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

Farmer Leaning on a Gate in a Paddock

The value of learning

AME Management: Learning business management can contribute to self-esteem and confidence

Farmers sometimes wonder whether additional courses and learning are of great value after taking into account course fees, travel, sometimes hotels, and always valuable time away from your business. Peer pressure can add to the psychological cost if the destinations are at all interesting or exotic. Neighbours may think you are simply taking a tax-deductible […] Read more

Family meetings that work

It may seem risky to get the whole family together for a farm meeting. It’s also smart

Having guided farm families through some of their most challenging periods, Jolene Brown understands why regular meetings fall by the wayside in many businesses. “It’s because of the way the last one ended. Nothing got done, someone took over, somebody cried, people walked out, people had so much work to do and the meeting just […] Read more

Famer and His Son Standing Side by Side Leaning on a Gate

How good are your HR skills? Is it time to upgrade?

If you are going to have employees, you can never run away from being a supervisor,” says HR consultant Leah Knibbs. It’s a role, she says, that pays well when it’s done well

Not only are our farms getting bigger and more complex, but farm families are also getting smaller as farming couples have fewer kids, just like other Canadians. It’s a demographic combination that has changed the ag labour dynamic, says Leah Knibbs. For many farmers, the days of running the farm by putting the family to […] Read more

Three red flags to watch for on your farm

Is it time to call in an HR consultant to boost your farm’s performance?

The first warning sign seems like it should be an obvious one. But it isn’t always that simple. This red flag is a farm that can’t keep staff. The trouble is, it’s easy to blame the employees instead of taking a hard look at whether the problem is closer to home, says Leah Knibbs of […] Read more

financial paperwork

Financial analysis and planning

AME Management: These examples show how standardized financial statements can be a powerful source of insight into your operational management

Past columns in this space addressed aspects of strategic planning and financial management. Experience suggests that their close connection is not always recognized by managers. The intent of this column is to show how financial ratios can affect strategic direction and help focus on plans. The Planning Model We follow Harvard strategist, Michael Porter and […] Read more

Who’s doing the books on your farm?

On your family farm, is it time to transfer the books from Mom to the next generation? These seven steps will help you put things right

Sometimes it’s a job that gets assigned by default. After all, how many farmers really want to volunteer for a job that involves sitting at a desk entering data, paying bills and sending out invoices? Sometimes, too, there can be an older generation that doesn’t want change. Managing the farm books is their last bastion […] Read more

Generating farm independence

Sometimes, the best solution can be for the next generation to build a farm of their own

The roads here are typical for this part of rural Ontario, running between neighbouring towns. On either side, at the end of long maple-sided lanes are well-kept dairy, beef and crop farms divided into 100-acre parcels, with red and black barns stamped proudly with farm names, usually family names. Occasionally too a lane is overgrown, […] Read more

Bags Of Money On A Farm Field

How financially healthy is your farm?

AME Management: These two examples show how standardized financial statements can be a powerful source of insight into your operational management

Three articles in this space over the last year (see links further down) focused on the management information to be obtained from standardized farm accounting statements. This month, we illustrate it here with two farm examples, concentrating on the operating (profit and loss) statement. The organization of our operating statements is based on three principles: […] Read more