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ARA Conference Highlights From Keynote & Breakout Speakers

Nov 29 2023

ARA concluded its first full day of the 2023 ARA Conference & Expo with more than 620 ag retail industry professionals in attendance.

The opening general session keynote speaker and generational expert Kim Lear with Inlay Insights offered a closer look into the next generation of ag retail’s workforce and how to lead multigenerational teams to thrive.

“Agriculture, like any other industry, is experiencing a shift in the workplace as millennials transition from entry-level positions to management, Gen X steps into the c-suite, and Gen Z enters with a fresh perspective,” says ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “Kim shared new communication tactics to bridge the generational gap and build resilient teams.”

Coppock then took the stage to deliver his annual President’s Report to share the top concerns he hears from ag retailers across the country, to celebrate our industry’s policy wins this year, and to peer into what the future of ag retail holds as it relates to artificial intelligence, people, regulatory overreach, risk management and more.

Then, author and coach Jones Loflin delivered his keynote address with solutions to taking back control f your day instead of letting it control you. 

“As an ag retailer, I know what it’s like to feel as if there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done,” says ARA Board Chair Ian McGregor with The McGregor Company. “I look forward to getting back to work and implementing what I’ve learned today and sharing it with my team.”

Later in the afternoon, attendees participated in two breakout sessions. The first was on disaster recovery, planning and prevention. Meherrin Fertilizer President Mike Carroll told his story of when the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant burned earlier this year and the comprehensive effort needed to manage the response. From cleanup to business continuity, Carroll shared lessons learned to help attendees refine their own crisis management plans.

“Stop Letting Your Recruiting Challenges Create Retention Pain” was the second breakout session of the day led by Erin Mies and Kristen Ireland with People Spark Consulting. This interactive session dug deep into how to adjust work to both increase retention and engagement within your team while reducing recruitment headaches.

The day featured a tour of Winter Park and concludes with another networking reception in the Expo Hall to encourage relationship building across the industry and to showcase the leading products, services and programs.

Learn more about the ARA Conference & Expo on the website or on ARA’s social media.

(Photo credit: Lensology Photography & Videography)