3 things farmers can do to fight financial stress

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Finance and Business

Farming can be an extremely rewarding career, giving you a hands-on opportunity to provide food for your family and people across the country or even around the world. But it can also be a challenge financially with several factors, including unpredictable weather, making it hard to know precisely how much money you will make from year to year. If you are facing financial difficulties with your farming operation, here are three ways you can find help.

Low-cost loans
As the old saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. For example, you may want to invest in more land, purchase solar panels, or need to construct new buildings, repair existing ones or even purchase more equipment, such as a tractor.

While you can apply for a general business loan from your financial institution, as a farmer you can access up to $500,000 in government-backed loans through the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act — known as the CALA Program. The program is open to full- and part-time farmers, and there are incentives for start-up farmers. You can apply for these loans through your lender.

Debt management
If you are struggling to pay off debt, there is another program that can help: the Farm Debt Mediation Service. Through this voluntary, confidential program, you can get free financial counselling and access to mediation services where you can meet with your creditor(s) to develop a recovery plan.

Mental health
Mental health is part of overall health. And the stress of struggling to make ends meet can impact your life in many ways, from loss of sleep and irritability, to increasing your risk of hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

Whether it is talking to a family member, a fellow farmer or a trained professional, speaking about your concerns is the first step in getting them under control. There are a several free resources you can access including an episode of the First Sixteen podcast, “Mental health on the farm” that provide more insight into common issues many farmers face.

Learn more about these programs and other supports for farmers at agriculture.canada.ca/manage-farm-risk-and-finance

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