Helping cattle feeders manage business risk

Every business comes with risk, but the savvy business person is one who manages and minimizes those risks.

That’s why ACFA partnered with Lethbridge College to create an Agriculture Business Risk Management (AgBRM) program. Available online, the program is designed specifically for managers and owners of agri-businesses, such as beef, pork, grain and oilseeds.

We spoke with Lyndsay Smith, industry liaison for agriculture at Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Arts & Sciences, to learn more about the new program. 

“Alberta Cattle Feeders identified the need for an increased level of knowledge of agriculture business risk,” said Lyndsay. “At about the same time, Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge had received a $5 million donation from Cor Van Raay, one of Southern Alberta’s most well-known agricultural entrepreneurs and a leading cattle producer, to develop the Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program,” she said. “It was a good fit for Lethbridge College and ACFA to partner to develop the online AgBRM program as the first initiative.”

The course is aimed at owners and managers of agricultural businesses. “Since the program focuses on financial and commodity risk management, it will help industry members face the volatility challenges we have seen in the commodity markets,” said Lyndsay. 

Flexibility to fit busy work schedules

Because the course is available online, students can fit it in around their work schedules. It is divided into 28 modules and two capstone (or culminating) courses. Students who do not wish to work toward the full certificate can take any modules that interest them.

The certificate focuses on financial and commodity price risk management. This includes:

    • Statistics for Agribusiness (optional)
    • Effective Communications
    • Financial Literacy
    • Currency
    • Introduction to Market Tools
    • Government Policy and Marketing
    • Market Fundamentals
    • Market Tools
    • Risk Tolerance and Policy
    • Market Equity
    • Successful Planning in Agribusiness. 

Healthy business, healthy economy

Business Risk Management has been a focus of the provincial government’s Growing Forward 2 (GF2) suite of products and services. GF2 provides “programs and services to achieve a profitable, sustainable, competitive and innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-products industry that is market-responsive, and that anticipates and adapts to changing circumstances, and is a major contributor to the well-being of Canadians,” according to the province’s website.

Although grant applications are not currently being accepted, Lethbridge College’s AgBRM program is very much in alignment with Growing Forward, and ACFA believes that training business owners and managers in business risk management is a key contributor to a healthy economy.

You can read more about how ACFA contributes to a vibrant, healthy cattle feeding industry on our Initiatives page.