Mario Toneguzzi: BMO launches loan program to help young farmersBMO Bank of Montreal has introduce a new loan program to support young Canadians in agriculture. BMO says the program is a first for a Canadian chartered bank.

The bank said the BMO Young Farmer Program offers loans of up to $1 million in an environment where the total number of farm operators in the country has declined by 7.5 per cent from 2011 to 2016.

“We’re watching a demographic shift unfold in the agriculture industry, and we see a need for programs and incentives to attract and support younger Canadians into the sector,” said Adam Vervoort, head of agriculture financing at BMO.

“Canada is a leader in the agriculture industry, with revenue of $61 billion in 2017. With external pressures like weather changes and trade having an impact, we need to do more to ensure that this sector stays competitive for both established farmers and the next generation.”

The loan program is for Canadian farmers 35 years old or younger. It’s aimed at people already in the agriculture industry and those who may be pursuing that career path.

BMO said the program offers:

  • eligibility for all products available to farm operations, including Agri Readiline and Farm Equipment Readiline;
  • higher advance rates of any asset types eligible under the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program, for farmers with six or fewer years of experience.

“The agriculture sector plays a big part in Canada’s economy, and we want to make sure that we’re giving young farmers a chance to lead and take the reins in the sector,” said Vervoort, adding that the program is designed to provide higher advance rates to invest in equipment, new technologies, or the overall infrastructure of a farm operation.

It also helps young farmers keep more money in their pockets by eliminating annual review fees, said BMO, which says its roots in the Canadian agricultural sector date back to 1817, when the bank first began working with farmers to support and expand the agricultural industry.

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

BMO launches loan program to help young farmers

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