Public Policy Role
FCC’s mandate is described in the Farm Credit Canada Act as follows:
The purpose of the corporation is to enhance rural Canada by providing specialized and personalized business and financial services and products to farming operations, including family farms, and to those businesses in rural Canada, including small and medium-sized businesses, that are businesses related to farming. The primary focus of the activities of the corporation shall be on farming operations, including family farms.
Our priorities reflect the federal government’s mandate to support the agriculture and agri-food sector in a way that allows this vibrant industry to be a leader in job creation and innovation. Government priorities for the sector include support for agri-food exports, under-represented groups in Canadian agriculture and agri-food, products to facilitate intergenerational transfers and assist young and new farmers entering the industry, and climate and sustainability goals.
FCC also has a significant public policy role as part of Canada’s recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the federal government’s economic response to strengthen investment in federal lending agencies to support Canadians. On March 23, 2020, FCC received an enhancement to our capital base from the federal government that allowed for an additional $5 billion in lending and risk-taking capacity to support the industry. In addition to regular lending activity, we offer a range of support, including restructuring existing lending packages, payment deferrals, expanded short-term credit and lending options, and we evaluate and implement customer support strategies as needed. We rapidly redesigned our processes, leveraging telephone and digital technologies to continue to serve the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry effectively and efficiently while employees transitioned to working from home. FCC is well positioned to support our customers and Canadian agriculture and agri-food through whatever lies ahead and we continue to support the health and mental well-being of our employees and customers. We continue to work collaboratively with the Government of Canada through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to evolve our strategies to support shareholder priorities and the needs of the agriculture and agri-food industry.
We provide access to capital
FCC provides access to capital by delivering a wide range of financial and business products and services tailored to the industry’s unique needs. Access to capital allows primary producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators to adopt innovative practices and business models that enable them to expand, lower their production costs, develop new products, compete in global markets and take advantage of trade opportunities.
Healthy marketplace competition and a choice of financing are necessary for Canadian producers and agribusinesses to be successful through all economic cycles. FCC works with credit unions, Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to address market and policy issues of mutual interest and identify opportunities for partnership. We partner with Canadian financial institutions to provide financing for larger agriculture operations and agribusinesses. We also offer venture capital financing to the industry through independent partners who manage a series of investment funds on behalf of FCC and other investment partners. This commitment to venture capital ensures capital and business expertise are available to help innovative firms grow into strong businesses in Canada.
FCC continued to be self-sustaining and profitable in 2020-21. Our ongoing strength and stability allow us to serve agriculture through all cycles, as evidences by the steady support through the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to reinvest FCC’s profits into agriculture through increased lending to customers and by developing knowledge, products and services to meet our customers’ needs.
We advance the business of agriculture
We believe sound financial management is key to successful agriculture and agri-food operations.
To help advance producers’ business management skills and knowledge, FCC continued to offer a wide range of learning events, multimedia tools, publications and other resources to our customers and the industry in 2020-21. Producers of all ages and in all sectors can access our resources, free of charge. For the health and safety of attendees and employees during the pandemic, we cancelled all FCC in-person events and shifted to a successful, virtual delivery that has reached a significant number of attendees across Canada, including in remote and rural locations. We offer accounting and farm management software, including cloud-based tools that enhance our customers’ ability to manage their businesses and meet consumer demands. Our employees have the appropriate knowledge and tools to provide solid insight and expertise to our customers to help them achieve their goals. In addition, FCC provides mental health publications and resources through our website to help customers, employees and the public take care of their families and themselves.
The next generation is important to the ongoing growth and success of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry. FCC proudly supports these enthusiastic, hardworking people by offering products and services such as the Transition Loan, Young Farmer Loan and Young Entrepreneur Loan. Our aim is to help young people enter the industry, assist them with intergenerational transfers of operations, provide them with valuable knowledge and help grow their businesses. We also support young farmers and entrepreneurs through our FCC On Campus program and events such as our FCC Young Farmer Summit, which we offered virtually this year due to COVID-19.
We support the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy through our innovative programs for women entrepreneurs in agriculture and agri-food. To support the need for capital, we offer the FCC Women Entrepreneur Loan. We also provide access to advisory services, value-added knowledge content and learning events on topics of interest to women. Our FCC Women’s Summit, offered virtually this year, offers opportunities for women to build connections and enhance their knowledge and skills.
FCC has served as an industry catalyst leading the Agriculture More Than Ever initiative since its inception in 2012. Agriculture More Than Ever is an industry-driven cause made up of hundreds of partners and thousands of industry champions - called agvocates - from across the country, all committed to improving perceptions, dispelling myths and creating positive dialogue about Canadian agriculture. Effective fiscal 2021-22, the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) and FCC reached an agreement for CCFI to assume leadership of Agriculture More Than Ever and Canada’s Agriculture Day.
We support government policy through collaboration with other government agencies
FCC partners with Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada to support innovation and access to international markets for Canadian agribusiness and agri-food operators. Our employees and their counterparts at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada connect on a range of topics important to the agriculture industry, including farmland values, commodity prices and interest rates.
We’re dedicated to agriculture and take a long-term view
We support the agriculture and agri-food industry and are committed to its long-term success. Our strong financial position enables us to provide innovative, industry-focused products and services and ensure producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators have choice in the marketplace.
Our loan products reflect that agriculture is a cyclical industry and that it takes time for business operations to flourish. Unpredictable weather and market conditions can negatively affect producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators. We support our customers through all economic cycles. Our customer support programs allow customers to restructure the terms of their loans to help manage through difficult times. The FCC AgCrisis Fund also provides modest financial support to customers experiencing a traumatic life event.
Our employees attend events and meetings hosted by industry, stakeholder and producer groups, and we share knowledge and solicit input and feedback on issues facing agriculture. We also lead Canada’s largest agriculture-focused research panel, called FCC Vision. FCC Vision enables its members to share their ideas and opinions about Canadian agriculture and how FCC can best serve this exciting, growing industry.
FCC carefully balances the resources needed to support a growing enterprise while controlling costs and increasing efficiencies. This allows us to deliver on our public policy objectives and sustain our excellent financial performance and ability to serve agriculture in the years to come.
We operate our business in a sustainable manner
FCC is committed to agriculture in all cycles, and our work helps our customers reach their full potential and enables us to support continued growth, progress and innovation in the industry. We strive to be a catalyst for sustainability in the industry we serve, and have already made great strides toward operating sustainably and supporting the industry to do the same – we have a strong community investment program, we’re steadfast with our support and promotion of the industry, we offer an unwavering focus on our customers, we provide an exceptional employee experience and we continue to focus on our environmental footprint.
FCC exercises all reasonable care to safeguard the environment and protect the value of real property taken as lending security.
As a federal Crown corporation, FCC is also a federal authority with accountabilities under the Impact Assessment Act and its related regulations and instruments (together, the IAA). FCC complies with the requirements of the IAA if we finance a project that qualifies as a designated project under the IAA.
The IAA states that federal authorities must not carry out or permit projects as defined under the IAA to be carried out on federally owned lands or outside Canada unless the federal authority determines the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects (which means changes to the environment and the impact of these changes on the Indigenous peoples of Canada and on health, social or economic conditions) or the Governor in Council decides the effects are justified under the circumstances.
Results and delivery
As a federal Crown corporation, FCC is committed to making a difference in the lives of Canadians by supporting a strong, vibrant and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector, which in turn supports a strong, food-secure and sustainable Canada.
By achieving our mandate through the provision of specialized products, services, knowledge and support to Canadian producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators, FCC serves as a trusted partner, enabling the industry to continue to create good jobs and opportunities in rural communities across the country, and to drive the Canadian economy, including supporting the industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.