October 2020


3 steps for creating a resilient farm operation for the future

(NC) Even as an essential sector that has continued to produce throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s agriculture industry isn’t immune to the impact of this unprecedented event.

Over the past decade, farm operations have struggled with industry headwinds, ranging from changing consumer demands and digital innovation, to shifting supply chains and trade uncertainty. Under COVID-19, these challenges have compounded, leaving many producers looking for ways to kickstart a recovery.

If you’re a farmer navigating these challenging times, these three steps for sustaining a resilient farm operation can help:

  1. Plan for the best, and the worst. Gather a clear picture of your costs and map out a living cashflow plan. Be sure to include best, realistic and worst-case scenarios. For example, how would a diseased crop or livestock, or a particularly dry or wet season, impact your production and cashflow? How will domestic or international supply chain disruptions in key industries impact your revenues and storage capacity? While these scenario projections may not be perfect, they will enable you to create more proactive contingency plans and pivot your operations quickly in case of adverse events.
  2. Ditch paper records for digital tools. With COVID-19 driving digital adoption, this may prove an opportune moment to pivot from paper recordkeeping towards digital solutions that save you time and centralize data. From equipment maintenance alerts and financial cashflows to real-time supplier and crop-yield data, today’s advanced digital tools can help farms integrate, consolidate and track key information, enabling producers to make quick, informed and cost-effective decisions.
  3. Don’t go it alone. During the recovery phase, your professional network, including your financial advisor and lawyer, can be a valuable source of honest feedback and advice. Every farm operation is unique, and a knowledgeable network of advisors who understand your business and industry can help determine the best tailored solutions to support your rebound and growth plans.

“As we recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19, it’s more critical than ever that we work together to build a more resilient agriculture sector and nation for the years to come,” says Ryan Riese, national director of agriculture at RBC.

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