Latest articles


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


Young farmers with new tractor

Intuition: When it’s the right time for change

A leader needs to be prepared to offer opportunities for the next generation

The best leaders today seem to have a keen sense of when to make changes. They know when to share an example of their own struggle and when to motivate the next generation. It’s their gut instinct — that feeling we all get during times of decision-making. It’s the best leaders who know when to […] 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


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



Making a leader

As farms get bigger and more complex, more farmers like Steve Koeckhoven are drawing leadership insights from other business sectors

When we think of strong leaders we often leap to examples like politicians, sport coaches and the CEOs of large corporations, so it’s little surprise that our ideas of leadership can be mixed in with the skills it takes to manage large groups of employees, or to chair meetings or grab the microphone like a […] Read more


Two couples walking by cornfield

Transition to better communication

How better succession planning can lead to better decision-making and less conflict

Too many times, farm succession planning starts with a series of useless, dead-end and sometimes volatile meetings. Someone erupts into tears, someone else mutters some nasty words in anger and frustration and all our hopes crash in flames. No wonder we are afraid of stirring up this toxic mess of emotions. We’re supposed to be […] Read more



Family portrait standing in front of a red barn on the farm.

Get more for your farm family

I have been the witness to several successful farm operations over the last number of years. I count myself lucky as someone who gets to see what innovation, smart business practice and communication can achieve on family farms. The majority of what I see doesn’t surprise me. And it frustrates me when people act surprised […] Read more


Smart stuff

Do parents really recognize the skills their children are bringing back from college and university, and how those skills can make the farm stronger?

Skip the smiley faces and the acronyms. In the new age of digital soft skills, agricultural schools are embracing the same modes of electronic communication as their students, albeit with a dose of finesse, professionalism and, at times, trepidation. “Don’t use emojis, they’re cute, but they’re not professional,” Mark Fournier of Alberta’s Olds College tells […] Read more



Who’s too old?

Farm families know that age diversity makes them stronger. But did you know that a spread of ages in your employees adds strength too?

Diversity in the workforce is a good thing, but diversity doesn’t mean just diversity of gender or ethnicity. It also means age diversity. Increasingly, older workers aren’t retiring gracefully to play golf and potter in the garden. Instead, they are making a conscious decision to change careers later in life, when the experience and skills […] Read more


Is agriculture ageist?

We tend to respect our elders more in agriculture,” says Tracy Biernacki-Dusza. Even so, ageism is one of the last and most common areas of bias

More than four in 10 Canadians feel that ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice, according to the Revera Report on Ageism: Independence and Choice as We Age, released in May 2016 by Revera Inc. and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research. This is more than double the number who rated racism or […] Read more