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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

Next-Gen financing

CONVERSATIONS WITH BUSINESS EXPERTS

Perry Wilson, Senior Vice-President Agriculture Production – Ontario, Farm Credit Canada www.fcc-fac.ca

(J.M.) WHO WILL BE THE NEXT GENERATION OF CANADIAN FARMERS?

(P.W.) The next generation of farmers is important to the growth of our industry. We will be relying on young people who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to continue producing our food. At Farm Credit Canada (FCC) we know the next generation will include those who will take over the family farm and individuals who are new to agriculture, all with a diverse skillset. We also expect a greater proportion of women and Indigenous people to be farming, representing a growing but underserved segment of our sector.

The numbers don’t lie; Farm Management Canada estimates that 75 percent of farms across Canada will change hands over the next decade. In 2021, Statistics Canada reported that 60.5 per cent of farm operators were older than 55. The next generation is ready to farm, and we need them, but they also need the support to help them succeed.

For example, FCC’s economics team recently identified a national opportunity that amounts to a $1.5 billion boost to primary agriculture’s GDP if we can increase the participation of Indigenous people in agriculture and bridge the gap in farm income between Indigenous and non-Indigenous farm operations.

HOW IS FCC SUPPORTING NEW FARMERS?

Canada’s next generation of farmers are currently being under served. That’s one of the reasons FCC is increasing focus on these groups to provide more support by expanding our products and creating new, specific loans and services for these groups, and offering educational events and resources.

Our events are open to anyone interested in Canadian agriculture and feature speakers

who inspire, inform, and introduce new ways of thinking about agriculture and food. FCC hosts several events, including Young Farmer Summits, Ag Outlooks, and Women in Ag, Transition, and Indigenous-focused learning opportunities.

As I mentioned, FCC is proud to focus our efforts on supporting Indigenous agriculture and food. We invested $15 million in the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation’s Indigenous Growth Fund to increase entrepreneurs’ access to capital through Indigenous Financial Institutions.

The FCC Women Entrepreneur Program is our commitment to supporting women in agriculture and food based on our understanding of their needs and those of women entrepreneurs across the country. It offers support to women involved in Canadian agriculture and agri-food by providing the capital they need to grow their business, along with the meaningful skill development opportunities they are seeking.

WHAT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE?

FCC offers a robust suite of products and services, including increased lending programs and services directed at the next generation of Canadian farmers. We’re invested in the future of our industry and the success of our clients. For a full list of our financing products, please visit our website, www.fcc-fac.ca.

Here’s a look at the specific loans and services we offer to support young farmers, new farmers, women and Indigenous people.

Starter loan: Designed to establish or expand your operation and build your credit history with FCC. Receive up to $150,000 with special 1 – 10-year fixed rates available and no loan processing fees.

Perry Wilson, Senior Vice-President Agriculture Production Ontario, Farm Credit Canada www.fcc-fac.ca

Young Farmer Loan: Qualified farmers under 40 years of age can use the loan to purchase agriculture-related assets for up to 18 months (up to $2,000,000) with no loan processing fees.

Women Entrepreneur Loan: Provides each female borrower a one-time fee waiver of up to $1,000 of the loan processing fees. Borrowers are encouraged to reinvest these savings into personal and professional development that best suits their individual needs and the needs of their growing business (training, conferences, mentorship, etc.). This loan program has provided over $2.5 million in lending to female entrepreneurs since the loan’s inception in March 2019.

Indigenous Agriculture and Food: On and off- reserve financing and resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs, economic development corporations and First Nations communities. In addition to agriculture activities, we have also expanded our eligibility to include traditional Indigenous harvesting from natural sources.

Young Entrepreneur Loan: With this loan, entrepreneurs under age 40 can start or expand their business and access capital for their business of up to $2,000,000 to purchase agriculture or food-related assets with low interest rates or loan processing fees.

FCC transition services are also available as a complimentary advisory program designed to help farm families gain clarity, identify goals and determine the next steps in their transition journey. FCC’s business advisors work with farm families to help start the conversation, define goals and intentions, eliminate barriers and explore options for farm transition.

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