For Farmers

As a farmer, you may be really good at producing food, fuel and fibre. However, as the industry grows in both size and complexity, there are other skills we need to focus on as well, such as business and succession planning, marketing, management and leadership.  These skills can play as key a role in the success of our agri-businesses as do crops and livestock.

To help, we develop business management tools, information, resources and training for agri-food and agri-based producers and processors and their business advisors. We also create linkages to existing resources and conduct research that can be shared with the industry.

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Farm transition can mean passing the operation to the next generation in the family, selling it to new owners who aren’t family members, or looking at innovative ways of bringing new partners into the business. Letting others start to make decisions and take responsibility for the family farm business is not easy. For young people wanting to get started, considerations include availability and adorability of the business, lifestyle, and becoming part of the farm’s management processes.

TRANSFERRING A FARM

FarmLINK’s MatchMaker tool brings together new farmers who are looking for land or mentorship with farm owners who have land available or expertise to share.

STARTING A SUCCESSION PLAN

This questionnaire provides a benchmark of where the business is now in terms of its day­to­day management and succession planning activities.

TRANSITION HOW TO’S

Check out factsheets and a planning guide with farm succession information as well as a business information bundle for new farmers.
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Resources for Learning More

Take the mystery out of tough topics in transition planning by reading this blog.

A business plan is a written document that outlines where your farm business is going (production, customer base, future opportunities, impact of technology, etc.) and how it’s going to get there. The plan is a living document that covers all aspects of your business. It should be referred to often and change with the times.

Having an updated business plan assists you in accurately communicating farm financials to your business partners, family members and advisors. It allows your lender to make a timely, accurate decision when it comes to your lending needs for the year. Sharing this information also creates a forum for outside perspectives to consider your operation objectively and create new opportunities through innovation and knowledge sharing.

PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Preparing your business plan can help you create financial forecasts, identify and manage risks, make production and marketing decisions and communicate effectively with your team.
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FINDING AN ADVISOR TO HELP YOU

To help you achieve your goals and use sound financial information, farm business planning can be done with the help of a professional farm business advisor.
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Advanced Business Planning

The Advanced Farm Management Program provides a unique combination of advanced farm business management training and a practical approach that can be immediately applied to your farm to improve the performance and sustainability of your farm business.

Training and Workshops

Sample Business Plans

Finding and keeping good workers has long been an issue for farmers and as the sector expands, so will the need for more employees.  People are what keep your operation running smoothly, efficiently and profitably.  AMI has worked hard to curate resources that can help your hire and retain quality staff.

HR toolkit

The Canadian Agricultureal Human Resource Council has a comprehensive toolkit for farm business managers.
Workshops are also available.

Developing a new business venture starts with a strong idea and a solid business plan. The benefits of planning include reducing stress, establishing a better lifestyle or f the exiting party, having a business continuity plan in place if disaster strikes (such as death or divorce) and discovering alternative business structures to help suit your needs and get your farm business up and running.

Not everyone who dreams of a career in farming is lucky enough to have a viable farm business in the family to enter into.

ONTARIO WIDE PROGRAMS

Whether its mentorship or a workshop, Ontario hosts a variety of training programs to help you start your farm business off right.

Funding and Grants

The AgriInnovation Program is a five­year, up to $698 million initiative under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework. Of this, $468 million is available for funding projects based on applications from industry.

The AgriMarketing Program helps farmers and food processors compete in markets at home and abroad. It supports the agriculture industry by creating and maintaining access to markets and taking advantage of market opportunities.

Growing Forward 2 is a federal­provincial initiative that encourages innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada's agri­food and agri products sector. Whether you are starting out, or have been in business a long time, GF2 can help you reach your goals.

The path into agriculture is a little different for all new entrants, but there are a variety of programs to help them get started.

AMI Transition Smart (no link)

For Processors

AMI works to support the unique business management needs of Ontario’s agrifood and agriproduct processors to help them improve their business management practices.

We’re building on our extensive track record of supporting the business management needs of agricultural producers to develop and deliver business management tools, resources and training for the agri-food processing sector.

AMI is currently conducting a gap analysis to determine the sector’s specific long-term business management needs, you will find below three initial areas of focus and descriptions of new resources we’ll be making available in the months ahead.

Our agribusinesses compete on a global level with counterparts from around the world. Challenges face us on many fronts, so we’re always seeking new tools to help us remain profitable and competitive. Key among those is agribusiness management and leadership.

We are continually updating our resources so check back often!

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For Advisors

AMI partners with advisors to encourage innovation and the implementation of practices to enhance profit and agricultural competitiveness in Ontario. AMI develops business management tools, information, resources, and training for farm families, farm management and particularly farm business advisors.

The Measure your Generic Skills tool is based on 25 “generic skills” which are defined as being the set of personal qualities associated with an individual’s attitudes and behaviours that are useful in creating good working relationships with clients. These skills are said to be essential for all professionals executing a role as a consultant.

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MEASURE YOUR GENERIC SKILLS

Please note, it will take 1-2 weeks before your assessment arrives via email.

Le Centre de référence en agriculture et agroalimentaire du Québec (CRAAQ) in Quebec developed an online program that assists farm business advisors in taking a closer look at their “people skills”. Through this program the advisors will become aware of the areas they could improve upon to better communicate with their farming clients.

The tool is based on 25 “generic skills” which are defined as being the set of personal qualities associated with an individual’s attitudes and behaviours that are useful in creating good working relationships with clients. These skills are said to be essential for all professionals executing a role as a consultant.

In partnership with CRAAQ, AMI is pleased to be able to offer you this service.

There are two ways of completing the assessment: a 360 Review, where peers are able to anonymously offer insight into their experience working with you; and through a self review. Both options offer an assessment form which indicates areas of strength and areas for improvement.

Each survey takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, and your results are kept strictly confidential if you choose.

 “A generic skill is a key component of an individual’s professional competency. Generic skills refer to a set of personal qualities mainly related to people’s self-management abilities, such as attitudes and behaviours that are useful in exercising a trade or profession.” – Emploi-Québec

Start Developing Your People Skills

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DEVELOPING YOUR PEOPLE SKILLS

“A generic skill is a key component of an individual’s professional competency. Generic skills refer to a set of personal qualities mainly related to people’s self-management abilities, such as attitudes and behaviours that are useful in exercising a trade or profession.” – Emploi-Québec

Background

The development of a generic skills profile for agricultural advisors is the first step carried out by the Évaluation et développement des compétences génériques des conseillers agricoles project led by the Comité Initiative d’appui aux conseillers agricoles.

This publication was written by Mr. Gaétan Lehouillier, a human resources consultant who has often worked in the agricultural sector. Theoretical concepts highlighted in this document are drawn from “Profession : consultant” (Lescarbeau, Payette, St-Arnaud, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 3e édition, 1996). The three authors are psychology professors with 25 years’ experience, particularly in training professional consultants.

This document proposes an integrated model which harmonizes these four objectives that are inherent to an advisor’s occupation:

Establish and maintain a collaborative relationship between the advisor and the client (relational dimension);
Thoroughly manage a series of well-defined steps (methodological dimension);
Provide the expertise and information required to reach clients’ objectives (technical dimension);
Use resources from clients and the environment to achieve the desired outcomes (synergistic dimension).

Generic skills were linked to these four objectives to assist agricultural advisors in performing their duties professionally when working with farm businesses. Skills and their definitions were drawn from the TRIMA dictionary that is often used in support of human resources management within companies.

Competency in the relational dimension helps you establish and maintain a collaborative relationship between yourself, the advisor and your client.

Openess

Demonstrating sensitivity and empathy toward others. Being able to welcome and respect their values, their needs and their expectations. Accepting others even if they hold different opinions.

Client-centered orientation

Concentrating on meeting clients’ needs; constantly focusing on client satisfaction.

Ethics

Demonstrating a high level of concern for the quality of services provided and conformity with professional standards.

Listening

Listening carefully to the other person. Highlighting the essential elements and validating one’s understanding of them.

Communication

Openly and honestly expressing one’s opinions. Making effective contact and dealing with people by adapting to different types of personalities.

Business Acumen

Being able to take advantage of opportunities and good business prospects. Some of the characteristics associated with business acumen are: innovation, being action-oriented, tenacity, being client- and environment-oriented.

Competency in the methodological dimension means you are able to thoroughly manage a series of well-defined steps.

Result-centered orientation

Being constantly concerned with reaching set objectives.

Autonomy

Being able to work without supervision, on one’s own, without depending on others or on instructions to carry out projects or activities.

Responsibility

Being self-directed, making decisions, taking action and accepting the consequences.

Implementation

Setting general objectives. Developing programs, methods or action plans to achieve these objectives.

Management of priorities

Clearly identifying priority elements of a mandate or a task, and implementing the work within planned deadlines.

Control

Setting up mechanisms that ensure progress toward reaching objectives, and if necessary, suggesting corrective measures.

Time Management

Maximizing the use of personal time and resources to reach objectives.

If you are able to provide the expertise and information required to reach clients’ objectives, you are competent in the technical dimension.

Analytical Ability

Breaking down a situation or a problem into essential components to capture various links and implications and allow for sound decision-making.

Synthesizing

Pulling together facts, ideas or information from various sources in order to compose a coherent, brief and comprehensible package.

Self-confidence

Executing a mandate or task with the self-assurance that one possesses the ability, knowledge, expertise and potential for succeeding.

Credibility

Projecting a professional image that highlights the skills and reliability required to meet expectations.

Judgement

Addressing a problem or situation from a global perspective to determine its origin or causes and identifying appropriate solutions.

Decision-making

Analyzing, making prompt decisions when necessary and accepting the consequences.

Information-sharing

Disseminating relevant information to those concerned.

Working together in a synergistic sense, means you use resources from clients and the environment to achieve the desired outcomes.

Flexibility

Easily adapting to different situations without difficulty or major discomfort and being able to function with doubt and ambiguity.

Establishing partnerships and collaborations

Identifying, nurturing and maintaining collaborations inside or outside the company.

Motivation

Bringing individuals to act voluntarily in order to achieve the desired objectives.

Incentive to change

Challenging people to question their ideas and the way they proceed, while providing the support they need to do so.

Accountability

Encouraging people to make decisions, take action and fully assume the consequences.

Our Research

We know that current information is important to you. Since its inception, AMI has been proactively conducting research and initiating specific projects to fill industry farm business management gaps and needs.

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