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Maintaining Business During a Busy Planting Season and Deadly Pandemic

Apr 30 2020

 The 2020 planting season is sweeping across the nation, and so is a novel coronavirus. In an already busy time of the year for ag retailers, they are forced to keep up with constantly changing regulations and legislative actions, strict sanitation and employee safety guidelines, and the needs of their farmer customers.

Harold Cooper, CEO of the 2019 ARA Retailer of the Year award-winning company Premier Ag, recently wrote to ARA about his take on the current state of the regulatory environment and what it means to be an ARA member in a time of crisis.

“Surprisingly to me, Indiana has been a bit of a challenge to our industry as the state government has attempted to implement ‘shelter at home’ quarantine measures for employees,” says Cooper.

The state government, leading by example as it relates to sheltering at home, has created challenges for industries deemed critical like ag retail to continue to hire new commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers to transport their supplies.”

ARA has led a national effort to encourage both state and federal officials to grant ag retailers the concessions that are necessary to maintaining business during the busy planting season and COVID-19 pandemic. By reaching out to the Trump administration, agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Senate and House representatives and their staff, state leaders, and member companies, ARA has influenced several solutions to allow agribusinesses to hire additional drivers.

Another large challenge made worse by the pandemic is access to enough workers to get the job done. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is asking people to stay at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the same time the federal government is incentivizing unemployment, and it makes it pretty difficult to find workers in flyover country, says Cooper.

Thankfully, ARA is working tirelessly to improve the situation for ag retailers and suppliers by sending more than 15 letters with practical recommendations such as the letter to President Trump on March 18.

As our industry comes together to ensure our nation’s farmers have the support and services they need to put food on the grocery shelves, ARA continues to lead with relevant resources and information to keep its membership informed and operating in this ever-changing regulatory and legislative environment.

A job well done.

Harold Cooper

Premier Companies


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