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Using a trusted farm business advisor or a team of advisors can help a farm reach greater financial success.

“The Dollar$ and Sense – Measuring the Tangible Impacts of Beneficial Business Practice on Canadian Farms study shows that number three on the list of top farm business management practices was using business advisors,” says Rick Dehod, farm financial specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF), Edmonton. “As a farm business owner, you may decide to use a trusted business advisor to help you with decision-making. An advisor can provide an objective, unbiased view of your business. Their recommendation may also improve the viability and profitability of your farm business or of an opportunity you are considering. Your farm is a complicated business and financially successful farms may have a team of advisors assisting them.”

The business advisor may specialize in production (field crops, livestock, soils); finance (economics, accounting and farm financial management); human resources (farm succession), legal, or marketing. They can play a number of roles for the farm business manager such as:

  • expert advisor in a technical area
  • sounding board to help verify or challenge prior analysis
  • creative source when difficult issues require fresh ideas to solve problems or to develop effective strategies and action plans
  • provider of technical or economic analysis

“Often farm managers work so hard ‘in the business,’ that they don’t take the time to work ‘on the business.’ A business advisor can help them focus and work on the business. They can also help create efficiencies, as a farm manager has only limited time and many decisions to make. A business advisor can bring the technical expertise required by the farm business manager to make good management decisions.”

Where do you find a trusted business advisor? “It’s often through a referral,” says Dehod. “Talk to your neighbours to see who they are working with. AF also maintains a list of business advisors across Alberta. As well, Alberta accounting practices have professionals that specialize in agriculture. And, the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors has an advisor listing directory.”

“Selecting the right business advisor is not easy but the payoffs can be enormous. The time and effort spent choosing and working with a business advisor is a good investment.”

For more information, read the For the Dollar$ and Sense – Measuring the Tangible Impacts of Beneficial Business Practice on Canadian Farms report, the Choosing A Consultant…An Investment in Your Agricultural Busines, factsheet or contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Rick Dehod