With gratitude, we thank our corporate partner, FCC

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This profile features the partnership that Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) has with Farm Credit Canada (FCC). We’re proud to team up with this dynamic group that does so much for agriculture in Canada!
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Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is an important player in our country’s agriculture industry. As Canada’s top agricultural lender, FCC plays a vital role in supporting and strengthening our industry’s agribusinesses: from primary producers to companies that specialize in agri-food products.

FCC is a financially self-sustaining federal Crown corporation, reporting to Parliament through the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. As an organization, FCC focuses on efforts that support Canadian agriculture, and give back to communities across Canada. They have over 1,700 employees in 100 offices throughout rural Canada.

FCC serves agriculture businesses in a wide variety of ways, helping producers and agribusinesses succeed by offering the following core services:

• Financing and Insurance: for primary producers, agribusinesses and young farmers
• Ag Knowledge: news articles and events to help producers manage production, marketing, human resources, technology, finances, business planning, and more
• Resources and Tools: innovative accounting and farm management software, calculators and specialized training
• Community Support: 4-H support, community funding, food bank drives and other partnerships

Beyond offering tailored products for agriculture, FCC staff are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with others in the industry. Each year, a representative from FCC attends our AFA Annual General Meeting to bring the latest advancements and outlooks to AFA members who attend our event.

In January 2016, we heard from Rob Schmeichel, FCC’s District Director from Edmonton, Alberta. Rob spoke passionately about the importance of telling agriculture’s story and being an agricultural advocate in today’s world with consumers so focussed on transparency and social license. All in attendance appreciated his enthusiasm, and his important message.

“In the years that AFA has partnered with FCC, we’ve admired their collaborative approach to business and the many ways they support agriculture across the country,” says AFA President Lynn Jacobson. “AFA and FCC personnel connect on a very deep level because we all share such a strong passion for agriculture. It’s a very rewarding partnership and we’re grateful for their friendship.”

Liability insurance can offer protection for farm markets and fairs

Liability insurance is, of course, important for every day situations that can occur on the farm—things like accidental property damage, unintended crop chemical drift and situations that arise from normal farming operations.

If an accident of this type occurs, much of the hard work of the farm business could be lost if you are not adequately insured. And it’s equally important that you are covered for risks that may occur when you are conducting business off the farm. iStock_000009114801Small

For example, if you transport your animals to 4-H shows or agricultural fairs, liability insurance can protect against injury to your animals. Do you plan to sell your product at a local farmers’ market? Many farmers’ markets may not cover individual vendors under the market’s group policy, and will require vendors to provide proof of liability insurance in order to participate in the market.

The Co-operators, an Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) Corporate Partner, offers liability insurance options that can protect you and your farm business when you are conducting business away from your farm. Their off-farm liability insurance options include:

  • Animal shows and agricultural fairs liability: covering livestock when attending 4-H shows, plowing matches, or agricultural fairs
  • Farmers’ market liability: liability insurance protects your business against lawsuits in the crowded environment of a farmers’ market, where accidents can—and sadly do—happen

Beyond liability insurance, AFA producer members also receive exclusive benefits from The Co-operators that can help you save money, including:

  • up to 24 additional coverage options on your farm insurance
  • special travel and policy discounts
  • enhanced home insurance coverage
  • competitive plans for medical, dental, life and disability insurance

In addition to being connected to The Co-operators through our corporate partnership, AFA is proud of our long history as a member-owner of the company. Founded by a small group of prairie farmers in 1945, The Co-operators today continues to sponsor rural youth through 4-H and provide specialized farm insurance to producers across Canada. For more information on the liability insurance options offered by The Co-operators to farm producers in Alberta, contact your local Co-operators agent, or visit The Co-operators website.

To find out more about how you can become an AFA member today and save money through the special member benefits we have developed with The Co-operators, Mark’s Work Wearhouse and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Canada), visit our website.

AFA scholarship helps next generation of agriculture students

AFA is proud to support students who are using their talents to further their studies in agriculture. The AFA Scholarship annually awards $500 for one student to use towards their studies in post-secondary Agriculture or a related program.

AFA ScholarshipAlthough you don’t have to be an AFA member to apply for the scholarship, it does help. If you are an AFA producer member, preference is given to applications submitted by you, your children and your grandchildren. This is just one benefit to being an AFA member.

To be eligible for the AFA scholarship, an applicant must be:

  • a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident and be an Alberta resident
  • attending a designated post-secondary institution in Alberta
  • enrolled full-time in the second or subsequent year of post-secondary study in a program related to the field of agriculture.

The deadline to apply for the upcoming scholarship is August 1, 2015. You can apply online or call 780-427-8640 or email: scholarships@gov.ab.ca for more information. The scholarship is awarded each November.

Recent AFA scholarship winners

Here are two of the most recent AFA scholarship winners.

  • The 2014 scholarship was awarded to Nadine Jensen of Claresholm, Alberta, then in her third-year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biotechnology at the University of Lethbridge.
  • The 2013 scholarship was awarded to Michelle Cradduck of Taber, Alberta, then in her third-year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Lethbridge with plans for a career in agricultural research. Since that time, Michelle has put her AFA scholarship to good use, and will soon be finishing her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Lethbridge. She has worked in research studying the genetic make-up of wheat and related opportunities for that crop, and she is so excited about where the research is heading. She is very grateful to her university professor for opening the door to her current research project, and for the help she has received from the AFA scholarship. We will be watching with interest what this emerging agricultural researcher will bring to the table!

Apply for the AFA scholarship today! We’d love to add your name to the list!

How can you give back to agriculture?

Any business, group or individual can donate to the AFA Scholarship fund to ensure its sustainability for future years. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, or to donate in the name of the AFA Scholarship, call the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund Endowment Program at 780-427-8640.

AFA members receive many benefits

Every day, decisions are made that affect your farm business. As an Alberta farm producer, when you make your views heard, you have an impact.

“As Alberta’s largest producer-funded general farm organization, AFA gives members a voice,” says Sheryl Rae, Executive Director of AFA. “By joining our organization, you can be part of the process of influencing the policy that directly impacts the working environment of Alberta’s farms, ranches and agri-businesses.”

The Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) advocates broadly for agriculture, not just for one group or commodity. Wherever it’s needed – whether at the regional, provincial or national level – we represent our members on these (and more) producer-related agricultural issues:

•    trade
•    transportation and infrastructure
•    grain movement, grading and handling
•    plant breeding
•    energy, carbon capture and storage
•    surface rights
•    water-related risk
•    animal care
•    labour and employment standards
•    agricultural safety
•    business risk management
•    taxation

AFA members also get these great offers and benefits from our corporate partners:

• significant Chrysler fleet discount savings on new vehicles
• enhanced coverage and member savings on The Co-operators Insurance
• 10% off purchases made at Mark’s Work Wearhouse
• discount on new memberships with Farmers of North America
• special consideration for yourself or family with AFA’s annual scholarship.

All this is available to producers for only $125/year. Memberships for commodity groups, non-profits, associates and patrons are also available with different terms.

Join us today and be part of the future of agriculture in Alberta – your voice will make us stronger!

For more information, visit http://www.afaonline.ca/membership, or call our Lacombe (Alberta) office at 855-789-9151.

AFA’s AGM highlights water management in agriculture

Farming depends on many different resources, but without a sustainable supply of water, growing crops and livestock would be impossible.

Over two days, January 20 and 21, 2015, attendees at the Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA), heard about water management and its impact on agriculture. A series of outstanding speakers explored many angles of water and agriculture from: legal issues, public policy, water well management and emerging technologies.

“If we don’t get water management right, farming in Alberta can’t be as successful in the future as we have been in the past,” says AFA president Lynn Jacobson, who farms near Enchant. “We’ll continue to advocate for sound policy for water management and agriculture.”

Since 1959, Alberta Federation of Agriculture has been Alberta’s producer-funded general farm organization. Whenever decisions are being made that affect the province’s agricultural industry, AFA provides an effective voice for Alberta’s farmers.

Each year, AFA members attend the January AGM to propose, debate, vote on and form resolutions on issues that affect Alberta farm producers. Resolutions direct key priorities for the organization for the year ahead.

For 2015, AFA will continue its work on improving grain transportation, encouraging governments to invest in research and innovation, farm safety, and conservation, among other priorities.

Camrose’s Humphrey Banack, who serves as AFA’s 2nd vice president, says that it’s never been more important for producers to drive policy decisions.

“During the AGM, we gather with producers to debate and discuss top issues in agriculture, then use those policy directions to draw the future of agriculture forward,” says Banack.

Banack points to one instance where producers changed how their industry operates. At the January 2014 AFA AGM, farmers raised the problem of poor grain movement. Along with AFA, the farm organizations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan brought the issue to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which in turn raised it with the Federal Ministers of Agriculture and Transportation. By March 2014, these actions resulted in a mandated minimum level of service by the railways.

“Policy is as important as production,” says Banack. “Members of AFA have a direct channel to let their voice be heard. We ask any agricultural producer – whether in crop production, livestock management or value-added food production – to join us as we work for a stronger industry for all.”