China powers up

The world’s most populous country gets serious about farm machinery

Like so much of China, the country’s agriculture is in a state of transition. While some sectors of the industry are barreling full speed into mechanization, with impressive rates of technology adoption to match the latest in global production standards, the road to modernizing agricultural production isn’t always a smooth one. China is the world’s […] Read more


So history repeats itself

Consider for a moment what Canadian agriculture would look like today if farmers had never made the switch from horse power to tractor power. It isn’t such an absurd idea if you understand why farmers here actually resisted mechanization when it first appeared roughly a century ago. An interesting read is the text of the […] Read more



That little blue elevator

It’s an unlikely scenario that three friends from Toronto with no agricultural background would find themselves on the wide open prairie buying and exporting lentils, peas and beans. But much has changed in the grain marketing world. Noor Faridi, Faisal Usmani and Aftab Ghouri might just be the face of that change. Their new company, […] Read more


Shortline prospecting

Shortline railway companies are creating new opportunities for farm commodities, and for farmers too

Operating a shortline railway in Western Canada isn’t an easy proposition. Over the past 20 years, many companies have come, and ultimately gone, after trying to revive lines that CN and CP had abandoned in their waves of rationalization. But now, a move from single-farm producer car loading to higher-volume sites might become the key […] Read more



A better workplace for women

In today’s tight labour markets, a workplace that attracts women employees may give your farm the edge you’re looking for

With the farm labour shortage expected to go from bad to worse all across Canada, farms that can attract untapped communities of job seekers may have a big advantage. Which means women. Women are Canada’s largest under-utilized pool of potential farm employees. The numbers prove it. Women make up only 36 per cent of the […] Read more


angry girl holds up her hand to stop predator and end the cycle of abuse

Sexual harassment: Is your farm at risk?

The short answer is “yes,” but here’s how you can reduce your risks with a harassment policy that helps prevent unacceptable behaviours and their consequences

On the outside, everything seems wholesome and almost shiny. We run our family farms with respect and good will, focused on productivity and efficiency. In fact, as an industry, we’re so good at it, more farms are hiring non-family employees, and there’s increased gender and cultural diversity throughout the agricultural industry. That has got to […] Read more



Chicago high school turning learners into leaders

Near the top in the academic rankings in Chicago, the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences is transforming city kids into graduates eager for careers in agriculture

Rarely does someone wish they could go back to high school, but that was certainly the feeling I had when I toured a school in Chicago last June during my Nuffield Scholarship. The institution is about 30 km south of downtown Chicago, and in many ways, it is a standard high school. It has lockers, […] Read more


Uber-stores for food

Businesses like Marcia Woods’ FreshSpoke are figuring out how to connect Canadian farmers with the consumers looking for ways to buy from them

Marcia Woods’ frustration at not being able to buy the high-quality food that she knew was being grown right down the road evolved into an online business that not only connects farmers with wholesalers, but also solves their transportation and cash-flow headaches. Coming from a long line of Oxford County farmers in Ontario, Woods, who’s […] Read more



The right mentor

More young farmers could get a career-expanding lift from a great mentor. Could that be you?

As a lifelong farmer and accomplished entrepreneur, Alberta-based rancher and author Brenda Schoepp knows a thing or two about operating a thriving business. And it turns out she knows a thing or two about mentorship as well. As a mentor, what she understands is that success isn’t about giving young farmers the answers to their […] Read more


The challenge of optimism

A look inside a modern Ontario hort operation finds a farm family wrestling with issues that may soon dominate the farm agenda coast to coast

Some days, farming is more fun than others. Although he’s driven by a belief in agriculture, and although he’s working hard to keep building their farm enterprise, Shawn Brenn, president of Brenn B Farms Ltd. at Waterdown, Ont., admits there are also days when the frustrations can make him wonder. Every farmer knows the feeling. […] Read more