Welcome to Farm Business Development Initiative (FBDI) online registration and application portal.

What is the purpose of the Farm Business Development Initiative (FBDI)?

The objectives of the FBDI are:

  • To assist farmers to adopt progressive farm business management practices and strategies in eight areas: business strategies, marketing, production economics, human resources, financial management, succession planning, business structure, and the environment;
  • To assist farm businesses to realistically examine their current farm business management practices;
  • To aid farmers in identifying needs, setting goals and determining actions to improve their farm business using progressive farm business management practices; and
  • To help farmers obtain information, training and consulting services to assist in making sound business decisions, enhancing profitability and achieving goals.

What are Progressive Farm Business Management Practices?

Progressive Farm Business Management Practices is the term used to describe the practices that produce outstanding results in the accomplishment of business goals.

Under FBDI, farmers will determine what business management practices can be used to accomplish their goals.

What is the process for determining which farm business management areas I may need help with?

Applicants must identify their farm business development needs by completing the Taking Stock self-assessment workbook. From this, a Farm Development Plan will be created that will identify priorities and actions in the eight progressive farm business management practices.

How do I determine what training/consulting services are available and eligible for FBDI benefits?

A Regional Farm Business Management Specialist will help you to determine which training and consulting services could be included in your application for funding. The consultant that you use or the training course that you take must be registered with the program.

What financial benefits are available to farmers under this initiative?

The initiative will reimburse up to 75 per cent of eligible costs of training to a training area maximum of $10,000 and 50 per cent of eligible costs for consulting services to a consulting area maximum of $5,000 subject to a total government contribution of $10,000 per applicant. The applicant’s in kind contribution cannot represent his/her portion. The farmer must pay 100 per cent of non-eligible costs.

 

Each progressive farm business management practice area will also be subject to the following individual maximum caps:

Training Consulting
Business Strategy$3,000$5,000
Marketing$8,000$2,000
Production Economics$5,000$2,000
Human Resources$5,000$2,000
Financial Management$5,000$2,000
Succession Planning$3,000$5,000
Business Structure$3,000$2,000
Environmental Strategy$3,000$2,000
 
Example # 1(Training in Business Strategy):
Total Eligible Costs3,000
FBDI’s share (75 per cent to a max. of $3,000)2,250
Farmer’s Share of Cost750
 
Example # 2(Consulting in Succession Planning):
Total Eligible Costs15,000
FBDI’s share (75 per cent to a max. of $5,000)5,000
Farmer’s Share of Cost10,000

Assuming it is the same farmer in the two examples above, this farmer would have $2,750 remaining under FBDI for reimbursement of eligible costs for future training. However, there would only be $750 eligible under Business Strategy training and $0 available for consulting. Future reimbursements are still subject to the individual maximum caps of other progressive farm business management practice areas.

If I was enrolled in the original FBDI program, how do I enroll in FBDI under the new Growing Forward 2 framework?

The entire process will start over again. The individual will have to complete a new Taking Stock self-assessment and a new Farm Development Plan with their local Regional Farm Business Management Specialist.

Who is eligible for benefits?

An eligible applicant is a person who:

  • Is a Saskatchewan resident and files their Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Income Tax and Benefit Return in Saskatchewan;
  • Is 18 years of age or older;
  • Provides a completed Application for funding on a form prescribed by the Ministry; and
  • Is an active farmer who can demonstrate they already generate Annual Gross Farming Income (Line 168, T1 General) of $35,000 or more; or
  • Will be an active farmer who intends to farm, who owns or controls (through written agreements) productive agricultural assets (land, buildings, machinery, or livestock) and can demonstrate, in a format acceptable to the Ministry of Agriculture, that their farming operation can generate Annual Gross Farming Income of $35,000 or more within the next 36 months.

What if I am not required to file a Canada Revenue Agency “Statement of Farming Activities”? Can I still qualify for benefits?

Yes, by providing a personal declaration of eligibility on a form approved by the Ministry.

How do I qualify as a member of a corporation, partnership, co-operative or other business arrangement?

Applicants in these categories are persons who:

  • Meet the requirements of an eligible applicant; and
  • Can demonstrate that they have at least $35,000 in Annual Gross Farming Income as a proportionate share of their interest in the corporation, partnership, co-operative or other association to a maximum of five applicants per corporation, partnership, co-operative or other association.

Are my financial benefits transferable?

An eligible applicant may authorize a non-eligible spouse, who is actively farming, to participate in training or consulting services on behalf of the farm unit. The financial benefits, to a maximum of $10,000, must be paid to the eligible applicant not the person to whom the benefits were transferred to.

Can one consultant report that meets the minimum deliverables requirement for several of the eight management areas be eligible for reimbursement from two or more of the maximum reimbursement caps?

Reimbursement of eligible costs will be allowed for each management area to which all minimum deliverables have been provided for within the written report(s). Reimbursement will still be subject to individual and area maximums as stated above.

What is gross farming income?

Gross farming income is filed with the Canada Revenue Agency Statement of Farming Activities and is as declared on Line 168 of your Individual T1 General Income Tax Return.

Are there any funding limitations in the initiative?

Financial benefits will be made available on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to the annual appropriation limits of the initiative. Financial benefits should be claimed within 90 days of the estimated completion date of the training or consulting service. Generally training should be completed by the estimated completion date listed in the Application for Funding. All training and consulting services must be completed and receipts submitted within eighteen months from the date of an approved application for funding and no later than one month prior to the end of the initiative, March 31, 2018.

What is required in order to apply for FBDI funding benefits?

The applicant must:

  • Complete a Taking Stock needs assessment and provide a copy of the summary page;
  • Complete a Farm Development Plan with assistance from the Ministry’s Regional Farm Business Management Specialist; and
  • Submit a completed FBDI Application for Funding.

Why do we require that farmers complete the Taking Stock needs assessment?

Taking Stock is a self-assessment workbook to help farmers examine current business practices. It also assesses the need for improvements that will enhance profitability and help attain their business and family goals. Taking Stock information is used to establish a Farm Development Plan which the Ministry believes will assist farmers in making strategic decisions based on eight progressive farm business management practices.

Taking Stock can be completed by the farmer on his/her own or with the assistance of one of the Ministry’s Regional Farm Business Management Specialists or in workshops provided by the Ministry.

What is the process for an applicant to receive reimbursement of eligible costs?

The process includes:

  • Farmer submits an Application for Funding.
  • The Ministry sends the applicant a letter of approval.
  • The applicant completes the training or consulting service.
  • The applicant pays the training provider or consultant.
  • The applicant submits the following for reimbursement of eligible expenses:
    • Claim for Reimbursement Form;
    • The original paid invoice or receipt for training or consulting services, which will be returned; and
    • A copy of the consulting report or certificate of training course completion.

What services are eligible for reimbursement under this initiative?

Assistance may be available to eligible applicants for farm-related training and/or consulting services that contribute to the development of the farm business in any of the following eight progressive farm business management practice areas:

  • Business Strategy (Strategic Planning)
  • Marketing
  • Production Economics
  • Human Resources
  • Financial Management
  • Environmental Strategy
  • Succession Planning
  • Business Structure

Are non-farm consulting and training services eligible?

No. However, if you are in a value-added agriculture business, you may be eligible for the Saskatchewan Agri-Value Initiative (SAVI).

Are training and learning activities provided outside Canada eligible for assistance under FBDI?

No.

If I qualify for FBDI benefits, when does my training or consulting service work have to be completed?

Generally, training should be completed by the estimated completion date listed in the application for funding. All training and consulting services must be completed and paid receipts received within eighteen months from the date of an approved application for funding and no later than March 1, 2018.

Are there costs or services that are not eligible for reimbursement?

Yes. Costs related to the preparation of current financial statements, income tax and/or government program forms, as well as capital purchases, for example, are not eligible for reimbursement. Reimbursement for training is limited to tuition and books. Travel, child care and replacement labour costs are not eligible. Advice concerning eligible costs will be provided by the Regional Farm Business Management Specialist or Ministry staff during the preparation of the Farm Development Plan and application process.

What measures are being taken to ensure that only eligible applicants are receiving financial benefits under the initiative?

All applicants must execute a self-declaration stating that they meet the eligibility requirements as determined by the Ministry.

What measures are in place to ensure that only eligible costs are being paid under the initiative?

All financial benefits under this initiative are on a reimbursement basis. These payments will be verified against paid invoices or receipts which detail the training or consulting services that were provided. Claims for financial benefits must align with the applicant’s approved application form.

What other actions or measures are being taken to ensure that financial benefits paid under this initiative conform to its policies?

The Ministry has the authority to verify any information and documents concerning the eligibility of applicants through post application audits. The Ministry may also conduct post payment audits to verify that services were obtained and plans were completed.

Can a client apply more than once?

An applicant may have multiple Applications for Funding however, is limited to the individual area maximum benefits and to a maximum combined benefit of $10,000 during the lifetime of the program.

What is the process to handle requests from FBDI clients and consultants who request a review or update to a previously completed plan/application (i.e. year two)?

If a client has not claimed the maximum benefits under the FBDI program, he/she has two options within the program:

  • Submit an application for a different business management practice;
  • Submit a new or subsequent application for additional or subsequent work in an area already completed. In this situation, the client must meet ALL the minimum deliverables even though a plan was recently submitted or completed in the previous year.

In summary, the follow-up costs to review or evaluate a completed farm management plan in one of the eight areas are NOT eligible under FBDI. However, if there is an add-on service in a new plan by the consultant, and all minimum deliverables are included in the new report/plan, FBDI can cover this expense. The key is that the written report must meet the minimum deliverables.

For example, a client did a complete production economics plan for this production year and received program benefits for it. Now they wish to revisit this plan. If it is simply a follow-up to the original plan, then no benefits would be applicable. However, if the client wishes to develop a new plan using the previous plan as a base and they incorporate all the minimum deliverables in the new plan, then the plan would be eligible for program benefits.

Can one consultant report be used by more than one eligible farmer from the same family? (I.e. several applicants share the cost for one succession plan report)

It may be possible for several individuals to be reimbursed for eligible expenses for the cost of shared reports. In these cases, the report(s) must meet all minimum deliverables for each management consulting services category applied for. The paid invoice must indicate the amount that each individual is responsible for paying. There will be no duplication of reimbursement, only a shared reimbursement amongst the eligible applicants identified on the paid invoice.