Partner Profiles | April 15, 2015

Ravi Bathe on Farmers as Entrepreneurs

Ravi Bathe doesn’t fit the stereotype of farmers. He has a business degree, spends more time in his mobile office or attending industry events than doing manual labour and makes a fashion statement with his shoes.

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partner-profile-ravi

Doing your fieldwork is the key to success.

Ravi Bathe doesn’t fit the stereotype of farmers. He has a business degree, spends more time in his mobile office or attending industry events than doing manual labour and makes a fashion statement with his shoes. In his seventh year as the President of the BC Chicken Growers’ Association, Ravi is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the industry he earns a living from. We caught up with Ravi to ask him about what it means to be a farmer today.

 

How did you get into farming?

Well, I grew up in farming – raspberries and blueberries were the primary family business since the 1970s. Eleven years ago, after completing a commerce degree at university and working in the private sector for a while, I decided that I wanted to return to what I did all my life growing up, be a farmer.

But I wanted to do something a little bit different – I wanted to diversify away from what the family was doing. I had friends in the poultry business, so after a lot of research I put together a business plan and went to the bank to ask for money. When the banks required collateral, I reached out to my dad to see if we could go into business together as partners. That was in 2002. We started chicken farming in 2003.

 

Are you a farmer or an entrepreneur?

As a farmer you are running and owning a business. It’s generally engrained in farmers that they have to do the absolute most amount of physical labour themselves, but a new generation of farmers is learning that their time needs to leveraged in other ways to be successful. We need to be spending time thinking about the future, looking for new business opportunities and planning. Margins are very small in agriculture so your operation continuously needs to become more efficient.

It’s really very similar to the experience all business owners have. I’ve needed to make strategic decisions about expansion, restructuring, relocation and diversification. I get a lot of people that are surprised when I tell them I’m a farmer because I’m not wearing coveralls, but the reality is that I spend a lot of time in my mobile office and attending industry events.

 

Do you have any advice you’d share with other farmers and entrepreneurs?

Get out there – go to industry meetings and spend time networking. Talking to other farmers, even if they’re farming other crops, is invaluable. You can learn so much from your peers and mentors. I think this principle applies to every industry.

 

How do you want to be remembered?

I want my family to know I worked hard and did the best I could to support them, yet still had time to be with them as a family. Sometimes farmers work way too much.

I want my peers to remember that I was an honest, hard-working individual who was willing to lend a hand and do right by them. That’s the reputation my dad had, and a legacy I want to continue.

Ravi farms in Abbotsford with his wife of 10 years and two children. His favorite way to eat chicken is on the BBQ with a bit of seasoning; not complicated, but very tasty.  Ravi recently starred in our Chicken Squad campaign for the BC Chicken Marketing Board. In his seventh year as the President of the BC Chicken Growers’ Association, Ravi is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the industry he earns a living from.