Latest articles


Australian banks face rural lending reckoning

Agriculture borrowers say banks need a shorter leash and call for a compulsory farm debt mediation system

Reuters – Australian potato farmer Tom Fox says he had never missed a bank payment in two decades before a delay sending a shipment to Indonesia during a trade dispute between the countries prompted his lender to force him into receivership in 2013. “I got a letter from the bank lawyers saying I had 12 […] Read more


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

How do you know when the younger generation is ‘ready’?

AME Management: How succession can be successfully planned

A tough question for any family business is how to know when the next generation is equipped to take over management decisions. Like many other things, the answer is often lost in a range of factors, not least the attitudes of the individuals in the family. My experience is that many families have unresolved “stuff” […] Read more



Leadership on the go

What does it take for farmers like Saskatchewan’s Bernie McClean to make themselves into better business leaders?

Growing as a leader takes stretch goals, and it takes finding out about your weaknesses and strengths. It might also take consciously building a network of smart, capable people, and finding mentors and role models to look up to. Plus it takes learning how to really listen, and how to be really heard. And none […] Read more


The necessity of conflict

Leadership requires that you do not enter a conflict until invited

It is unavoidable. At many points in life there will be conflict. It is at these times we question the value of conflict and the emotional claim that it can make on us. Is conflict really necessary? Can it be a tool to drive us forward? Let’s start at the beginning. The degree to which […] Read more



Are you a good boss?

Of course you’re a good leader. You wouldn’t have got this far if you weren’t. But the next opportunities may only go to those with a whole new set of attitudes

Farmers today are being called to be leaders, not just managers,” says Bob Milligan, professor emeritus of applied economics and management at Cornell University. Minnesota-based Milligan is now semi-retired and consults with farmers about their human resources. He says leadership of a farm business today is much more than developing an annual strategy. Farmers today […] Read more


Young Farmer Carrying a Bale of Hay

Top HR issues for farmers

Concerns about employment standards and employee performance are driving more farmers into HR training

When human resources consultant Janice Goldsborough first gets a telephone call from a farmer, it’s usually with questions related to employment standards. “They might be asking about whether they have to pay overtime, the rules around statutory holidays, or is their farm even covered under employment standards; those are typically the kind of questions that […] Read more



Hiring refugees

A small non-profit in Belleville, Ont., has helped 90 Syrian refugees find good jobs on farms and in the ag and food sector. Now other regions across Canada are replicating their model

Shortly after coming to power in Ottawa, the federal Liberals announced Canada would help relocate displaced Syrians, and the program has proved widely popular. Across the country, over 350 communities have welcomed more than 40,000 Syrian refugees. In the midst of it all in 2015, details on how this relocation would be achieved were scarce. […] Read more


Young farmers in soybean fields before harvest

Pay your Millennials right

Too much? Too little? What’s the right compensation for the kids coming back to the farm?

Figuring how to compensate Millennials can be like driving through a snowstorm. You can’t see what’s ahead, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll hit the ditch. And yet you’ve got to get there. Country Guide caught up with New Brunswick farmer and consultant Cedric MacLeod as he was driving home through a snowstorm. At […] Read more



Step two

After you survive the startup, it takes a whole different set of skills to keep a value-add business growing

When Country Guide first spoke to sisters Natasha and Elysia Vandenhurk six years ago, their lives were hectic. But in that way, it was a story familiar to anyone running a startup. The Vandenhurk sisters were in the midst of creating a direction for Three Farmers, a food company producing camelina oil products from crops […] Read more


Farmer with cattle in barn

You’re the ‘leader’?

Even if you farm on your own, these CEO strategies will make your operation more successful, and more sustainable too

No one would really question whether any farmer serving on a commodity or other type of farm board might need some leadership skills. After all, that’s what those farmers are doing, right? They’re being farm leaders. The same goes too for any farmer who manages a large operation with multiple employees. Obviously, if they’ve got […] Read more