Banks in Canada are proud of their longstanding business relationships with farmers and agricultural customers. These strong relationships have helped banks work with their customers on the day-to-day issues of running a farm and through the periodic challenges that the industry has had to confront.
What You Need to Know:
- All major banks have dedicated departments serving farmers during all phases of their business.
- All major banks are participating lenders in the Government of Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) program to help you establish, improve or develop your farm.
- Banks offer the AgriInvest account to help farmers recover from small declines in farm income.
- A wide range of support – including advice on business succession – is available to young farmers.
Dedicated Agriculture Departments
- All major banks have dedicated departments to serve agricultural businesses. These departments are staffed by teams of agricultural specialists that know your industry and are able to help during all phases of your business.
- In addition to business accounts, banks offer products to meet your operating, capital improvement and equipment financing needs as well as investment advice and products to manage financial risk and expenses. Bank agriculture specialists can also offer advisory services with detailed information on economic conditions, business planning, market trends, government policies, and regulatory issues that may impact your farm.
- Banks understand the realities of farmers’ busy schedules, particularly during planting and harvesting seasons. Bankers try to be flexible to meet these scheduling demands, and often drive to farms, processing plants and warehouses to provide onsite banking assistance. And many of the banks’ products and services are accessible on smartphone apps and through online and telephone banking.
Supporting Young Farmers and the Rural Community
- There has been a resurgence of interest in agriculture by a younger generation of farmers. They play important roles in Canada’s agricultural and rural success story. However, sometimes these younger farmers need more support and advice than experienced producers.
- Your local bank branch can supply the tools, advice and support you need to succeed. Many branches can provide advice on how to develop a business plan, and they often hold business seminars that provide access to experts in your field.
- Banks also support Outstanding Young Farmer Programs, 4-H clubs and university programs that provide assistance to young farmers with entrepreneurship, networking opportunities, and scholarships. Contact your bank to find out what’s available.
- In addition, banks work with producers on succession planning to ensure a viable transition to future generations of farmers.
Your AgriInvest Account
If you haven’t done so already, opening an AgriInvest account at a participating bank (in Québec, this program is only offered through La Financière agricole du Québec) can help you to take advantage of the federal government’s matching contributions under the AgriInvest Program to help you manage small declines in your farm income. To open your account, bring in your original government-issued AgriInvest Account Initiation Form to your local bank. More details about the program are available on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website.
Government Support for Your Farms
- All major banks are participating lenders in the federal Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) program. This is designed to help new farmers establish their farms, in addition to helping more experienced producers improve and develop their farms. Agricultural co-operatives can also access these loans to process, distribute, or market the products of farming. Information on CALA can be found on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website.
- CALA loans are limited to a maximum of $500,000 for land and the construction or improvement of buildings, and to $350,000 for all other loan purposes. Contact your bank’s agriculture specialists to determine if you qualify and if this government program can help you acquire or improve the capital assets for your farm.
Help with International Expansion
Banks work to support those farmers and other agricultural clients that directly export their goods and services internationally or participate in global markets. In some cases, banks and their clients will partner with Export Development Canada (EDC) to help clients in the agricultural sector access EDC’s range of guarantee, insurance and finance products to help them grow their businesses internationally.