Message from the CEO
Agriculture is our passion at FCC, and we’re proud to be a trusted partner to thousands of Canadians from coast to coast who work hard to feed a growing world.
As Canada’s largest lender to agriculture, FCC sees first-hand the effort and dedication of Canadians involved in agriculture, the quality of management they bring to their operations and their ability to succeed in this ever-changing industry.
Bringing strength and stability to Canadian agriculture
We continued to fulfil FCC’s special mandate this year – more than 80% of our customers are small and medium-sized businesses, we made $3.2 billion in loan disbursements to farmers under the age of 40 and the strength of our portfolio, which now tops $31.2 billion after 24 consecutive years of growth, reflects the growth and prosperity of Canada’s farm families.
Agriculture is all we do, which gives us a unique perspective and enduring commitment to this industry and the customers we serve. We’ve designed a variety of flexible products and services to provide customers across the agriculture value chain with access to the capital they need, from primary producers to the agribusiness and agri-food companies that add the processing value here at home before selling their products to Canadian and global markets.
As a federal Crown corporation, FCC exists to advance agriculture and enhance rural Canada, and we remain a stable presence in a time of change for global economies. Agriculture has always been an industry of partnerships and at FCC, we believe that we’re better together. We value our productive relationships with Canada’s credit unions and banks, which include partnering on larger loans to provide access to capital.
Agriculture has always been a cyclical industry and can be affected by adverse weather, disease and economic factors. We assisted our customers through several weather and production challenges this past year, from drought in Ontario and Quebec to a tuberculosis outbreak in Alberta cattle to a wet fall in the West that hampered harvest, and we’re proud of the industry’s ability to be resilient and move forward.
We continue to advance our public policy priorities and business practices to deliver on our mandate to Canadians as a federal Crown corporation. As we support agriculture to become a leader in job creation and innovation, we’re working to meet the changing needs of the industry and our customers.
Supporting jobs and innovation
The pace of innovation in agriculture is picking up as the marketplace evolves and technology changes the way we all do business.
Our customers are online and on the go, so we’re refocusing our efforts to deliver a great customer experience, including becoming a more digital organization. We want to enable our customers and employees to have access to the information they need anytime, anywhere and on any device, and we’re well on our way to meeting that expectation.
The spirit of innovation is thriving across FCC, and I’m proud of the work our employees are doing to make a great customer experience even better and to become more agile in our business processes, while keeping our responsibilities as a prudent lender top of mind. Our ability to support agriculture over the long term requires us to manage every aspect of our business with diligence and care.
We add value beyond lending by offering learning programs and resources free of charge to customers and non-customers. Our online channels receive thousands of views and more than 11,000 people attended a learning event in 2016-17.
Agriculture is a viable place to build a career and the need is great – Statistics Canada numbers indicate 7% of agriculture jobs are currently going unfilled, with that number projected to increase to 25% in 10 years. We’re helping inspire the next generation through our partnerships with 4-H, school programs such as Agriculture in the Classroom and activities with post-secondary students. Young people are bringing their optimism and energy to agriculture in growing numbers, with enrolment up in agriculture programs.
In 2016-17, we increased our support to farmers and entrepreneurs under age 40 by enhancing our Young Farmer Loan and introducing the Young Entrepreneur Loan to assist young people working in the agriculture retail, manufacturing and food processing sectors. These two loan products will help make more capital available for young Canadians to enter agriculture or grow their businesses.
Inspiring growth and potential
I’m excited about this special year in our nation’s history. Agriculture has come a long way in the past 150 years and is a vital part of the Canadian economy. Our agriculture and agri-food industry employs 2.2 million Canadians – one in eight jobs – and contributes more than $100 billion annually to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is more than the national GDP of two-thirds of the world’s countries.
I invite you to visit AgMoreThanEver.ca to be inspired by the stories of Canadians who are moving the industry forward. Agriculture More Than Ever is a cause driven by hundreds of industry partners who are spreading the word about agriculture. A highlight for the cause in 2016-17 was Canada’s Agriculture Day, a nationwide celebration that took place February 16 in communities large and small, and we look forward to building on our progress next year.
FCC has been a steady presence in Canadian agriculture for more than 50 years. We continue to enhance the quality of life in rural Canada through our corporate social responsibility initiatives, including raising our highest-ever total – 6.7 million meals – for food banks across Canada through the 2016-17 FCC Drive Away Hunger campaign. We support agriculture safety including Agriculture Safety Week activities and our Back to Ag partnership with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and the Rick Hansen Foundation to help injured farmers and agricultural workers return to work on the farm. Our contribution to STARS air ambulance provides life-saving transportation to patients in rural Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and eastern B.C. To learn more about our corporate social responsibility initiatives, I invite you to read our CSR report online at www.fcc.ca/CSRReport.
As Canadians, we 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. That spirit of optimism also drives FCC’s reason for being – our higher purpose. We serve the industry that feeds the world, and it’s a responsibility that we’re honoured to uphold now and into the future.