In September, as the economic fallout from the 2021 drought continued to hit home on Alberta farms, Pine Lake cattle farmer Kelly Smith-Fraser stepped into the role of Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) board chair. It has not been an easy time to lead the group: insurance needs are high across the ag sector and AFSC has been tasked with administering the $340 million joint federal–provincial AgriRecovery program through the Canada-Alberta Livestock Feed Assistance Initiative.
As part of its 2020/21 budget, the Alberta government announced a budget cut of $5.3 million to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). However, the Crown corporation’s chief financial and innovation officer said farmers and agribusiness owners who rely on AFSC for loans, crop insurance and disaster assistance shouldn’t panic. The organization’s staff plan to sharpen their pencils to cut administration costs, rather than customer service.