Brief CAFA History

Improving the Quality of Farm Advice

The Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) Inc. is Canada’s only national network of Certified Agricultural Farm Advisors®.

CAFA is a not-for-profit, professional umbrella organization that provides high-quality continuous learning and networking opportunities for farm advisors, to help them provide better advice to help farm clients succeed.

CAFA has local chapters established from BC through to PEI. These local groups meet on regular basis to hear from speakers on topics of common interest and build professional networks. CAFA also hosts a growing number of premier day-long learning events across the provinces including, our Farm Update Series covering in-depth Tax, Management, and Transition topics along with our Focus of Women in Agriculture and #TopFarms.

The Founders

CAFA’s roots go back to 1995 with a joint venture between Donna Hastings, BSc., MSc, PHEc., Manitoba Department of Agriculture and Food, and Howard Morry, B.Comm (Hons.), LL.B., Pitblado Law. They were the founders and editors of the Family Farm Business Advisor Manual, a multi-disciplinary resource for farm advisors in Manitoba.  Farm Succession, Family Farm Business seminars followed.

In 1999, Ms. Hastings was starting to think about creating a unique forum for more regular and on-going professional development and networking opportunities for farm advisors. Her ideas found traction and the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) Inc. was started in 2000. CAFA was federally incorporated as a not-for-profit in 2001 and by 2002 was holding chapter meetings in several locations across Manitoba and one in Alberta.

Founding Members

CAFA has continued to grow across the country with the incredible dedication and commitment of some key Founding Members.

Liz Robertson, M.A. was a CAFA Founding Member in Winnipeg in 2002 and in 2003 started working for CAFA in Member Services. Liz was asked to be CAFA’s Executive Director in 2004 when Ms. Hastings relocated to the USA and has held the position ever since. Liz has enjoyed learning about how to make a novel, member-based organization work and grow – on a shoestring budget! – from a small non-profit with roots in Manitoba, to a respected, growing national association. Some of the highlights she includes are:

  • Helping start new chapters;
  • Meeting and assisting members;
  • Helping media find the right member;
  • Cultivating leadership in members;
  • Developing CAFA’s online and marketing image;
  • Being on the ground-floor of CAFA’s national annual magazine publication, Cultivating Business;
  • Having CAFA take over OAMFRA’s Farm Tax Update in 2015.
  • The 100+ learning events she has planned or been involved with since, and,
  • When the application was finally approved in 2018 for the Trademark for Certified Agricultural Farm Advisor.

After 17+ years with CAFA, Liz is continuously impressed with the level of skills and knowledge of CAFA members and their passion to be better farm advisors through continuous learning. Without doubt, Liz’s favourite part of being CAFA’s Executive Director are the wonderful members she gets to meet and work with across the country. Some members have been with CAFA since inception in 2002 and many have become friends. Many new have joined since 2002 with many more to come! Canada’s farmers need advisors who truly care about their success.

Don McCannell was involved in CAFA’s first strategy meeting in February of 2003 and has been an integral part of CAFA’s success in Saskatchewan. Don founded McCannell Financial Group and My Farm Group in Saskatoon, SK and was the one who started CAFA in Saskatchewan and has been supporting its development as the Saskatoon Chapter Chair for many years. Don has also served on CAFA’s National Board of Directors from 2004-2007, including being National Chair from 2006-2007. Don has had a leading role in the planning of the 2017, 2018 and 2019  CAFA Farm Updates in Saskatoon, SK.

 

Len Davies, Davies Legacy Planning Group, started the first CAFA Chapter in Chatham, the Southwestern Ontario Chapter. Early in 2005 there was a meeting with Barry Fraser , Ontario Development Co-Ordinator, Liz Robertson, CAFA’s Executive Director (2004-Present), Michael Bossy, Bossy Nagy Group, Brent VanParys (then with Micacchi Warnick) and Carl Moore. Not long after, CAFA had chapters in several locations across Ontario.

The contributions of Michael Bossy, HBA, CPA, CA, CFP®, TEP, CAFA, KCC, President and Founding Partner of Bossy Nagy Group Chartered Professional Accountants, merit special recognition. Mike has served as the Chapter Chair of the Woodstock Chapter from 2005-2018 and sat on CAFA’s National Board of Directors from 2012 to 2019. CAFA’s Farm Management Update started in Ontario in 2005 and when it relocated to Woodstock in 2011, Mike took over the task of planning the program with speakers offering innovative approaches to farm management and, sharing the guidance of advisors who have coached BNG to success. 

 

CAFA wishes to thank and acknowledge the contributions of its members and the many volunteer Chapter Chairs and Directors, past and present.