Latest articles


The next big disruption in agriculture

Sometimes a shock to the system can be a very good thing

In the business world, there’s a term to describe an event that completely changes an existing industry or market. It’s called a disruptor, and it changes how we think, work, and do business. It can be argued that agriculture has gone through three major disruptions in the last century: the mechanization of farming; the arrival […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Why we believe in summer business

On your neighbours’ farms, 2017 is emerging as the most important year of the decade for making — or not making — key farm decisions

Farmers make decisions every day, of course, but with time it often seems that every year has its one big decision that really influences the next five years for that farm, and sometimes much more. If that’s true, what will shake out as your biggest decision this year? Or maybe you will look back and […] Read more



Let’s get real on solar energy

Despite the skeptics, these two farms prove that solar energy is likely to be the foundation of our commercial farms for generations to come

In the last issue of Country Guide I made a case for solar power. I tried to show that economics of solar power are improving and that it is becoming a viable source of electricity. More importantly, I pointed out that society is demanding a switch away from fossil fuels, and that countries around the world […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Reading about you at the airport

Masses of business books get sold at airports, complete with cover photos of business execs, Harvard profs, and HR consultants, but never a farmer. Maybe that should change

I’ve mentioned once or twice in past that I’ve toyed with the idea of Country Guide publishing a series of business books based on the strategic insights we glean from the farmers in our stories. And just to be clear… I don’t mean books for farmers to read. I mean books that would be of […] Read more



So history repeats itself

Consider for a moment what Canadian agriculture would look like today if farmers had never made the switch from horse power to tractor power. It isn’t such an absurd idea if you understand why farmers here actually resisted mechanization when it first appeared roughly a century ago. An interesting read is the text of the […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Something changed exactly a decade ago

It was 10 years ago this month that a small group of us met in Winnipeg to start talking about how we would transform Country Guide into a business journal for farmers.

Or, more accurately, it was 10 years ago this month that we got serious about whether it might make sense to even try such a thing. The answer wasn’t at all obvious. When we got asked, “Will anyone read you?” (which, naturally, was the question that had to be asked) we couldn’t really say anything […] Read more



Spraying machine working on the green field

Goodbye glyphosate?

A flood of cancer suits in the U.S. threatens to topple farmers’ most valuable herbicide

Last September I warned readers of a growing public backlash against glyphosate herbicide, and I wrote of the co-ordinated attack on glyphosate by Avaaz, an online activist community that is claiming credit for the refusal by European regulators to renew the licence for glyphosate, instead only granting an 18-month extension to the expiring licence. But […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: The other side of the success story

At Country Guide, we do get criticized for seeming to print only stories about successes, not failures, but we don’t get as much flak as you might think… and we all know the reason why

You can see it again in the lineup of stories we bring you in our March 1 issue of Country Guide. For the next generation of Canada’s farmers, “average” won’t cut it. Our future farmers must run farms that score an A if not an A+ in every category… or they will face tall odds against […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: How many farmers do we really need?

Probably we don’t ‘need’ nearly as many farmers as we have today, but only if you ignore the way that farmers’ business skills are transforming the world of agriculture

There are some three million truck drivers in the U.S. today, and another 200,000 in Canada. Except, their jobs depend on their employers not using the self-driving technology that is already in use on farms all across North America. While we’re all fixated on all the disruptions that Donald Trump is creating, most of us […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Been south yet?

Work-life balance isn’t just a matter of giving yourself and your family a treat. It’s a proven strategy to improve profitability, and to help generate more objective plans for your future

The two emails almost crashed into each other on their way into my in-box. The first was from columnist Gerald Pilger. “Check out my new ride,” Gerald said, and attached was a photo showing him about to climb onto a camel in North Africa. Gerald farms near Edmonton, but is an “expedition” type of traveller, […] Read more




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