Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) —  Heather Broughton of the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management program speaks very highly about the legacy the late Robert (Bob) L. Ross left on the agriculture industry through his work in creating educational opportunities for farmers to grow their business skills.

CTEAM teaches farmers detailed financial, marketing and human relations management skills, using their operation as a case study. The program is offered across Canada by Agri-Food Management Excellence.

Bob passed away in March of 2014 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Shortly thereafter, the Robert (Bob) L. Ross Memorial Scholarship was established to give help to farmers who needed assistance to pay for tuition and travel costs.

“We modeled what we are looking for in the scholarship, kinda after what Bob would have been looking for,” Broughton said.

This year the scholarship is $4500

Principal & Lead Instructor Larry Martin says the program covers strategy, finance, financial management, marketing, human resource management, operations management, and leadership.

“I think of it as a mini MBA program, because it covers all of the things that you need to think about, most of the things you need to think about, if you are the CEO of an organization which is what farmers are, they are CEOs of their farm organizations,” Martin said.

The program consists of four modules which are being held in Abbotsford, Calgary, Guelph, and Montreal-Ottawa starting in December.

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A program for everyone

Martin says this program is unique covering the topics of strategy, finance, financial management, marketing, human resource management, operations management, and leadership.

“People may develop a strategic and operating plan for their farm and they make presentations about it about that plan at each session.”

“You get coaching from the instructors, and they get input from each other and that’s one of the things they value to interact with other farmers from around the country.”

Broughton says there are no prerequisites for the course in terms of education.

“It’s for people who really want to learn and grow both personally and professionally.”

Martin says they’ve had people with advanced degrees and others who didn’t finish high school.

“Lots of time you can’t tell the difference because the information is presented in such a way that it isn’t in a jargon level, so even if you don’t have a lot of formal level of education you can learn with the way we do, especially since you learn with your own data.”

Return on Investment

Martin says time and time again they hear from past-participants about how much they have been able to take away and apply to their farm.

He says producers see an improvement in profitability, a more effective organization, and better personal health.

“They have better confidence, less stress, better family relationships because often their finances are better so they don’t have the stress that they had before.”

On top of that, the participants gain a network of contacts which include their classmates and others who have taken the program before them.

“We actually have an alumni program, what people often find out is that they love their program and then they find out that there were 10 to 15 other classes, then their network is even better.”

Both Broughton and Martin say this scholarship is a fitting tribute to Ross’ passion, leadership, and legacy.

The deadline for applications is Sunday, September 15.

For more information on the scholarship and the program click here. 



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