Human Resources
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) unveiled its new Starter Loan to help young borrowers involved in the agriculture sector access the financial capital and knowledge they need to start and grow their business.

The Starter Loan Program is open to applicants from 18-25 years of age, and can provide up to $50,000 to help new entrepreneurs start their farming operations. Loan funds can be used to finance the purchase of assets such as livestock, equipment, or an existing business and is available to both primary producers and agri-businesses.

Coupled with this, FCC is offering their farm management software, AgExpert Accounting Premium, for free, with the intent that young borrowers can have the financial independence and knowledge they need while establishing a solid credit history.

“Farm operations are a generational business, often passed down through families with succession plans for children that want to follow in their parent’s footsteps,” said Ron Bonnett, president of The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, in response to the announcement. “But not all aspiring farmers have that kind of support or knowledge to draw from. Starting a farming operation has huge capital costs and an intense burden of knowledge. The FCC Starter Loan program can help new, young farmers break into the sector. Programs like these are pivotal for the next generation of farmers and the future of Canadian food production.”

“The FCC Starter Loan shows our commitment to supporting our customers throughout their lifetime. A young borrower may have the goal of starting a cattle herd or purchasing some quota. Another may take their entrepreneurial vision to the next level with a vertical farming system or decide to purchase their first piece of equipment. It’s a start to a lifetime of possibilities,” said Micheal Hoffort, FCC president.

In 2018, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) launched its own loan program for Canadian farmers 35 years of age or younger. The BMO Young Farmer Program provides higher advance rates to invest in equipment, new technologies or the overall infrastructure of a farm operation.
Published in Business Management
A P.E.I. family-owned farm operation, Eric C. Robinson Inc., is closing the potato growing and packaging portion of its farming division to focus on the soybeans, forage and barley it already produces.
Published in News
The P.E.I. Potato Board recently elected three new directors, a new vice-chairman and a new chairman.
Published in News
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board has a new executive as a result of its December 4th board of directors meeting.

Darryl Wallace of Cascumpec was elected as the new chairman of the board. Wallace and his family own and operate Wallace Family Farms. He represents the processing sector for the West Prince District on the board.

The new vice-chairman of the board is Jason Hayden of Pownal. Hayden and his family own and operate Eastern Farms Ltd. He represents the tablestock sector for the Charlottetown District.

The third member of the executive committee is John Hogg of Summerside who was elected secretary-treasurer. Hogg represents the processing sector for the Summerside District.

Also joining the board is Chad Robertson of Marvyn's Gardens. He will be representing the Tablestock sector for the Montague/Souris District.

The remaining board directors are Rodney Dingwell, Alex Docherty, Fulton Hamill, Glen Rayner, Wayne Townshend, David Francis, Mark MacMillan and Harris Callaghan. Ashton Perry of Elmsdale also participates in Board meetings as a representative of the PEI Young Farmers Association.

The Board also recognized the efforts of retiring Board member Owen Ching, tablestock representative for the Montague/Souris District, for his service over the past few years.

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board represents Island potato farmers and assists in growing the markets for PEI Potatoes locally, nationally, and internationally. The Board supports the production of high quality potatoes in an environmentally responsible manner, and is funding and conducting research in the areas of soil health, pest and disease management, quality and yield.

Directors are elected to represent four districts across the province, and each district is represented by a seed grower, a tablestock grower and a processing grower. Directors serve three year terms and are eligible for re-election to serve a second three year term. The directors serving on the PEI Potato Board are all from family farms with a heritage of growing potatoes and other crops for many years.
Published in News
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) recently held an AgriWorkforce Roundtable to discuss challenges and possible solutions to address the critical agricultural labour shortage in Canada.
Published in Business Management
Last month Statistics Canada released the results of the 2016 Census of Agriculture. Like many of you, I was eager to read up on the results and discover how our industry has changed in the five years since the last survey was conducted. 
Published in News

July 28, 2015 - The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is pleased to announce the formation of the Advisory Group for the Supporting the Advancement of Women in Agriculture project. This project will examine and address critical barriers to advancement facing women in the industry. Based on these results, there will be a strategic program developed and implemented to support improved access to leadership opportunities and strengthened business success for women working in agriculture.

As the project moves forward, the Advisory Group will provide feedback around key lines of enquiry to ensure meaningful outcomes for the agricultural community. This includes identifying subject matter experts to participate in the research, development and validation activities. Members will also assist in guiding the progress of the project for the next two years and as findings come in will provide feedback on proposed research instruments, tool drafts, report drafts, and other project elements.

The Advisory Group is comprised of professional and entrepreneurial women and men in the agriculture industry with an interest in advancing women in leadership roles. Members were drawn from senior management and executive positions in farm businesses, agricultural associations and agribusiness. They provide a balance of representation from across Canada as well as a cross-section of production areas, business focus and industry associations. The members include:

  • Heather Broughton, Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta, Agri-Food Management Excellence Inc.
  • Chantelle Donahue, Vice-President Corporate Affairs, Cargill Limited
  • Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst, NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba
  • Susan Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald & Co, Canadian AgriWomen Network
  • Rebecca Hannam, Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, Rural Ontario Institute,
  • Dr. Laura Halfyard, Sunrise and Connaigre Mussel Farms, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Association
  • Brenda Lammens, Agri-Food Management Institute, Canadian AgriWomen Network
  • Geneviève Lemonde, AGRIcarrières
  • Iris Meck, Iris Meck Communications
  • Debra Pretty-Straathof, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, World Farmers Organization (WFO) Standing Committee on Women in Agriculture
  • Lis Robertson, Canadian Association of Farm Advisors
  • Kim Shukla, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

There will be ways for others to get involved in the project as well. In the near future CAHRC will be announcing sub-groups focused on specific areas. There will also be social media groups through Linked-In and Facebook formed to allow for greater connection and communication throughout the project.

For more information or to get involved with Supporting the Advancement of Women in Agriculture, please contact Jennifer Wright, HR Consultant at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Debra Hauer, Project Manager at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit CAHRC at www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.  This project is funded by Status of Women Canada.

Published in Business Management

January 29, 2015 - The Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Task Force (LTF) has elected Mark Wales as its new Chairperson and is moving forward with the recommendations of its Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan to address agricultural industry worker shortages.

“It is my pleasure to chair the Labor Task Force. We have a broad-based, growing group representing all commodities and value chains and we are rolling up our sleeves, coming together to work on solutions for agriculture and agri-food labour shortages,” says Wales. “Through the Labour Action Plan we have a roadmap forward addressing our workforce shortages which have been identified as the number one risk affecting the agriculture and agri-food industry today.”

Wales, a horticulture farmer from Elgin County, Ont., is also the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) Chair, representing the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

The Labour Task Force was established by the Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) Value Chain Roundtables in 2012 to examine issues of agriculture and agri-food labour management and shortages; recently the LTF transitioned to become a CAHRC Committee.  Participation in the AAFC Value Chain Roundtable process and composition of the LTF is made up of a diverse cross-section of agricultural representatives covering everything from primary production, lobster and meat processing to ornamental horticulture production. These agriculture and agri-food value chains are a powerful driver of the Canadian economy representing eight per cent of the GDP. 

The LTF released the Labour Action Plan with practical and achievable recommendations last spring and support for the Plan’s implementation has now grown to 45 industry partners. The group is working on an update to the Policy and Programs section of the Labour Action Plan, including a review of changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as it relates to agriculture and agri-food.

“We always recruit and hire Canadian domestic workers first,” says Mark Chambers, the LTF Policy and Programs Working Group Chair, who is Production Manager for Sunterra Farms, a family owned pork operation in Acme, Alberta. “However, finding workers to work and live in small rural communities is very challenging.  We need more workers to meet current production demands and to take advantage of export opportunities offered by new free trade deals.

“Labour shortages are pervasive, affecting current operational success,” says Wales. “Canadian producers’ incomes depend on agriculture’s value-added advantage and Canadian consumers depend on us for healthy, reasonably priced food.  To allow for continued prosperity and growth for our industry and the broader Canadian economy, it is urgent and essential that we continue to move forward with the Labour Action Plan to find short, medium and long term solutions.” 

As the overarching organization for farm labour in Canada, CAHRC is also conducting research on agricultural Labour Market Information (LMI) to identify labour and skill gaps as well as the National Agricultural Occupational Framework (NAOF), an in-depth study of the exact jobs and skills involved in today’s agricultural workforce. These projects will help to better inform and connect industry, governments and academic institutions with agriculture’s workforce requirements which are integral to the success of the Labour Action Plan’s future activities.

“The Canadian Agricultural HR Council is pleased to lead the implementation of the Labour Task Force’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan,” explains Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director, CAHRC. “The Labour Task Force is a critically important mechanism that brings industry together to discuss labour related issues, recognize their inter-connectedness and collaborate to develop meaningful solutions.”

For more information on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan or agricultural human resource management contact CAHRC at www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.

Published in Business Management

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