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“Harvest an Opportunity”

Learn a new skill…CASS…Canadian Agricultural Skills Program

Usually this is the time of year that I anticipate the things we need to get ready to make harvest a good experience. What do you write when there is no harvest? Well, this year may be your time to upgrade your skills and learn some things to help you manage your farm, and earn more income.

“Harvesting more cash via CASS” is my take on the new program, the Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS). I’ve heard the official presentations, and basically, if you farm, don’t collect Employment Insurance, and your net family income is less than $45,000 (three-year average) you qualify to apply.

Excuse busters:

  • Elaine, I hated going to school. Okay. So the classroom thing doesn’t appeal to you, but make the application anyway. Some of the learning is non-traditional and gives you the opportunity to challenge technical courses. For example, you may be a great welder, with no papers, you can take a short hands-on 100 hour course and get your certificate. The delivery of the training may be full-time, part-time, formal , informal, distance ed., or web-based.
  • I’m too old. In two years you will be two years older regardless of what happens. People of all ages can be life-long learners. Look at all the resiliency you’ve learned coping with drought, frost, and now too much moisture, not to mention BSE. Farm families that pull together to create opportunity for more income have to be flexible and trainable. You are never too old to learn, and you just might surprise yourself!
  • I don’t know what I’m good at. The great feature of the CASS program is the prior learning assessment which is a big name for finding out the skills you already have, marketable skills. They will give you a practical concrete idea of what you are suited for, and you will also have a customized, individual learning plan (ILP…the government loves acronyms!).
  • I don’t want to move away. The CASS program is designed to be flexible and includes distance learning, and some travel which is covered by the program. You may have to leave Uncle Charlie in charge of the cows for a few days, but it will be manageable. You can still continue to operate your farm business.
  • I don’t have enough money. Precisely, this is why the program is so timely for struggling farmers. The funding support of CASS is tiered at $8000, $12,000 or $16,000 maximum for training/education benefits. There are different support levels based on 3 year average family income levels.
  • I’m a former PMU producer, so my income is skewed. The program has the ability to look at each situation on a case by case basis. If your income was high due to a payout, and now things are tough, ask about the possibilities!
  • I’m just a beginning farmer. Perfect. If you own some farm assets, and have been out of school for at least two years, apply! One young man I know was thrilled to hear about the CASS program as he plans to upgrade with Agri-business at Assiniboine Community College, and he hopes he will qualify.
  • Change is hard. Life is tough when financial resources are strained. This learning opportunity may seem like a huge stretch. Hook into the upward spiral way of thinking, and dream of the potential to get the skills you need to make more money on, or off the farm. Counsellors are with you in this program to focus on individual needs and follow-up participation. Their goal is a reasonable, achievable learning plan.
  • Someone has to feed the cows! Yes, so CASS provides funding for replacement labour to pay Uncle Charlie to feed the cows for you. Travel, meal allowances, and accommodation away from home, and dependent care needs are also covered.
  • Computers aren’t my thing. CASS has some financial support for computer technical support and internet connection. Get over your phobia of computers with people who are cheering for you, and want you to be financially secure with new skills. CASS doesn’t cover the cost of buying a new computer for your courses or any other purchase of capital assets.
  • I just want to farm. Great. CASS endorses on-farm business training such as farm business management., accounting, crop production skills, livestock production skills, and food safety skills. They do not provide start up capital for alternative business development.
  • I never finished high school. You can get your General Educational Development (GED) academic upgrading. GED training is necessary to qualify for skill training.
  • I can’t read. Your learning plan may include literacy/numeracy skill training and employability skills training. Paul Overstreet has a wonderful song of hope called “Billy Can’t Read” where Billy overcomes his handicap, and has a new life!

Enough excuses! I want you to call 1-866-668-2277 in Manitoba or 1-866-452-5558 for Alberta and Saskatchewan to harvest the opportunity of making more money with new skills on your farm. Visit www.agr.gc.ca/renewal and hit the Canadian Agricuture Skill Service Link. Many families have a lousy crop or no crop to harvest this fall. This may be your season to take care of yourself and grow!

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Elaine Froese drives the combine near Boissevain Manitoba. She is a life-long learner who coaches families in business to be intentional about change! Elaine also mediates and speaks at conferences.

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Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

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Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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