous honor to represent (Brandt Consolidated) as the chairman of ARA,” he said. “I want to thank my company first and foremost for allowing me the time to do this because I’ve got a day job, as well. I want to thank the people I work with because right now a lot of them aren’t here because they’re back in Illinois spreading fertilizer and applying ammonia this morning so we keep our business going.”
He went on to praise the mission, staff and capabilities of ARA.
“ARA puts retailers first,” said McArdle. “I do not believe there’s another organization nationally that’s able to do that. We are a diverse membership, but the retailer comes first.”
McArdle congratulated Oster and welcomed him to the role.
“John’s a very capable industry veteran,” he added. “It’s in good hands.”
Oster said he’s working on a gameplan to sustain the excellence of ARA in 2018. One area where ARA will be very active in the coming year is in development of the new farm bill.
“Although we are a small percentage of the total outlay for the farm bill, what we do is extremely important,” Oster added. “We want to bring a common-sense approach to it. As (Congress) debates we want to have input. We are challenging our members to get ahold of their representatives and let them know how they feel.”
He’d like ARA to work closely with new administration officials such as Sonny Perdue and Scott Pruitt on regulations impacting the industry, and do an even better job of telling agriculture’s winning story.
“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “2018 is going to be an exciting year full of challenges but full of real rewards.”#Conference#ARA2017