Latest articles


From planning to implementation

AME Management: Get into these management habits. They will help you develop the strategic objectives that will drive your farm where you want it to go, and then help you achieve real progress toward them

In our past column, we reviewed the habits of successful agricultural managers. One habit is that successful managers don’t just do strategic and operational planning, they translate their plans into action — i.e. they have a process to implement the plan. Like most farmers, many CTEAM participants have had little experience or training in planning […] Read more


A Genius in the tractor cab

This systems supplier is integrating cutting-edge automotive safety systems into off-road equipment cabs

A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing the industrial designer who styled the cab and body of the first Challenger 65 belted ag tractors, which were then part of the Caterpillar brand before coming under AGCO ownership. Before coming to Cat, the designer had spent several years working for General Motors and […] Read more



Growing professional

Across the country, young farmers like Holly White and Kent Sereda are building respect for a new generation of business skills

Newlyweds Holly White and Kent Sereda were already quite good at tackling what you might call their legal due diligence, updating their wills and preparing marital agreements. Then they realized they should go even further. This was the right time, they decided, to review the whole succession plan for the fourth-generation family farm that they […] Read more


The sustainability conundrum

In the Western world at least, there’s a big demand for ‘sustainably sourced’ products. What that means, or receiving a premium for them, is another matter

The food giants want it on their labels, and in the annual reports and other information they send to their investors. PepsiCo, Walmart, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever, Sara Lee and Nestlé are among those citing the years 2020 or 2025 as targets for achieving their goals of buying “sustainably sourced” products. But what does that […] Read more



Tractor spraying wheat field

‘Insurance’ spraying

A new study says most farmers can generate more profit by cutting back on crop protection. But wait… is it really that simple?

Today, we all recognize “recreational tillage” as a phrase we use to criticize farmers who haven’t been paying attention to how we’ve learned that we can put an end to a lot of excessive tillage, thereby reducing soil erosion, fuel and equipment costs, and manpower requirements. But now we need to ask: Is “recreational spraying” […] Read more


A better way to learn

What’s the best way to choose a great mentor? Three young farmers share their thoughts on how their mentors helped them get a solid career start, and how other young farmers could benefit from a more flexible approach to on-farm learning

Ben Campbell thought participating in a mentorship program could probably provide fresh insight into how to improve his grass-fed beef operation. Or possibly it could expose him to new business practices and stronger management techniques. So by the end of the year-long program, it came as a surprise to the Alberta rancher when he realized […] Read more



A lesson in farming

At Lakeland College, an innovative student-managed farm is turning out business-minded young farmers ready for the job ahead

Nearly 10 years ago, April Thomi faced the same dilemma as many high school students the world over. She was trying to decide where to go to college. April knew she wanted to farm. She had grown up on the Stanko family farm in southern Alberta, where her family had raised cattle and still grew […] Read more


Back in business after bovine TB

When Brad Osadczuk lost his entire herd to TB, he discovered which attitudes and skills really are essential for starting over

[Updated June 7, 2017] Brad Osadczuk’s ranch at Jenner, Alta., is eerily quiet in what would normally be the start of a very busy calving season. His pens are empty, not a cow is in sight. This calving season, Osadczuk is a different kind of busy. He must find a new normal, since losing his […] Read more



Wheat fields being harvested

Incorporation pushes farms into higher gear

With 30,000 incorporated farms on 50 million acres, farm incorporation is on the rise in Canada, and not just because of the tax savings. In fact, these other benefits can be even more valuable

Somewhere between loading trucks and getting ready for seeding on his family’s farm near Fort MacLeod, Alta., Stephen Vandervalk stops midway through our conversation, breathes deeply and tilts his head. “I can’t even imagine trying to operate without a corporation,” he says. “How could we compete to buy land at 35 to 45 per cent […] Read more


Small business corporations hit by new tax rules

Some major changes to how Canada Revenue Agency handles small business corporations are costing incorporated farms, especially those focused on expansion

Tax rules change. Some governments try to lower taxes, others claw back those tax wins. Currently, Ottawa seems to be gnawing away at what some see as the very foundation of this country’s economy, small business profits. Incorporated businesses may be losing some of the tax advantages they’ve had over sole proprietorships, but are still […] Read more