From FCC Express
By Owen Roberts
Canadian farmers are getting some help to deal with their increasing exposure to risk.
Farm Management Canada has unveiled plans to develop a new online agricultural risk management tool called AgriShield. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the consulting firm MNP will partner on the $1.2-million project.
Mitigate and manage
Heather Watson, executive director of FMC, says AgriShield will be useful to farmers, advisors and other interested groups.
She says it will help users identify, assess, prioritize and create risk management plans to mitigate and manage the potential negative effects of risk.
“The risk analyses derived from the tool will provide a baseline to establish benchmarks for risk management performance, across Canada and commodity sectors, helping raise the bar for Canada’s competitiveness,” Watson says.
She says AgriShield will help farmers with real-time assessments of the potential negative impact of risks to their businesses, and provide mitigation solutions.
For example, if faced with a potential overland flood – which has become a growing concern across Canadian farms – AgriShield can help producers assess the degree of risk they face and potential mitigation measures that they can adopt, such as tile draining or insurance coverage.
Watson says uncertain conditions over the past few years underline the need for such a program – especially considering just one-third of Canadian farmers have a risk management plan.
She says for farm managers, uncertainty can lead to poor planning and decision-making.
“With a better understanding of risk, farm managers are more likely to take the right risks, mitigate the bad, and continue to profit,” she says. “A successful farm business means everyone’s more successful, from supplier to the farmer, buyer and end consumer.”
AgriShield complements FMC’s Comprehensive Guide to Managing Risk in Agriculture. The guide goes beyond standard risk tools to categorize and address more than 30 types of risk from environmental risk to food safety, weather and climate, global markets, human resources, consumer pressures, changes to government policy, and many others.
Risk management options
It equips farmers with a wide variety of options available to manage risk, ranging from strategies to reduce risk – such as having standard operating procedures to reduce food safety concerns – to approaches to mitigating risk through practices that include production diversification to balance market and weather uncertainties.
AgriShield will be launched as a one-year pilot program next April, followed by a full launch after industry testing.