REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - July 18, 2013) - Farm Credit Canada's (FCC) continued strong financial foundation is supporting investment and growth in Canadian agriculture, according to the Crown corporation's annual report.
"The bottom line is that agriculture has never mattered more to Canada and the world," said Greg Stewart, FCC President and CEO, in releasing the report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. "At FCC, we see and live this every day. We believe in the strength of agriculture and the Canadians whose livelihood is food production. We're proud that more than 100,000 choose to be our customers."
During the fiscal year, Canada's leading agriculture lender disbursed $7.7 billion to farmers, processors and suppliers along the agriculture value chain through 47,000 loans, with an average value of $162,000. As a result, FCC's loan portfolio grew by almost $2 billion to $25.1 billion.
Other financial highlights include:
- net income of $513.4 million, which provides for a dividend payment to the Government of Canada as well as significant reinvestment in agriculture through increased lending to customers and the development of agriculture knowledge, products and services
- an improvement in the allowance for credit losses at 2.5% of loans receivable reflecting reduced risk in the loan portfolio and a strong agriculture economy
- an improved debt-to-equity ratio of 6.7:1 indicating continued financial strength and an ongoing ability to serve the agriculture industry
- continued support of the industry for customers needing alternative financing with $73.4 million in venture capital investments
FCC follows sound business and risk management practices. These practices will continue to improve with the recent appointment of a Chief Risk Officer, Michael Hoffort, who will oversee FCC's overall risk management framework and ensure FCC remains a prudent lender for Canadian agriculture.
"Effective risk management protects our customers, the corporation, Canadians, and ultimately, the agriculture industry," said Hoffort. "FCC's ability to serve Canadian farmers and agribusiness operators depends on our knowledge of the industry and continuing to operate as a responsible financial partner to our customers."
Over the past 10 years, FCC customers have grown their asset values and net income, while maintaining healthy farm debt-to-equity ratios. Strong business opportunities in agriculture, agribusiness and agri-food have also maintained the steady growth of FCC's portfolio.
"Looking ahead, more and more opportunities are opening up for agriculture and for FCC which continues to provide leading-edge products and services to farmers through good and bad times," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Our Government looks forward to continuing a strong working relationship with FCC as we help ensure a strong future for Canadian agriculture."
FCC also sees opportunities for financial services providers, including chartered banks and credit unions. "We'll continue to partner with other financial institutions for the benefit of agriculture," Stewart said. "By working together, we ensure that everyone along the agriculture value chain has access to financing that meets their needs and has choice in the marketplace."
Stewart also reaffirmed FCC's commitment to supporting young farmers and reinvesting back into rural communities.
In 2012-13, FCC provided $2.3 billion to Canadian producers under the age of 40 to finance their future. FCC's Young Farmer Loan was also launched to inject a new $500 million in agriculture, enabling young farmers to purchase or improve farmland and buildings.
Other FCC investments in rural Canada included:
- $1 million through FCC's AgriSpirit Fund to 90 rural capital projects in communities across Canada
- collection of 1.4 million pounds of food and $760,000 for food banks across Canada with the help of our partners and customers through the FCC Drive Away Hunger campaign
- $100,000 to 10 farm safety champions across the country through the FCC Ag Safety Fund
- $50,000 through the FCC Expression Fund to support the use of Canada's official languages
In addition, FCC honoured five women from across Canada who are active leaders in agriculture with the FCC Rosemary Davis Award; organized 160 Learning events attended by more than 12,900 people; provided free information and insight through publications such as AgriSuccess, the weekly FCC Express agriculture e-newsletter and e-learning webinars and videos.
"Our customers are the reason we exist," Stewart said. "We show them our appreciation by tailoring our offerings to the unique needs of agriculture, and contributing to the communities where our customers live and work."
The FCC annual public meeting will be held in Westlock, Alberta, on August 21, 2013. A full copy of the report can be found at www.fcc.ca/annualreport.
As Canada's leading agriculture lender, FCC is advancing the business of agriculture. With a healthy portfolio of more than $25 billion and 20 consecutive years of portfolio growth, FCC is strong and stable - committed to serving the industry through all cycles and to being socially and environmentally responsible. FCC provides financing, insurance, software, learning programs and other business services to producers, agribusinesses and agri-food operations. Employees are passionate about agriculture and committed to the success of customers and the industry. For more information, visit www.fcc.ca. Follow Farm Credit Canada on Facebook, and on Twitter @FCCagriculture.