Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) Inc. is a national not-for-profit, member-funded organization that provides high-quality continuous-learning and networking opportunities for farm advisors to help improve the quality of advice to farm families and businesses.
CAFA was created to ensure that farm families and businesses have access to quality, timely business and professional advice to help them better manage and transition their farms.
CAFA believes that no single profession or group has all the knowledge, training, education or techniques to fully address all issues of farm families in business, nor do they have the necessary timely and credible information upon which to base their decisions. CAFA was designed from a holistic model by which farm advisors and farm families can make informed decisions based on the knowledge of the interface of business and family dynamics issues.
CAFA’s mission is to protect farmers and their families by raising the standards of all farm advisors. CAFA has done so by creating the world’s first organization for farm advisors who are dedicated to increasing their skills and knowledge to improve the quality of farm advice. Farmers benefit by receiving quality advice from advisors who better understand farm business, family and transition issues and who work together in multi-disciplinary teams. This will lead, in turn, to stronger more competitive, more productive and stable farms.
CAFA’s roots can be found in the “Family Farm Business Advisor Manual” (FFBA), which was first published in 1995 in Manitoba through a co-operative venture between Manitoba Agriculture’s Donna Hastings, BSc., MSc, PHEc., and Pitblado Law’s, Howard Morry, B.Comm. (Hons), LL.B. The FFBA, originally available in hard copy, CD Rom and over the internet was Canada’s only national resource that provided information regarding farm business management, off farm investments, risk management, farm transfers and a variety of human aspects of families in business.
As more people subscribed to FFBA, there was a growing request by advisors for a more formal advisor network. Starting in October 1999, focus group discussions with professionals and farmers were held across Canada. The results showed that there was a demand for an organization to link professionals and farmers in a multi-disciplinary in-person forum.
Canadian Association of Farm Advisors Inc. was incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act by Letters Patent dated November 6, 2001 and a Supplementary Letters Patent was granted to change the corporate name to Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) Inc. on November 1, 2002.
FARM ADVISORS, EDUCATION & NETWORKING:
Farm advisors provide advice and guidance to farm families and businesses. CAFA members include, among others, accountants, financial planners, lawyers, bankers, risk managers, agrologists, family coaches, insurance agents, estate planners, realtors, facilitators and interested farmers.
Members belong to CAFA nationally and meet in local chapters established from BC through to PEI. The chapters meet on regular basis (used to be in-person and now is virtually) to learn from speakers on topics of common interest and build networks and share insights with like-minded people.
Members must meet certain entrance requirements and annual educational/participation requirements. Members promote their membership in CAFA as a means of demonstrating their commitment to on-going learning, professionalism and integrity when providing farm advice.
In exchange for their commitment to maintaining standards, members are in a better position than their competitors to build their business (through networking and being held out as CAFA members) and to provide better service to their clients.
CAFA facilitates broader learning opportunities to expand the knowledge and understanding of its members so they can create collaborative inter-disciplinary teams to provide more comprehensive, effective and holistic advice.
On the national and provincial level, CAFA hosts (now virtually) the educational and well-respected Farm Update Series including:
- Farm Tax Update, which CAFA took over from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture in 2015. This is a nationally unique and advanced forum to learn from experienced advisors on farm tax issues and strategies.
- Farm Management Update, running in Ontario since 2005, offers tools and concepts to improve business management from leading business consultants.
- Farm Transition Update offers insights and tips from renowned experts on successful farm transition.
- Focus of Women in Agriculture is a unique educational forum for women advisors (many who farm as well) and women farm managers to learn more about farm business management from each other.
- #TopFarms is our latest educational session, focused on looking at the strategies that the top farms are using.
CAFA, with its interdisciplinary membership, is a unique association for exploration of the myriad, complex issues that challenge farm families in business and, CAFA is Canada’s only national network of farm advisors.
CAFA has continued to grow across the country with the incredible dedication and commitment of some key founding members.
Don McCannell was involved in a CAFA 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, Saskatchewan and introduced CAFA to Saskatchewan. He was the first Saskatoon Chapter Chair and served in this role for many years. Don also served on CAFA’s National Board of Directors from 2004-2007, including being National Chair from 2006-2007.
Len Davies, CFP®, CLU, EPC, FEA, CDFA, CIP, founder of Davies Legacy Planning Group Inc. started the first CAFA Chapter in Ontario, Southwestern (Chatham) Chapter in 2004. Early in 2005 there was a development meeting with Barry Fraser, Ontario Development Co-Ordinator, Liz Robertson, CAFA’s Executive Director (2004-Present), Michael Bossy, Bossy Nagy Group, Brent VanParys, BDO Canada and Carl Moore, Carl Moore Consulting. 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 2012-2019. When CAFA’s Farm Management Update (2005 to present) moved to Woodstock in 2011, Mike took the lead in arranging the program.
CAFA acknowledges and thanks the contributions of all its members and the many volunteer Chapter Chairs and Directors, past and present.
CAFA means that professionals are better informed about the agriculture industry, government programs and other related areas outside their area of expertise. In turn, this benefits farmers as they get better advice, which directly impacts their ability to flourish on the farm, thus be sustainable.