Latest articles


Hand going through the field

Small SWOT, big ideas

Summer Business: This exercise to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can be a best next step for smaller farms

Over the last four years Ontario organic farmer and consultant David Cohlmeyer has completed over 20 business plans for smaller and medium-sized farms. But before doing a business plan, with updated budget, balance sheets, marketing plans and cash flow statements, Cohlmeyer works with the clients to do a SWOT analysis. “It’s a tool, a good […] Read more


Farmer Types on tablet computer with combine harvester in the background

Build a learning farm

This summer, start your lifelong educational strategy

Farmers always have their hands full, so it’s not always easy to think that signing up for a seminar, conference or training course is a wise investment or a good use of time. The business case, however, is pretty clearly in favour of doing just that. “If you look at it purely from an economist’s […] Read more




Agricultural expert inspecting quality of ripe corn

The inclusive, prosperous farm

Looking to boost your farm’s numbers? Bring a diverse work force to the job, and set them up to perform at their best

As farm businesses grow and become more complex, farmers are recognizing the importance of harnessing the full potential of the farm’s human resources. This means creating an inclusive workplace where both male and female members of the team can thrive and help the farm business meet its goals. A diverse workforce, it turns out, will […] 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



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


Job descriptions: The right HR tool for our farms

“Self-efficacy” is a concept worth learning for farmers who want to manage their way to better farm productivity

“It’s different than self-esteem,” says Sara Mann, of the University of Guelph. “Self-esteem is your overall belief in yourself. Self-efficacy is task specific… it’s the belief that you can actually do your job.” Self-efficacy is an idea whose time is right, says Mann, who has trained over 120 farm owners and supervisors on how to […] Read more



Portrait of a female farmer

Your next employee

The solution to your labour shortage may be just waiting for you to give her a chance

There’s a labour shortage on Canadian grain farms. And if industry predictions are correct, it’s only going to get worse… a lot worse. Following a three-year study, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) reported in 2016 that several factors will combine to create a growing shortage of domestic labour for farms. With an anticipated […] Read more


Building a capital plan

The 10-year capital acquisition plan they’ve created for their farm gives the Semeniuks a decision-making boost, plus more resilience

In early October, Robert and Angela Semeniuk woke to deep snow blanketing their picturesque farm at Smoky Lake, north of Edmonton. Their hearts sank. Silence had descended on a scene that was supposed to be humming with harvest, leaving more than half of their canola in the field. But on that cold, grey fall morning, […] Read more