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Farm Management Canada held its annual national Agricultural Excellence Conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick from December 2nd to the 4th,
welcoming over 170 farm management enthusiasts from across Canada.

The conference theme, Cultivating Resilience, was an opportunity for delegates to focus on building the capacity to weather any storm – to confront change with confidence and seize opportunity. Industry experts provided unique insights into agricultural trends across Canada and around the world, and the best management practices farmers can use to move their businesses forward. Conference-goers came away from AgEx equipped with practical information and tools to enhance their farm business practices and position their farms for continued success.

From farmers to advisors, consultants, students, academia, government, private industry and associations, the Conference welcomed a diverse group of industry stakeholders who provided incredible energy and engagement.

The Conference opened with greetings from the Honourable Ross Wetmore, New Brunswick’s Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries and Chris van den Heuvel, 2nd Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Participants were also welcomed to Premier Blaine Higgs’ open house, featuring New Brunswick’s finest agricultural products.

Conference presentations started with a look at Management Tactics for Leading Farmers with Dick Wittman providing strategies for family farm business managers to implement more professional management systems. This was followed by an interactive discussion led by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety on the effects mental health can have on you, your farm team and your farm business and how to implement psychological well-being on the farm. The Bridging the Gap: Farm Transition Panel explored different options for farm transition, how to work with professionals, and how we can honour farm legacies while empowering our future farmers. Delegates learned who to include and how to create a Peer Advisory Group from Terry Betker of Backswath Management Inc. Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers alumna, Amy Cronin, shared her secrets to success – how the farm uses their vision and values to manage risk and plan for success for family life, farm life, and self. Concurrent workshops took a deep dive into key management topics including finance, industry opportunities, self-improvement and leadership. Don Buckingham from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute shared insights on “black swans” in Canadian agriculture and how to remain resilient in an ever-changing and increasingly complex industry.

Nuffield Canada hosted their Annual Meeting in conjunction with the Conference. AgEx was delighted to welcome international insights from Nuffield’s most recent scholars Ellen Crane, Gavin Robertson, Shelley Spruit, and Josh Oulton.

The Conference ended with an economic outlook from Farm Credit Canada’s J.P. Gervais.

Participants had access to farm family, personal and business coaches throughout the Conference as part of the Coach on Call feature, and were made aware of the resources and tools available to maintain competitive through the National Farm Business Management Resource Showcase.

In total, participants heard from over 20 speakers and learned about over 30 farm management resources.

The Conference also recognized excellence in farm business management. The Wilson Loree Award is awarded to individuals or groups who have made an extraordinary contribution to developing and promoting new and positive change in farm business management practices and expertise in Canada. Congratulations to the 2019 recipient, Len Davies for his work in farm transition planning for farm families.

Farm Management Canada was delighted to collaborate with Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers National Conference who held their National event immediately following AgEx.

Farm Management Canada also hosted the Provincial/Territorial Ministry Representatives Meeting and a Successor Development Workshop for the next generation of farm managers (farmers under 40).

A sincere thank you to our delegates, speakers, sponsors and supporters who helped make this event a success! Plan to join us next year in Calgary for our 2020 Agricultural Excellence Conference November 24-26!

To relive the Conference experience, search the hashtag #AgExConf19 on Twitter and look for coverage by our media partners: RealAgriculture, FarmMarketer, Small Farm Canada, and DvL Publishing.