Farm Credit Canada to offer more direct venture capital funding

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is not new to the venture capital space, however a shift in focus for the Crown corp will see the lender take a more direct approach to ven cap funding in agriculture.

Justine Hendricks, CEO of FCC, says the move is prompted by the changing needs of the industry. Whether driven by changing weather patterns, the need for more innovation, or improving productivity, there’s a role for FCC to play in funding agriculture start-ups, tech developers, and more.

Hendricks reiterates that FCC being involved in ven cap is not new; however, this will be the first time the organization will be going direct to that space. There will be private equity arrangements, yes, but she says that partnerships are still going to be a big part of what FCC’s ven cap looks like.

Measuring success might look a little different than for other venture capital funds, Hendricks says, as FCC’s commitment to agriculture and only agriculture means more “patient” money will flow into the ven cap space, and that some of the key performance indicators may be things like keeping younger farmers in the industry versus just straight financial payback.

The new direction was mentioned in the 2024 federal budget, as the government signalled it was issuing new guidance to FCC, Export Development Canada, and other financial Crown corporations to mobilize more financing. It specifically said FCC should “continue to pursue opportunities to support agri-food and agribusiness, including through venture capital investment…”

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