by SUSAN MANN
Close to eight per cent of all Canadian farms across all sectors are run by young farmers, Farm Credit Corporation president and CEO Greg Stewart told participants at the annual meeting last week in Victoria, B.C.
And last year young farmers under 40 years old borrowed $1.6 billion from the corporation to finance their businesses. “Agriculture is a complex, dynamic and successful industry that needs our best and brightest to take over farms and other agribusinesses,” he said.
During the fiscal year ending March 31, the corporation approved $62 billion in loans to farmers, processors and suppliers along the agriculture value chain. More than 42,000 loans were disbursed with an average size of $146,000. The corporation’s portfolio grew to $21.3 billion.
The crown corporation’s net income was $459.2 million, which the company reinvested in agriculture ensuring it remains financially strong and stable in order to serve the industry through all cycles, Stewart said.
During his speech, he also touched on the importance of the agricultural industry to the country. “Agriculture is the backbone of a strong and healthy Canada. It’s one of the country’s top five industries contributing $130 billion to our economy annually and provides one in eight jobs. The bottom line is that agriculture matters to Canada.” BF