A biomass corn-stalk co-op

Farmers need to invest now if the new corn-stalk project is to go ahead

Farmers aren’t negative or pessimistic by nature, but they are realists. When it comes to business proposals, they’ve heard terms such as “sure-fire” and “can’t-miss” before, not always with good cause. So, do those terms work for the proposed corn biomass co-op? You decide, but it appears there may be a good case for the […] Read more

Watching for bears

Change Makers: Saskatchewan’s Franck Groeneweg defends his farm against factors that prevent him changing as fast as he needs to

Franck Groeneweg is a young, progressive agri-businessman from central Saskatchewan, and like most of his neighbours, he accepts the fact the only constant in life and in farming is change. “There is always going to be change, and I try to embrace it,” Groeneweg says. “I look at it and ask, what is the opportunity […] Read more

Making ethnic markets pay

In Toronto alone, consumers are buying $400 million a year of imported ethnic vegetables. Could it make sense to grow them here?

Edamame, okra, bitter melon, quinoa, Chinese long eggplant — all these are edible crops that you’d have had a hard time finding on the country’s store shelves 50 years ago, let alone growing in Canadian fields and greenhouses. They’re still crops that few Canadian farmers know about, and that even fewer have considered growing. But […] Read more

Filling the youth gap in agriculture

Here’s how to inspire and recruit the next generation of ag employees

What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a common question that adults ask young people. Popular answers include pro athlete, doctor or lawyer, or you might just get a shrug of the shoulders and an “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, careers in agriculture and food rarely make it to the top of […] Read more

What’s your cultural intelligence quotient?

Creating an environment that welcomes and is open to other cultures actually helps boost farm performance

Along with the country overall, our rural communities are becoming much more culturally diverse. The evidence is that this is a good thing for agriculture. Research shows that diversity enhances innovation in the workplace. As well, agriculture relies on newcomers to fill the growing demand for workers in the industry. However, diversity in the workplace […] Read more

Custom business

Custom operators like Troy Monea are under pressure to boost customer service and to intensify their business management. In this game, there’s less and less room for the uncommitted

The same stories get told over and over again. For instance, when Troy Monea was growing his busy custom farm business near Falun, Alta., he reached out to a potential competitor. “They had got so big so fast, I didn’t know how I could compete,” Monea recalls. “I couldn’t offer what he was offering, so […] Read more

Create your foreign exchange strategy

Can you afford to be exposed to the risks of volatile currency markets?

When it comes to managing risk to their operations, farmers are well versed in the usual suspects — whether that’s risks in the field like adverse weather, disease and equipment failure, or whether it’s spiking interest rates, lack of adequate cash flow, or being over-leveraged. But one often overlooked risk is when dealing with foreign […] Read more

Can you count on AgriStability?

A lot depends on the kind of operation you’re running, and whether you use family labour

Sue and Jim started farming by buying 300 acres, with buildings. By renting additional land, they quickly expanded to 2,500 acres. They supported this expansion with machinery that was mainly leased, and hired custom harvesting. They relied on a bank line of credit for much of their operating money. The last five years were good, […] Read more

Diversification the name of the game for Lewis Farms

Change Makers: From potatoes to grain to a commercial bull business, Lewis Farms has diversified to manage risk and accommodate market challenges

“Sometimes, progress simply isn’t possible without change,” says Ken Lewis, general manager of Lewis Farms in Spruce Grove, just west of Edmonton, Alta. Which means that ignoring opportunities to change, or actively resisting change when it arrives can actually be the paths of greatest risk. Because change will happen. In fact, like other farmers, Lewis […] Read more

The halal market

In a more diverse Canada, many farmers are learning what halal actually means, and some are already finding ways to profit from its booming demand

Navigating the narrow aisles of his Winnipeg shop with the energy of a man half his age, Yusuf Abdulrehman pauses to point out bright spices, dark teas and pastel sweets that have travelled across the globe to reach his prairie outpost. “We don’t only sell halal meat, we have a variety of products coming from […] Read more