A panel talking about diversification at the Canadian Dairy XPO in Stratford on April 4, 2019. (Photo by Ashley Ferraro)

Talking diversification at the Canadian Dairy XPO

The Business Diversification Panel at the Canadian Dairy XPO encouraged farmers to explore business diversification.

The message was simple – don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Between unpredictable markets and unforeseen issues such as widespread disease, farmers can lose big if they do not exercise business diversification.

The panel speakers encouraged dairy farmers to seek new opportunities that are of interest to them. The panel discouraged following trends or instilling trust in salespeople to guide the decision making process, adding those that were motivated by personal interest were far more likely to be successful.

Panel moderator and Ruminant Technical & Sales Supervisor for Shur-Gain/Trouw Nutrition, Jason Sutherland, says that spreading out your investment has many benefits.

“Diversifying allows you to mitigate risk. If one part of your operation is suffering a little bit due to markets, or whatever, you can hopefully can be able to rebound from that on the other side,” said Sutherland.

Some panelists diversified their businesses by adding solar panels, biodigesters, or other types of animal production to their farms.

“We saw on the panel there, that all of them had looked into it for a long time before they knew exactly what they were going to do. I think that’s important because if you jump into something and you don’t know the full ramifications of it, then there is risk associated with that,” added Sutherland.

Sutherland says that the main benefits to business diversification are spread out cash flow, risk management and perhaps stress reduction.

–with files from Ashley Ferraro