Being prepared is the best way to manage risk on the farm

There are many risks that can impact a farm’s bottom line, and long-term success. Some risks are within a farmers’ control, however, many, like extreme weather events, increasing both in frequency and intensity; disease outbreaks; cyber threats and power interruptions are just a few risks over which farmers have no control. Farm experts say being prepared is the best way to manage these uncontrolled risks and note help is available.

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Help in your inbox

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has several resources  on its website to help producers plan for an emergency. One of its newest is the Agriculture Emergency Management Bulletin. Producers subscribe to the email-based bulletin to receive bi-monthly bulletins filled with news and information about agricultural emergencies, emerging issues, information about key risks to the agriculture sector and resources to support emergency planning.

“In an environment of increased global trade and a growing number of extreme weather events, it is essential that producers be equipped to protect their animals, property and business,” says Frédéric Seppey, assistant deputy minister with AAFC’s Market and Industry Service Branch.

“The information in the bulletin encourages producers and processors to take a closer look at their risks and raises awareness of best practices and the various elements to consider when creating a farm emergency plan and emergency kit,” Seppey adds.

Producers can subscribe to the AEM bulletin, and/or share information for future bulletins, by contacting AAFC emergency management.

Shared responsibility

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture says that emergency management within the agriculture sector is a shared responsibility, requiring strong collaboration on the part of federal, provincial and territorial governments; municipal government; sector stakeholders and producers.

CFA president Mary Robinson points out the operating environment facing Canadian producers continues to evolve. Increasingly volatile weather, ongoing consolidation and integration of agri-food markets and the rapid pace of technological change means the capacity for fast, proactive emergency management responses is critical, she says. Strategic planning at all levels of government is needed, Robinson says.

There are business risk management programs and tools available to help producers minimize the impact of income and production losses. Three popular ones are AgriStability for large market declines, AgriInvest to help manage income declines and AgriInsurance to reduce the financial impact of losses due to natural hazards.

Bottom line

Extreme weather, disease outbreaks and power outages are everyday threats for farmers across the country over which they have no control. A variety of resources, such as federal emergency bulletins and funding programs, are available to help proactively mitigate risk and assist in risk management.

Article by: Trudy Kelly Forsythe