Justine Hendricks is less than a month in to her role as president and CEO of Farm Credit Canada (FCC), but she says she’s already shook about 800 hands.
Hendricks, speaking from FCC’s Kanata, Ont., office, says starting in prime farm conference season has been an excellent way to meet so many faces in the agriculture and food industry. She’s already attended several events in Ottawa, and is looking forward to getting across the country to meet more of the FCC staff, customers, and members of the industry.
Hendricks comes to FCC from Export Development Canada, where she served in several roles over 17 years, most recently as chief corporate sustainability officer.
“I first came in, and I focused on small business and had several sector roles, of which one of them was resources where I covered seafood, forestry, and also agriculture equipment. So that’s kind of my dabbling [in agriculture]. And I quite enjoyed that time. And then I kind of started to get into different project, work, you know, learning how to manage projects. And the last role that I had was a bit of a dual role, I became the chief corporate sustainability officer. And I also have what we call the enablement function — so reporting for the business, doing controls for the business, and things like that. So I was very lucky, I would say, and having done quite a few different roles, which, you know, became a pretty good setup for this new challenge that I have,” Hendricks says. (more after the player)
As a first impression, Hendricks says she sees an industry with great potential and a hunger for collaboration.
“What had impressed me in the past is how welcoming the sector is, I was always fascinated by people in the industry, are so eager to kind of take you on board, teach you what you you don’t know, necessarily, and accept you who you are, and very open to what you bring to the table as well,” she says.
Hendricks begins the role at a challenging time in lending, as inflationary pressure and scaled up interest rates begin to take hold.
In managing this challenging environment, Hendricks says that FCC is in an excellent position to assist entrepreneurs, farmers with the whole package — transition planning, knowledge products, data management, and financing.
Hendricks says she plans to tour as many farms and ag business as possible in the coming months, yes, even in winter when there’s not as “much” going on.
“I recognize seeing agriculture and the agri-food industry through the different lenses of the weather [has value]. It’s a really good way to also deepen your understanding of what matters at what point in time in the year for the industry…and I think it’s a it’s a really neat way to put yourself in the shoes of those that do this day in day out.”