Longtime RBC banker Andrew Staniforth to head up new agriculture team in Eastern Ontario

Andrew Staniforth RBC

In an effort to support agriculture and farmers throughout Eastern Ontario, RBC commercial vice-president Andrew Staniforth will take on a new role as vice-president of agriculture, helping to highlight what he calls a vital industry in the region. 

Andrew Staniforth, who has worked with farmers in Ontario for more than 25 years, will head up the new RBC Agriculture Team, which will address the evolving needs of farmers in the region. 

He says it’s been a “long time coming.”

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“My history working with agricultural clients goes back 27 years and my old man was an agriculture banker himself with RBC,” said Staniforth. “I’ve always had the passion of wanting to be in this industry and support the impact it has.”

Staniforth, who works out of Almonte, will lead a team of relationship managers based in Pontiac, Embrun, Winchester and Carleton Place. There is also a broader team in the Kawarthas and Barrie, he said.

The team will take a “holistic” approach to addressing the challenges facing the agricultural industry, Staniforth said, while helping farmers grow their operations.

“Sometimes (agriculture) is the industry that’s forgotten about. The old saying goes, ‘If you ate something today, did you thank a farmer?’” said Staniforth. “This is a great opportunity to highlight the cornerstone, key fabric of our communities.”

The team will aim to have at least four or five “kitchen table” conversations with each client per year, Staniforth said.

Discussions and guidance surrounding succession is one of the biggest goals, he said, with an aging farmer population.

“We can bring in a partner from the wealth management team to help sit down and look at transitioning the farm to a daughter and son moving forward, or looking at selling to a third party.”

There are also great opportunities when it comes to embracing technology and sustainability, he said, as the industry enters what he describes as unprecedented times. Between aging farmers, high interest rates, inflation and climate concerns, Staniforth said many farmers face circumstances that have been “unseen in the past 20 years.”

“We have individuals who have not been through this before, but there is also a great opportunity around how we can positively have an impact on our climate and leverage technology to another level,” he said. 

“It’s really about bringing in all those threats and opportunities and helping our clients navigate through that time, while highlighting the importance of what impact this industry has on everybody each and every day.”

Technology is one of the major areas where the team can guide farmers, Staniforth said, as the industry continues to modernize. 

“In some situations we have a robot milking the cows, feeding the cows, preparing the feed … this is big business,” he explained. “The technology is allowing an individual who has a young family, two kids under the age of four with one coming, and we’re doing a barn tour and the first place in the barn is a kid’s nursery.

“How many industries have a nursery and daycare within their workplace so mom and dad can be looking after the kids but also looking after the animals and doing what they love?” Staniforth continued. 

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