Latest articles

A shareholder plan for farm employees

With family and non-family ownership, Marie-Claude Mainville’s management of this Quebec farm may become a new Canadian pattern

Back in 1979, friends Jan Van Gennip and Orance Mainville decided to join forces to get into the feedlot business. Van Gennip had the farm, Mainville brought his knowledge of cattle and business, and together they formed Fermes Janor. Since then, Mainville (now semi-retired) has been joined by his daughter Marie-Claude, and many partners have […] Read more

What’s for dinner, Canada?

Change is growing a lot faster in our grocery stores than on our farms. So is opportunity

The food that got put on just about any dinner plate in Canada 30 years ago was the same as got put on all the other plates. Every kitchen cooked up meat and potatoes with a side of veg. Yes, basic tomato-based pastas could sometimes be served but they were definitely “ethnic,” while “convenience” described […] Read more

Judge's legal gavel and Family Court nameplate

Courting disaster

When farm families end up in court, winners are few and very far between. Still, more and more families are ending up before a judge

The British press has given Welsh farmer Eirian Davies her own nickname, the “Cowshed Cinderella,” even though the court case that she brought against her parents, claiming they had reneged on a promise that she would inherit the family dairy farm, certainly didn’t have a fairy-tale ending. When the courts awarded a C$2.2 million settlement […] Read more

Farm feedback

On this savvy farm, feedback is mined for real value, producing a happier, more efficient workforce

On the farm, we’ve heard the jokes about feedback being a load of barley that gets rejected at the elevator, or maybe it’s how a cow chews her cud. In bizspeak, though, feedback gets taken a lot more seriously than that. As a human resources strategy, feedback is gaining global attention because of the power […] Read more

Ben Voss of Morris Industries

Learning to do your own laundry — and other stepping stones on the path to business leadership and success

Learning how to do your own laundry? Learning how to fail? They may sound like an odd combination and an even odder recipe for business leadership and success, but according to Ben Voss, shareholder and newly appointed president and CEO for Morris Industries Ltd., they’re essential for understanding how he got to where he is […] Read more

Stormy rapeseed

Risk warning

Inside the campaign to get better risk management programs for Canada’s farmers

Ask Keith Currie where the biggest risk lies, and he’ll point to the sky. “We’re seeing much more severe weather systems, whether it’s cold snaps, dry snaps, wet snaps. The weather patterns are moving differently,” says Currie, who grows hay and sweet corn near Collingwood, Ont., where he is president of the Ontario Federation of […] Read more

The new co-operatives

Is the co-op movement on its way out, or just getting rolling?

Because Chris Bodnar loves soil, growing crops, the cycles of weather and seasons, it wasn’t a big surprise when, a dozen years ago, he decided his future was farming. Unfortunately, big barriers stood in the way of this 20-something. Since Bodnar wasn’t raised on a farm, he had no one’s bootsteps to follow in, and […] Read more

The value of a handshake

When I think of the greatest farm leaders today, I think of those who have experienced some incredibly tough moments and who, when their values were tested, stayed true to who they are. I think of those I saw stand their ground during difficult situations, often with the next generation watching. These moments stand out […] Read more

Let your kids see how you mind your farm’s business

Here’s where the farm succession process really starts

If you’re close to retirement, you may be getting ready to succeed the farm to your children. Or, if you’re younger, you’ll be thinking about what is going to happen to the farm when it’s your turn to retire. In either scenario, your family, your children and the business itself will likely be intermingling, which […] Read more

Hand over wheat field in early summer evening.

Finding success

Are we chasing a dream, or living one?

This fall a salesman for a soil amendment product told me that if I used his product, I would be more successful. When I asked him if anyone around was using the product, he replied: “Some of the most successful farmers use it.” In past, salespeople have often told me that using their products will […] Read more