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Tom Button

Editor’s Note: ‘Skills revolution’ picks up pace

More than ever, the core asset on any farm is the decision maker in the middle, and how they harness the incredible array of technologies and talents around them into a cohesive whole

We’ve all grown up with the idea that agriculture progresses by step changes, and that these step changes are identified by the technologies that have driven them. Think of the breakthroughs in farm machinery and how they have made it possible to harvest more acres of higher-quality crops per person than could ever have been […] Read more


farmer raising his arms with success

Opinion: No pedestal required

The more I learn about leadership, the more I see that the best opportunities for our farms start when we empower others

Social research professor Dr. Brené Brown reminds us that: “Connections are why we are here. It is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” In agriculture and agri-business we tend to connect on a very deep level, driven in part by shared values and interests. As a community, our congregating is visible in every […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: They’re wrong about our farmers

Today’s agriculture is proof that farmers are a resource you can grow a country on. So why would you want to stymie them?

I rarely talk politics in this space, and I like it that way. But as we put this issue together, I find I’m trying read the facial gestures of federal cabinet ministers, I’m scrutinizing their word choices, and I’m asking everyone I know what they’re hearing in the back corridors. It isn’t exactly how you’d […] Read more


young farmer touching ripe golden wheat in field

How big is your market?

We must get better at understanding that the world’s commodity buyers have a growing range of options

How big is your world? Geographically, this is an easy question to answer with great precision. The diameter of the Earth at the equator is 12,756 km. Its circumference is 40,030 km along the equator, and 40,008 km through the poles. Thus the surface area of our planet is roughly 510 million sq. km. It’s […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Even in the East, it’s good the West won

Five years after Ottawa put the last spike in the Canadian Wheat Board, farmers are showing they’re more than sharp enough to do their own marketing

Of course the optics might have been much different. If commodity prices had sunk far below the average cost of production, the West’s cartoonists would have had a field day calling for Ottawa to throw a life ring to farmers who had lost their pool. Even so, as Country Guide field editor Lisa Guenther reports […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Get in with the right questions

If you want to know who is going to be farming five years from now, then taking a look at who is in the aisles at Ag in Motion and at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is a good place to start

Business schools teach a useful rule. Whether you’re CEO of Ford or if you run a Mom and Pop restaurant, they say, you should spend 80 per cent of your time working on the nuts and bolts of how you make the right quality product at the right price. That seems about right for the […] Read more



Tractor spraying wheat field

‘Insurance’ spraying

A new study says most farmers can generate more profit by cutting back on crop protection. But wait… is it really that simple?

Today, we all recognize “recreational tillage” as a phrase we use to criticize farmers who haven’t been paying attention to how we’ve learned that we can put an end to a lot of excessive tillage, thereby reducing soil erosion, fuel and equipment costs, and manpower requirements. But now we need to ask: Is “recreational spraying” […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: They aren’t even close to knowing

Yes, there are lots of fascinating and even important numbers in the 2016 ag census, but it’s the professionalization of farming that is really driving its evolution

Let me start with a complaint, just because the scene I’m going to describe is so fresh in my mind and it was so galling. I was in a meeting and the people I was meeting weren’t neophytes. They know something about agriculture, or at least they say they do. In fact, they’re already making […] Read more



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




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