“Agriculture and agri-food remains one of the strongest and most vibrant sectors in Canada’s economy,” said FCC president and CEO Michael Hoffort, in releasing the federal Crown corporation’s annual report . “FCC had record demand for financing this past year as producers and agriculture business operators continue to invest in the industry by expanding their businesses, building new facilities and adopting technologies to increase their efficiency.”
In 2017-18, FCC grew its portfolio by 8.4 per cent to $33.9 billion, including $3.3 billion in new lending to young farmers. FCC also increased lending in the agri-food and agribusiness sector, supporting young entrepreneurs and helping business operators become leaders in job creation and innovation.
“Innovation spurs increased productivity and competitiveness,” Hoffort said. “We understand the needs of our customers across the agriculture value chain, from primary producers to the agribusiness and agri-food companies that create value-added products for Canadian and global markets.”
Looking ahead, FCC has set its sights on advancing its public policy role by contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive agriculture and agri-food industry. The federal Crown corporation is launching initiatives to advance mental health awareness in agriculture, developing financing and business support for women entrepreneurs, and exploring ways to involve more indigenous people and communities in the industry.
“By helping primary producers and agri-food operators achieve their full potential, FCC is enabling the industry to create more opportunities for a broader range of people who can bring fresh ideas and new energy to Canadian agriculture and agri-food,” Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said. “At the same time, FCC is contributing to our government’s ambitious goal of increasing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.”
In 2017-18, FCC support programs were provided last year for Ontario and Quebec customers impacted by excessive moisture and, more recently, New Brunswick and Quebec maple syrup producers and Maritimes fruit and vegetable producers impacted by unfavorable weather this spring.
FCC also gave back almost $4 million through community investment initiatives, launched the Ignite summit for young farmers, offered a wide range of Ag Knowledge Exchange learning events attracting more than 15,000 participants and raised an equivalent of 7.2 million meals in conjunction with its like-minded partners through the FCC Drive Away Hunger tour in support of food banks across Canada. It also continues to support groups, such as 4-H Canada, Ag in the Classroom, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, STARS air ambulance service and numerous industry associations.
“Our role goes well beyond loan transactions,” Hoffort said. “We look forward to continuing our support for young and new entrants, enabling intergenerational transfers of family farms and supporting the growth of our customers and the industry.”
Other 2017-18 financial highlights include:
- Net income of $669.9 million, to be reinvested in agriculture through funding new loans and developing agriculture knowledge, products and services for customers.
- A dividend of $308.3 million paid by FCC to the Government of Canada.
- A healthy loan portfolio with the allowance for credit losses remaining steady, reflecting a strong and vibrant industry.
- Strong debt-to-equity and total capital ratios, indicating continued financial strength and an ongoing ability to serve the agriculture and agri-food industry.