Latest articles

Using futures and options in uncertain times

AME Management: Every year has its unique events, but with this strategy, farmers can provide profit opportunities that an “ordinary” year simply wouldn’t make available

Already, 2017 has been a year of uncertainty due both to unpredictable weather and political patterns. (We won’t speculate on which is the less predictable!) Uncertainty breeds large amounts of price volatility. Many farmers argue that using futures and options is too hard and carries the risk of cash-flow drains. They prefer to use the […] Read more

Setting the right price for the grocery shelf

Canada’s grocery stores are eager for more producers to fill their shelves with great straight-from-the-farm products. To win, though, you’ve got to price them right

From the outside, it looks likes a huge opportunity just waiting for you to grab hold of it. And maybe it really is. We’ve all been there. You already have an idea of what it costs to grow your crops and raise your livestock, and one day when you’re pushing your cart down the aisle […] Read more

Canadian wine industry in southern Ontario.

To play in the big leagues

Investors with deep pockets are asking, “Why aren’t Canada’s ag entrepreneurs taking the world by storm?” Now they think they’ve figured out how to join in making it happen

From his desk in San Diego, former farm manager turned corporate investor Arama Kukutai has been pitched 822 times in the last year by farmers, ag scientists and entrepreneurs, all of them wanting to use his money to grow their brainwaves into the next Apples and Amazons of the world’s $3 trillion ag market. Almost […] Read more

After the CWB

Whether you farm in the West or East, looking at how Prairie farmers are managing their sales after five years on their own will make you a better marketer

Maybe you mourned its demise, or maybe you danced on its grave. Either way, five years after the federal government put the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk six feet under, it’s clear there will be no resurrection. How have farmers adapted to marketing wheat without the single desk? Where are they excelling, and where not? […] Read more

Selling farm-direct to consumers

Small, direct-market farmers are building better business cases for their farms. But will business smarts be enough?

Allison Fenske pulls a reluctant grey cat off her dining room table to make room for her jars of homemade pea-shoot pesto, pickled beets and spicy slices of jicama turnip. She points to the turnips. “Jonathan says he always tells people you can eat them the way you’d eat an apple, and I was like, […] Read more

Is direct-farm marketing an opportunity for larger farms?

The growing gap between consumer demand and the ability of the farm business community to meet that demand presents a dangerous vacuum for small farmers, believes Charlie Touchette, executive director of the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association. It could, he says, become a vacuum that gets filled by corporate entities rather than local producers. […] Read more

Orchard’s business success inspired by Disney

Andrew and Jennifer Lovell turned this small U-pick into a thriving farm market and entertainment destination, using the magic of Disney’s marketing psychology

Although neither of them had been raised on a farm, Andrew and Jennifer Lovell bought the shares of a farm corporation four years ago. The farm was a small orchard near Keswick Ridge, a half-hour west of Fredericton, N.B., and when they took over, it was only 37 acres of apple trees, a quarter acre […] Read more

grain elevator

It’s buyer’s choice when it comes to your grain

Getting and keeping your farm on your elevator's 'first-call' list is harder than ever

With the competition heating up among farmers trying to sell their grain, and also among the elevators trying to buy it, relationship building between buyers and sellers has never been more important to business success for grain and oilseed producers. It’s why dropping in to say a friendly hello every few months is no longer […] Read more

The next big step?

As their opportunities get bigger and better, more farmers are likely to hire marketing agencies

Among my questions was the natural one for a skeptic to ask. “How are you going to convince farmers to take on an agency and pay all those fees?” Seated across from me in a Guelph restaurant called Borealis — a thriving, trendy, happening sort of place that describes itself as “obsessively local” — agency […] Read more

Active marketing on the farm

On these farms, marketing is no longer a matter of waiting for the right price

No matter how closely they watch the skies, farmers can’t control the weather. Nor do they have any influence over the amount of volatility in their markets. But pricing? Well that, says Irmi Critcher, is one aspect of farming that producers can exercise some control over, and that she works hard at. “You can put […] Read more