Should you have the chance to sit and talk with Amber Kingcott, her genuine concern for farmers, farms and farming shines through instantly. She comes from farm families on both sides and, clearly, loves all things farm related.
Today, Amber is the lead Manager within the Agriculture Department for BDO Canada LLP in Lethbridge. Her client profiles now include about 90% direct producers, 5% support industries and 5% not-for-profit clients.
Add her love of agriculture to her designation as a Chartered Accountant (CA, CPA) and a seat on the Farming Smarter Board fits her to a T. Amber plans to use her experience and professionalism to make sure Farming Smarter keeps its policies and accounting practices up to par as an audited, non-profit organization.
Amber says, "I want to make sure we're following the best practices for the industry." She monitors the financial statements and makes sure Farming Smarter has a financial plan.
Initially, Farming Smarter's practical research into hail recovery caught her interest. She joined Will Zobell, BDO LLP Lethbridge, for a tour with Executive Director Ken Coles. "I got so excited. This is information people need." When Coles suggested she serve on the Board, she says she was thrilled.
"I joined the board because I see value for farmers in Farming Smarter's work," says Amber. "I see the information generated by the research as vital to farmers. It's a great wealth of knowledge that farmers can access without taking the risks involved in their own trail and error."
She says the more she learns about Farming Smarter's work, the more value she sees for producers. Much of the research can lower costs, create efficiencies or improve yields. She says that in years when margins get tight, it offers unbiased, tried and tested ways to increase yields.
She wants to see a day when the organization has a pool of funds to do research requested by crop growers.
"I want us to be responsive to the farmers we're trying to help", Amber asserts. "To get to that point, we need more support from producers ≥ including advocacy with research funders. With the reductions we're seeing from government, it's difficult to plan out a 5-year project when we don't know if we'll have the money."
She acknowledges that Farming Smarter has some staunch supporters and she's grateful to all the people that come to events, subscribe to a package and interact as a community.
She says, "We couldn't do it without you!"