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 challenges that the industry has had to confront.
All major banks have dedicated departments serving farmers during all phases of their business and are committed to working with their farm clients to determine the best options to help them manage the financial uncertainly caused by the pandemic. Banks have introduced flexible measures for business loans and continue to provide advice and support to help their farm clients meet their immediate cash management and new lending needs.
Dedicated Agriculture Departments
Dedicated agriculture departments, staffed by teams of specialists that know your industry, can help you with all aspects of your farm businesses.
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 help 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 Farm
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, www.agr.gc.ca.
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.
Banks are delivering fast access to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program, facilitating small and medium-sized companies with interest-free loans. More information about financial support for farmers and food processors can be found here.
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.
HSBC Bank Canada
TD Canada Trust