A variety of businesses and financial institutions learned more about what is available for those working in agriculture.
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) hosted a seminar at the Bashaw Community Centre on Nov. 23 that featured a presentation on just what AFSC provides as well as what lending services can be sought through Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF).
Also at the seminar was Community Future of East Parkland, which serves the Ponoka region, to speak about the options they have for business as well as financial institutions and businesses from Ponoka and surrounding area..
Ed Ten Hove, AFSC client relationship representative and Holly McLennan, AFSC team co-ordinator, gave agricultural producers and businesses the opportunity to learn what lending services can be accessed.
“It’s a chance for producers and new small businesses to see what opportunities there are to add value to their operation with the financial and other partners that are out there,” said Ten Hove.
McLennan added, “It’s also about helping them find what other lending options are available and provides not only producers, but other business partners like accountants and financial institutions, with the chance to meet and network.”
One of those funding options comes through the various agri-business programs at AAF, as was explained in a presentation by Ag-Info centre director Carmen Andrew.
She said that there are more than 400 grants and programs, including the recent Growing Forward 2 initiative, which are aimed at driving growth and innovation in agri-business.
“With the list of the programs open or closed changing regularly, the best suggestion is to keep an eye on the website where you can find all of the eligibility and other requirements,” Andrew stated.
A few of the popular programs focus on the development of products, work on marketing and employing new technology into agri-business.
“These programs not only help to bring new products and look at new markets for existing product, but help foster relationships and enhance efficiency with new equipment as well as expansions,” she said, adding there were 105 applications granted in the last year in these areas.
Andrew also explained AAF has come up with three new grant initiatives to help in the area of energy efficiency with the on-farm energy management program, irrigation efficiency program and the on-farm solar power program.
Another area AAF has assisted agri-business is by helping owners improve three programs designed to give them better skills.
“Aside from the lending options, we can help producers and owners make informed decisions through our business opportunity and business management skill development programs,” Andrew said.
“One new idea that’s been implemented is our venture coaches. There are four in the province and they are there to help with your ideas and help get through all of the details.”
She concluded by stating all of these services are free and if anyone has questions they want answered, they are urged to contact the Ag-Info centre by calling (toll-free anywhere in Alberta) 310-FARM (3276).
Meanwhile, AFSC’s lending product specialist from Camrose, Krista Van Sickle, also gave a short presentation on options available, which include loans for commercial businesses, value-added business, agri-business and regular farm operations.
For more information about AFSC, visit the website www.afsc.ca.