Message from the President and CEO
This is an exciting time to be part of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry, and FCC is focused on supporting the industry and our customers to achieve their full potential.
The industry is vital to Canada, employing 2.3 million Canadians and contributing more than $111 billion each year to our economy. And it will drive even more growth and innovation as the industry strives to meet the significant goal set out in the federal government’s 2017 budget to increase Canada's agri-food exports from $55 billion now to $75 billion by 2025.
A strong foundation
As Canada’s largest lender to agriculture, FCC exists to advance the agriculture and agri-food industry and enhance rural Canada. For more than 50 years, we’ve been at the table to help Canadians get started in agriculture, enhance their operations and transition to the next generation when the time comes.
We understand the needs of our customers across the agriculture value chain, from primary producers to the agribusiness and agri-food companies that create value-added products for Canadian and global markets. We design flexible products and services to provide our customers with access to capital and knowledge to grow and succeed.
We believe the industry is stronger when we work together, so we partner with Canada’s credit unions and banks as well as our sister Crowns -- Business Development Canada and Export Development Canada -- to provide access to capital for larger loans.
The 2017-18 growing season had its share of challenges, and we announced a Customer Support Strategy to assist customers in parts of eastern Ontario and western Quebec facing hardship due to excessive moisture. We also offered support to customers across western Canada facing potential cash flow problems due to delays in grain movement to international markets. We stand by our customers and show flexibility to help them through challenging times.
As FCC supports agriculture and agri-food operations to become leaders in job creation and innovation, we continue to advance our public policy priorities and business practices to deliver on our mandate. We manage every aspect of our business with diligence and care, keeping our responsibilities as a prudent lender top of mind.
Our business performance in 2017-18 reflects our focus on working together as one team to achieve our objectives. We continued to focus on small and medium-sized businesses, approving 22,438 credit facilities, and providing specialized products and learning for young entrepreneurs and farmers under 40. The strength of our portfolio, which tops $33.9 billion after 25 consecutive years of growth, reflects the growth and prosperity of Canada’s farm families and agribusiness and agri-food operators.
We add value beyond the loan transaction, so we offer learning programs and resources free of charge to customers and non-customers – both in person and online.
Together with our Agriculture More Than Ever partners, we delivered the second annual Canada’s Agriculture Day in February, with more than 250 events nationwide and more than 23 million people reached through social media to help build a bridge between the industry and consumers. New this year, we worked with young farmer associations and industry partners to deliver Ignite: FCC Young Farmer Summit, a series of five events across Canada to inspire, inform and connect the next generation.
We’re passionate about creating connections and having a positive impact on agriculture and rural Canada. We brought communities, customers and partners together in a range of activities this year, including supporting Canadian food banks with a record 7.2 million meals as part of our FCC Drive Away Hunger campaign. We added a new element by contributing $100,000 to school meal programs, donating $1,000 each to 100 schools.
We support the next generation through 4-H, school programs such as Agriculture in the Classroom, and activities with post-secondary students. We champion agriculture safety through Agriculture Safety Week activities and our Back to Ag partnership with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and the Rick Hansen Foundation, which helps injured farmers and agricultural workers return to work on the farm.
To deliver on our commitment to build an open and inclusive workplace, we engage employees and the public in a range of initiatives, including our partnership with the University of Regina’s Campus for All program. For our commitment to hiring people with intellectual disabilities through this program, we received the Employer of Excellence award from the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres.
I feel strongly that raising awareness of mental health issues is critical to the long-term health of our society. We’re committed to making a difference and we provide training, tools and resources for our employees and managers. We’re also exploring opportunities to advance the conversation about mental health with our industry and community partners.
Our team is working to create the conditions for FCC to be successful over the long term by becoming more innovative and agile to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
The way forward
Canadians can take pride that our country is one of the few with the capacity to help meet the growing global demand for safe, high-quality, sustainably produced food.
The agriculture and agri-food industry faces unique challenges and unprecedented opportunities in a time of change for global economies, and FCC’s strength and stability put us in a great position to be part of the solution. Our 2018-19 strategy identifies five areas where we can have a positive impact on our customers — revitalizing our commitment to agribusiness and agri-food enterprises, enhancing our support to the next generation, advancing our knowledge offerings and advisory services, becoming a leader in corporate social responsibility with an expanded focus on serving under-represented groups in Canadian agriculture, and creating the conditions to achieve our strategy more effectively by making innovation a bigger part of how we work.
Our strategy is ambitious, and I’m confident we can bring it to life. Our foundation is strong. Our business success is sustained over time and continues to reach new heights.
Our higher purpose statement — we serve the industry that feeds the world, inspiring possibility and passion — is our way forward. It keeps us focused on growing our economy, building our industry, and strengthening our communities. It also speaks to the energy and commitment that our 1,800 employees bring to work every day. Canadian agriculture has a bright future, and we’re proud to play a part in it.