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From Farm to Family – The Business Success Story of Les Jardins G&R Ltée

By Royal Bank of Canada

Published June 10, 2024 • 4 Min Read

Over the past 40 years the Bérard family have worked with RBC to grow their operation into one of the largest cabbage producers in North America.

René and Germaine Bérard are passionate about agriculture and they’re good at it. Over the past 40 years they’ve grown their operation, Les Jardins G&R Ltée, to become one of the largest cabbage producers in Canada, shipping across North America and internationally. And what’s more, they did it as a family. While the goal has always been to become one of the world’s largest cabbage producers, the bigger dream was to farm as a family and work alongside one another.

For 40+ years the Bérard family has steadily grown their operation to over 1,000 hectares spread over five different municipalities in the Saint-Lin-Laurentides area of Quebec, about an hour north of Montreal. While they continue to dedicate significant acreage to carrots and various other rotational crops, the Bérards are primarily focused on cabbage production with roughly 200 dedicated hectares. Additionally, the farm currently employs over 50 workers and a dozen family members who are intricately involved in every aspect of the business. 

Like any large operation, Les Jardins G&R Ltée has also seen its fair share of change over the years. But it has always sold and shipped its products directly to large national distributors. 

More recently, René and Germaine have begun succession planning in hopes of passing the business onto the next generation. With their children Sébastien and Catherine taking on more and more of the day-to-day, and with the help of other family members, they are confident the operation will continue to grow and create more opportunities for future generations. While the Bérards continue to enjoy this success, they also recall times where they needed sound financial advice. 

To optimize freshness and offer top-notch products to its customers all through the year, the Bérard family has always maintained facilities that meet the highest quality standards. Over the years the Bérards would come across opportunities to expand operations but were not always in the best position to take advantage of them. This included things like building their own packaging centre and automating the packaging line to move products faster and more efficiently. Although they eventually capitalized on all these growth opportunities, their reoccurring concerns were usually a lack of financial tools and resources to achieve them on their own. Fortunately, they connected just in time with RBC’s seasoned advisors in agriculture banking solutions.

The relationship between RBC and Les Jardins G&R Ltée dates back to the 1980’s, and the two have worked hand in hand to ensure a successful future for the operation. After getting a better understanding of the Bérards’ dream and what they hoped to build, RBC was able to talk to them about the customized financial products, tools and resources it offers to farmers and the agribusiness community. It was a good fit and their instant rapport quickly led to monthly meetings between the two parties, where they would review current goals, recap recent progress and set future goals to work towards – a process that continues to this day.

“It’s no wonder that their operation has been so successful,” explains Eric Moreau, RBC Commercial Ag Manager. “These are very hard-working, intelligent, innovative and determined people. They just need a little financial help to make things work. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with them because, over the years, I’ve watched their farm and family grow. I’ve enjoyed getting to get to know them as people and to see them realize their dreams.”

When asked why they’ve continued to bank with RBC all these years, both René and Germaine Bérard say the same thing. They value the human aspect of their relationship and look at RBC as a partner that contributes to the success of their business. 

“The best part of my job is getting to work with people like the Bérards and listening to their ideas,” says Eric Moreau. “Then, I use my knowledge and experience to help them. It has been very rewarding.”

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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