Message from the President and CEO
Canadian agriculture is an industry on the move and we are proud to be part of it. Our nation’s ability to sustainably produce safe, high-quality food has never been better. As the leading source of financing to the Canadian agriculture and food industry, we at Farm Credit Canada take our role in ensuring the success of this industry to heart.
The agriculture and food industry contributes $114 billion each year to our economy and employs one in eight Canadians. We are one of just a handful of nations that produces more food than they consume. I am confident we will continue to grow this impact from a position of strength.
FCC is a self-sustaining federal Crown corporation. Our role is to provide business and financial services and products to Canadian agriculture producers, food operations and agribusinesses of all sizes. Beyond lending money, we provide advisory services, business management knowledge and training to the industry, free of charge. We also offer creditor insurance, venture capital and farm management software designed specifically for agriculture and agri-food operators.
Although the industry remains strong, 2018-19 was a challenging year for many Canadian producers. Producers in different parts of the country faced springtime challenges such as transport delays and a rare June frost; and a wet, cold fall impacted harvest and quality. Most recently, an international trade dispute has affected canola exports and prices. In spite of these setbacks, Canadian producers remain resilient. FCC is 100% focused on agriculture and we stand by our customers and work to support them through these difficult periods.
To fulfil our mandate, we support agriculture and food operations to become leaders in job creation and innovation. We continue to work with the entire agriculture value chain to advance sector-specific priorities such as helping producers and agribusinesses get products to market, research and innovation, food safety and export support. We manage every aspect of our business with diligence and care to ensure we can support this industry for years to come.
In terms of business performance, FCC’s outstanding 2018-19 results reflect the strength of the agriculture industry. Our team of over 1,900 talented and hardworking employees came together to support our over 100,000 customers nationwide. We succeeded in delivering an exceptional customer experience with a Net Promoter Score® (NPS) of 69.5 to finish the fiscal year, placing us among other elite brands, including financial services and other organizations across Canada and around the world. We enjoyed another record year in terms of loan demand and growth, with our portfolio now exceeding $36.1 billion. Over 99% of our loans are in performing status.
We advanced our corporate strategy in 2018-19, rolling out new technology, tools and offerings to strengthen our role as the leader in agriculture financing and a trusted partner to Canadian agriculture for years to come. FCC’s combination of excellent financial performance and profitability support the business today and enable us to invest for tomorrow.
Another way we support the industry is through public awareness. Together with our over 500 industry partners, we hosted the third annual Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 12, 2019, and it was a huge success. The goal of Canada’s Ag Day is to celebrate the incredible agriculture and food industry while engaging in a conversation with Canadians to help them better understand where their food comes from. Events were held in over 100 communities nationwide and we reached millions of Canadians through social media. This was also the second year we hosted “Ignite” events for young farmers at various locations. Based on feedback, these events were well attended and well received by participants.
FCC also supports the communities in which we live and work. Our 15th annual Drive Away Hunger campaign set a new record, providing over 9.5 million meals for food banks and food programs nationwide. Our FCC AgriSpirit Fund contributed $1.5 million to 84 community projects across Canada in 2018-19. Last fall, we developed our own information booklet called Rooted in Strength – in collaboration with mental health experts – as a resource to encourage dialogue and enable people throughout our industry to seek support if they need it. This booklet was distributed to every farm mailbox in Canada. We also partnered with the Do More Agriculture Foundation to sponsor mental health first aid training programs for producers and provided support to 4-H Canada to help them deliver their Healthy Living Program for rural youth across Canada.
Looking ahead to our 2019-20 strategy, we are excited about the theme Building for the Future. This theme reflects our renewed focus on contributing to the health and vibrancy of the Canadian agriculture and food industry. This past year, we made significant progress in the following strategic areas: developing a plan to increase our support of food and agribusiness; rethinking our approach to support the next generation of agriculture entrepreneurs; enhancing our knowledge offerings to include advisory services to meet the needs of our customers, particularly related to intergenerational transfers; and developing new lending products and programs to assist young farmers and women agriculture entrepreneurs.
Our higher purpose is to serve the industry that feeds the world, inspiring possibility and passion. In 2019, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our organization’s founding. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on our past and plan for our future and the future of this great industry. Success has never come easily for Canadian agriculture and food, but I am confident the future is bright.