"Opportunities for young people are growing and reflect the overall strength of the industry," FCC President and CEO Greg Stewart told customers, partners and stakeholders attending the Crown corporation's annual public meeting in Westlock, Alberta on August 21. "FCC believes in the strength of agriculture and the agribusiness and agri-food industry."
Canadian agriculture will need 50,000 talented and energetic young people over the next five years to fill agriculture-related positions, according to projections from Agcareers.com, a leading supplier of human resource services to the agriculture and food industry.
FCC supports young farmers at various stages through its long-standing involvement with 4-H, management workshops through FCC Learning and lending products aimed at assisting young farmers with succession planning. FCC also provides regular economic outlooks to help producers better understand how global economic trends impact their industry.
"As the world's population continues to grow and developing countries become more affluent, there will be a growing demand for red meat, grains and oil seeds," J.P. Gervais, FCC's Chief Agricultural Economist, told the meeting. "Canadian producers and agriculture businesses are among the most sophisticated in the world and they stand to benefit."
Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector already employs more than two million people and accounts for about eight per cent of Canada's Gross Domestic Product, contributing more than $100 billion to the national economy every year.
"FCC's goal is to help our customers succeed and take advantage of the great opportunities agriculture has to offer," Stewart said. "It's what inspires us every day."
During the 2012-13 fiscal year, Canada's leading agriculture lender approved 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 discussed at FCC's annual public meeting 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 per cent of loans receivable, reflecting reduced risk in the loan portfolio and a strong agriculture economy
- continued support of the industry for customers needing alternative financing with $73.4 million in venture capital investments