The second edition of AgriWeek, hosted by CEDEC Small Business Support, was held throughout Quebec February 17 to 20, during Le Mois de la gestion agricole (Agriculture Management Month).
AgriWeek’s mission is to offer Quebec farmers tools and skills development to impact their bottom line through a mix of live and online events covering a variety of topics related to farm management – from human resources to risk management, technology and innovation to marketing, and more. AgriWeek also brings together top experts, highlights key private and public sector organizations equipped to help farm businesses succeed, and creates the opportunity for farmers to meet with them one-on-one – an interactive approach to learning how to increase efficiency and profit margins.
Martine Deschamps, President of SynerAction Management (a succession management and HR consulting firm), kicked off AgriWeek at the Farm Credit Canada presentation “Boost Your Farm Management Skills”. Deschamps coached attendees on how to identify and build on people’s strengths for management efficiency and how to communicator better with employees, business partners or salespeople.
The webinar “From Idea to Marketplace: A Blueprint for Value-Added Farm Products” with Gary Morton, emerging authority in the field of value-added agricultural products and services, went through the various steps required to bring a value-added farm product to market.
“Oscar Wilde famously said ‘People know the price of everything and the value of nothing’ so it’s important to make the value you offer very clear,” says Morton. “If there is no value – real or perceived – they will revert back to the product with the lowest price.” Morton also noted that it’s important to develop a prototype to test and validate your product and that farmers’ markets are excellent places to try them out on a sampling of your target market.
Michel Theroux, CEDEC’s Mentoring Program Coordinator, hosted the “Farming & Mentoring: Grow an Agripreneur” webinar. “It doesn’t matter what industry, whether you’ve just started a business or you’ve been in business for a long time: you can always benefit from having a mentor,” says Theroux pointing to the famous case of Bombardier’s past President Laurent Beaudoin who consulted on a regular basis with his predecessor Paul Desmarais. “You are never too old or too experienced not to gain some insight and expertise from others.”
Hugh Maynard’s “Effectively Managing Risk on Your Farm” workshop ran simultaneously Friday morning with the AgriWeek Salon and provided free tools like Farm Management Canada’s Risk Assessment Toolkit. The Salon provided a one-on-one environment where producers interacted with key industry growth representatives like the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, the Société d’aide au développement des collectivités Haut Saint Laurent and Coopérative d’Utilisation de Machinerie Agricole Du Haut Saint-Laurent.
Jennifer Hayes, a dairy/beef farmer and rural developer, presented the “Small Scale Farming: Simple, Successful, Sustainable” webinar where she suggested several resources, like AgPal.ca, that farmers can use to find funding or help with business planning and marketing. Another ‘must-see’ website for financial support opportunities: www.mapaq.qc.ca.
As Hayes succinctly summed up: “Be in the know – not the last to know.”
To learn more about AgriWeek, CEDEC’s mentoring services, or CEDEC Small Business Support visit cedec.ca/.
President, SynerAction Management