CAFA and CAAR working together means more valuable contacts and resources for their memberships.
Agri-retailers are one of producers’ most trusted sources for information and advice. For the topics outside of their areas of expertise – such as legal, financial and farm business – savvy agri-retailers can provide extra value to their customers by connecting to the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) through CAAR.
“Our members are people like accountants, lawyers, bankers, financial planners and family coaches,” says Liz Robertson, executive director of CAFA. “We can be a resource for the agri-retailer to refer their clients to, when it comes to things they can’t advise on.”
Far from a collection of run-of-the-mill advisors, CAFA’s members specialize in agriculture. “Many of them come from the farm, but pursued a different career,” says Robertson. “So they understand farming, they have a passion for it, and they have this great education and skill set that they’re using to help farms.”
The Certified Advantage
The association works to keep their members up-to-date on the latest news and best practices on the business side of farming. “Our members have the technical training, and they keep that up by practicing their skills in their field,” says Robertson.
“What CAFA’s educational segments do is help them understand how to apply that to farm situations.”
When an advisor’s signature includes the CAFA acronym, it’s a mark of knowledge and expertise of farm-specific situations – namely tax, succession and management, CAFA’s “big three”. CAFA members are updated and educated on these key areas of farm business during the Farm Update Series, a series of annual professional development events.
In addition to the Farm Update Series events, CAFA members are invited to monthly or bi-monthly meetings at their local chapters. Across Canada, there are approximately 20 local chapters spanning from B.C. to Eastern Ontario, giving members the opportunity to regularly check in with peers and find out what’s new in local agriculture.
The Chance to Connect
CAAR and CAFA have partnered to offer special membership rates to farm advisors who want to expand their network into the agri-retail sector.
Delaney Ross Burtnack, president and CEO of CAAR, expects this collaboration to yield positive results for both groups. “Connecting with CAFA is a tremendous win-win-win for farm advisors, agri-retailers and their farmer customers,” says Burtnack.
“By connecting these two critical support networks, it will bring even greater value to farmers looking for farm-savvy expertise. Members of CAFA and CAAR will expand their network, build their knowledge of the industry, and be able to help their customers find the right person – whether an accountant, agronomist, lawyer or retailer – using the network at their fingertips.”
Growing a network to include experienced professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties brings advantages for both farm advisors and agri-retailers.
“Everyone is becoming so focused and specific in what they do, that if you don’t have a network, you’re not going to be able to find the right people,” says Robertson. “You’ll be getting a generalist, instead of a specialist.”
She also sees many benefits in the continued collaboration and connection of industry associations, with the aim of uniting agriculture in cohesive, common goals.
“I firmly believe in collaboration,” she says. “If the ag sector collaborates more, the collective voice is louder and the results are more positive. With national associations, I sometimes see projects and programs that get repeated by different organizations, all coming at it from a different angle, when we could be working on these things together.”
“The goal is to make it a more collaborative ag sector, period. It might not happen in my lifetime, but we can start.”
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