Étienne Gosselin | Agronomist | Journalist
Agronomists Martin Larivière, manager of Réseau Agriconseils Chaudière-Appalaches and Karl Hébert, assistant manager of Réseau Agriconseils Montérégie Est, demonstrate the added value of surrounding yourself with the right people for business success.
"The higher the farm's revenue, the more it makes use of advisory services. In Quebec, only 24% of businesses that generate $100,000 or less in revenue have used at least one Réseau Agriconseils service, while that proportion is 52% for businesses with $500,000 or more in revenue. [...] Entrepreneurs that achieve the best results know how to surround themselves with the right people. They consult and invest in knowledge." - Martin Larivière
"We've just had a record year. Certain government dairy production, animal welfare or energy efficiency programs require the use of specialists to calculate a budget or draft an action plan. These programs bring in new clients, because they're often the same businesses that use advisory services the most." - M.L.
"The main priorities are technical, management and agri-environmental, but advisory services support other needs like marketing, human resources management and business ownership transfers. We're getting more and more requests from people looking for advice on garlic, or growing insects or medicinal plants." - Karl Hébert
"Farmers often ask for technical advice first, for short-term gains. Once they see an increase in productivity, they call on management consultants to find other areas for improvement." - M.L.
"As much as we've seen a major increase in farmers using advisory services for risk management and futures in certain areas of production like pork or grains, we've also seen producers shy away from using these services in other areas like lamb and beef, even though they only cost a few hundred dollars a year. Yet, these services are subsidized at 50%, 60%, 75% or even 85% for organic production! But there's an assumption that advisory services aren't profitable for the business." - M.L.
"Farmers have often been used to managing their business on their own. Yet, more and more farms are co-managed by shareholders from different generations. They want to get help in developing human relations management or decision-making strategies. Outside expertise challenges shareholders' ideas and brings new perspectives, with no preconceived ideas. Farmers sometimes can't see the forest for the trees." - K.H.
"Advisory services help farmers to better analyze their situation, explore options and find the best solutions for them. Ultimately, the farmer always has the final say and Réseau Agriconseils is there to support them." - K.H.
Advisory services can become a central point for multidisciplinary meetings. Finance, accounting, animal welfare, agronomy and other specialists pool their expertise to make a recommendation that takes all aspects of the business into account. That's surrounding yourself with the right people!
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