On Monday, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced enhanced and expanded financing opportunities through Farm Credit Canada (FCC) for young farmers and young food business owners.

“One of the biggest challenges young farmers and entrepreneurs tell me they face is access to capital. These specialized loans mean the next generation will be better able to become established and contribute to Canada achieving its full potential as a leading food supplier worldwide and help maintain Canada’s position as a world leader in sustainable agriculture,” said Bibeau. “We have a strong and diverse industry and getting a good start will allow more bright and ambitious people to pursue their dreams.”

FCC has increased the lifetime maximum amount it will approve for the Young Farmer and Young Entrepreneur loans from $1 million to $1.5 million.

Additionally, the eligibility and the lifetime maximum approval of the Starter Loan have been expanded and increased. The Starter Loan is designed to support new entrants into the industry, helping them build a solid credit rating and improve their financial literacy.

The Young Farmer Loan Program offers qualified producers, who are under 40, loans of up to $1.5 million to purchase or improve farmland and buildings. The loan includes features to support their long-term success, including lower lending rates.

The Young Entrepreneur Loan offers financing of up to $1.5 million per qualified applicant, under age 40. It can be used to start or expand a business and to purchase shares in an agriculture-related business, including those in the agri-food sector. Features include no processing fees, preferential interest rates and up to 18 months to make a purchase.

“By expanding and enhancing the Young Farmer, Young Entrepreneur and Starter loans, FCC is reducing the barriers for young people to enter or become more established in Canada’s agriculture and food industry,” said Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO. “Beyond offering greater access to capital, FCC provides knowledge and learning opportunities that support the growth of the next generation.”

Since April 2019, FCC has approved over 6,700 loans specifically tailored for young producers and entrepreneurs worth almost $2.1 billion.