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WASHINGTON, D.C.

AgGateway and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) are encouraging agricultural retailers and distributors to take advantage of a new standard to reduce the cost and complexity of sales reporting.

AgGateway's Ag Retail Council has developed a standard file format for sales reporting to manufacturers and suppliers that is easy to use and widely accepted in the agriculture industry. As with all standards created through AgGateway's collaborative process, this standard is freely available to all in the industry as a means to promote, enable and expand eBusiness.

AgGateway and ARA are holding a free, one-hour webinar on Feb. 25 to educate those interested in the format. It will be repeated March 2; details are provided below. Additional information, including a fact sheet, user guide and specification, can be found at www.AgGateway.org under 'eConnectivity Tools'.

'This is a fantastic new resource, and one that every company should consider putting into place,' said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. 'It's easy to set up and will save ag retailers countless hours and headaches in the months and years ahead.'

'By adopting this standard, we expect to reduce manual data entry and see fewer errors in our sales reporting — resulting in labor savings, time savings and a faster turnaround on our rebates,' said Jeff Griffeth, innovative business solutions manager, Co-Alliance, and chair of AgGateway's Ag Retail Council. 'We know many others are putting the file format in place, which will greatly improve the ease of information exchange between trading partners.'

The new file format addresses a pervasive problem when it comes to sales reporting: Retailers and small-to-medium-sized distributors who weren't in a position to implement B2B integrations had to create dozens of custom spreadsheets, each with a format specific to the manufacturer or supplier.

To fix this problem, major retailers, distributors, manufacturers and software vendors in the AgGateway community banded together to define a standard file format for sales reporting.

The new file format supports the use of standard industry identifiers such as GLNs, GTINs, and Units of Measure; these identifiers are now accessible to the public through AgGateway's Ag Industry Identification System (AGIIS). The file format can be created manually using Microsoft Excel templates or, with modest IT capabilities, a company can generate it programmatically. Most importantly, this one file format will satisfy the needs of dozens of manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.

By supporting this standard format, manufacturers and suppliers will also benefit from greater adoption and faster implementations. For software providers it means fewer formats to support and less implementation work for sales reporting integrations.

The upcoming webinar is targeted to business and technical staff, explaining the use model, the standard and the associated user guide. The webinar will include an open Q&A session. Participants can register for either of the times below (the second webinar is a repeat of the first.)

· Thursday, Feb. 25, 3-4 p.m. EDT

· Wednesday March 2, 11a.m.-noon EDT

Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/8857901341232372226 or go to www.AgGateway.org to find the link there. More information on how to join AgGateway's Ag Retail Council can be found at www.AgGateway.org.

AgGateway is a non-profit consortium of businesses serving the agriculture industry that helps member companies improve their profitability and productivity by promoting, enabling and expanding eBusiness in agriculture and agriculture-related businesses. Visit www.AgGateway.org

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is a nonprofit trade association representing the interests of retailers across the United States on legislative and regulatory issues on Capitol Hill. As the political voice of agricultural retailers, ARA not only represents its membership but also educates members on the political process and important issues affecting the industry. Visit http://www.aradc.org.

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