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Farm optimism at an all-time high

Jan. 17, 2012, Regina, SK - Optimism among Canadian agriculture producers and agribusiness owners is at an all-time high, according to the fifth annual Farm Credit Canada (FCC) national Vision panel survey. A full 80% say that their farm or business will be better off in five years - a shift from 76% in 2010. Further evidence of this optimistic attitude is demonstrated in additional survey findings which show:

  • that more Canadian producers report being better off today than they were five years ago - 77% compared to 67% in 2010;
  • that 58% of producers plan to expand or diversify their operations within the next five years; and
  • that seven in ten producers would encourage a friend or relative to pursue a career in primary production.

Full survey results are available at www.fccvision.ca/research.

"The results are great news," says FCC President and CEO Greg Stewart. "Producers said their optimism is driven by their expectation of profitability over the next five years, increasing global demand for food and the fact that they have either recently, or expect to, reduce their debt over the next five years. At the same time, they expressed caution due to factors beyond their control such as weather, unpredictable economic conditions and potential rising interest rates, which makes perfect sense.""Following a few years of economic uncertainty and challenging weather in some parts of Canada, the results demonstrate the ongoing resiliency of Canadian producers and the agriculture industry," says Jean-Philippe Gervais, FCC Senior Agriculture Economist. "In an online discussion, producers said their expected profitability stemmed from a strong position of major agriculture market drivers such as increases in farmland values, higher commodity and red meat prices, and current interest rates."

In the survey, producers openly shared hundreds of positive comments about the industry. "Agriculture is more than a job, it is an amazing lifestyle," said a B.C. dairy producer and member of the Vision panel who answered the survey. "I feel confident that there are exciting changes ahead as young people realize the value in working in an industry that they love." An Ontario beef producer commented in the survey that, "Farming is not going to go away or be moved to another country. People need to eat so farming will always exist. It is a good field to work in. There are a variety of jobs within the field."

"Agriculture is an essential industry for Canada and the world, and as industry champions, FCC has an important role to play in sharing news about the positive reality of the industry," says Stewart. "The numbers clearly show that producers are prepared to capitalize on opportunities Canadian agriculture offers the world. Optimism is just what agriculture needs to attract more people with the skills and passion to grow the industry, as well as investment dollars. This will enable continued innovation," says Stewart.

Across Canada, producers in Saskatchewan are more likely to be optimistic about the future (82%) than other producers (79%). Crop and dairy producers across the country consistently report high levels of optimism, and optimism among beef producers ranges from a low of 59% in Quebec to a high of 87% in Manitoba. Complete survey results, and graphs of findings by sector and province can be found at www.fccvision.ca/research.

Province                             Optimism level                         
Alberta                                  80%                                    
Atlantic provinces                   74%                                    
British Columbia                     75%                                    
Manitoba                               79%                                    
Ontario                                  81%                                    
Quebec                                  78%                                    
Saskatchewan                         82%                                    
National weighted average       80% 

FCC Vision Panel members - over 9,000 producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators - were asked in the fall about their views on the state of agriculture. Nearly 4,500 producers participated. The margin of error for this survey is +/-1.4%, 19 times out of 20 on a sample of this size. Demographic subgroups will have a higher margin of error.

As Canada's leading agriculture lender, FCC is advancing the business of agriculture. With a healthy portfolio of more than $22 billion and 19 consecutive years of portfolio growth, FCC is strong and stable - committed to serving the industry through all cycles. FCC provides financing, insurance, software, learning programs and other business services to producers, agribusinesses and agri-food operations. FCC employees are passionate about agriculture and committed to the success of customers and the industry. For more information, visit www.fcc.ca.