Two third of Canadian agriculture producers are optimistically optimistic for the year ahead

To cultivate growth, agriculture producers are building strong industry networks, recruiting skilled labor, and adopting advanced technology in 2022

TORONTO, April 12, 2022 /CNW/ – From labor shortages and fluctuating commodities prices, to evolving environmental risks, Canadian farmers continue to operate amid highly disruptive conditions. Yet as they look to the next 12 months, two thirds (64%) of the producers are feeling hopeful optimism in their outlook, according to the RBC Agriculture Poll that surveyed agriculture owners and operators from across the country.

RBC (CNW Group/RBC Royal Bank)

To realize the positive year they foresee, Canadian producers are aiming to proactively plant the seeds needed to ensure growth in the months ahead. When asked about priorities to pursue over the next year, those surveyed overwhelmingly agreed that owners and operators will look to:

  • Cultivate a strong agricultural network to tap into for advice (85%)

  • Recruit skilled workers (81%)

  • Build up the farm’s leadership team (77%)

  • Invest in technology and data-driven decisions (77%)

  • Focus on risk management planning (73%)

“Having demonstrated their ability to weather significant and often unpredictable disruptions over the past two years, Canadian producers are now turning to the future with an outlook of optimism,” said Ryan Riese, National Director of Agriculture, RBC. From risk management and resiliency, to leadership and technological innovation, farmers are shifting their focus and investments on proactive priorities to strengthen their operations and cultivate growth – not only for the year ahead but for the long-term future of the agriculture sector. “

The modern farmer is data-driven, sustainable-focused and diverse

The RBC Agriculture poll also found that the face of Canadian agriculture is rapidly, with farmers changing today focused on driving sustainability, diversity and technological adoption.

When surveyed, an overwhelming majority (91%) of Canadian farmers report that they already regularly use technology and data insights to guide their decision-making, with a large number intending to further accelerate on-farm technological adoption. Over the next 12 months, about half anticipate introducing new technology to their operations to support functions like data management (55%), digital field, crop, and inventory management (51%), financial planning and cash flow management (47%), and automation (45%).

In addition to an increasing focus on digital adoption, survey findings indicate an agriculture industry that is making strides to become more sustainable and diverse.

Of the producers polled, 96% report that they are actively working to make their operations more sustainable. The industry is also moving the needle on diverse leadership, with six in ten (61%) of those surveyed reporting female leadership on their farm. Another seven in ten (71%) said that they’re making progress around recruiting and promoting a more diverse workforce.

Considerations to support the growth and transformation journey

As many farmers plan for the next stage of growth and evolution, there are four important considerations that should always be top of mind for owners and operators:

  1. Make risk management part of your everyday decision-making. In today’s farming environment, risk management is an essential activity to ensure long-term economic success. Some activities may include regularly scheduled risk assessments, creating contingency cash flow projections, and staying updated on the latest industry disruptions, trends and farming solutions. To minimize the risks in your operation, explore RBC’s Risk Management Guide which can take you through the process of identifying risks as well as strategies to address them.

  2. Increasing adoption of sustainable farming solutions & digital innovations. As the industry continues to evolve, investing in new technologies today can pay dividends to help your farm produce more efficiently and sustainably in the future. Take the time to assess your current operations, and evaluate whether digital solutions can help streamline critical functions including data management; field, crop, and inventory management; financial planning and cash flow modeling; and automation.

  3. Expand your knowledge with education and training opportunities. Farming is getting more complex, and owners and operators will need a broader understanding of business fundamentals than ever before. To take your skills and knowledge to the next level, explore courses from credible institutions and experienced instructors that focus on managing a modern farm operation, such as the free Foundations in Agriculture Management offered by the University of Guelph in collaboration with Farm Credit Canada and RBC.

  4. Don’t go it alone. To navigate an dynamic and interconnected sector, producers will need to rely on a wide range of employees, partners, suppliers, and non-industry collaborators. Don’t hesitate to turn to your RBC advisor, lawyer, mentor, or other trusted members of your professional network for proactive feedback and support. They can provide their perspective on your risk management practices, sustainability transition, digital investments or other transformation plans and can advise you on ways to successfully take your farm business into the future.

About the Poll

The RBC Agriculture Poll was conducted by Ipsos Canada between December 10, 2021 and January 6, 2022. For the poll a sample of 150 telephone interviews were completed in English or French among owners/operators of a farm business with annual revenue of $1 Million to $4 Million OR $4 Million+ across Canada. The precision of Ipsos polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±8 percentage points had all Canadian agriculture businesses been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error, and measurement error.

About RBC

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