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Editor’s Note: Into 2021 with a change of plan

Tom Button

In the century-plus that Country Guide has been publishing, there have been few times with as much change in the air for Canada’s farms as there is heading into this January.

If this were any other industry, it would be the stuff of headlines.

It isn’t just that change is afoot on Canada’s farms, it’s that it is being driven with such vigour and with such boldness.

To use the slang, since it’s really the only way I can come close to conveying what we’re all seeing, I’m just blown away.

Keep this idea of change in mind as your read through our December issue of Country Guide. Then flip through some back issues, and just imagine some of the stories we’ll be bringing you through the winter.

Farming has always been a proud industry, but the times we’re living in are incredible.

Associate editor Lorraine Stephenson and I mapped out her story “Opportunities on Your Mind” earlier in the fall. We put so much effort into reporting on the changes already underway in agriculture, we said, why don’t we try to capture what we’re missing: changes with the potential to shape Canada’s farm sector for years to come.

Everybody would do the story differently, of course, but we decided the best way would be to go to a group of farmers and ask, “What are the big opportunities that agriculture is missing?”

You’ll see the answers we got in Lorraine’s story, but the point I wanted to make is this. We do know that no single story can do full justice to such a story, but sometimes just asking the question is all the justification we need.

In other words, one of the reasons we do such a story is that we hope you’ll read the piece and then say, “Well, that’s fine as far as it goes, but didn’t they ever think of…?”

Spend some time on it. What would you have said to Lorraine if she had called you? (By the way, no, we don’t just call farmers and ask such questions out of the blue. We contact them by phone or email, let them know the question and give them some days to ruminate over it before we’re back in touch.)

I always put my email address at the bottom of these columns, so when you’ve done your thinking, do shoot me a note. Let me know your own views. What opportunities is agriculture missing?

One of the reasons I enjoy this job is the quality of the farm readership. They get it. They know that when Anne Lazurko writes a story about Darren and Carmen Sterling and the winding up of their incorporated farm in “Selling the corporate farm“, we keep it in our minds that there will be lots of readers saying to themselves, “Now that I understand what it looks like from the retiring farmer’s perspective, how do I structure an offer that puts me on the inside track?”

Similar thinking goes on with all our stories, especially, as I say, when change is underway in every aspect of today’s agriculture.

It isn’t because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It isn’t because of the price of any crop. It’s because of the spirit in Canada’s farmers, and it’s amazing.

Are we getting it right? Let me know at [email protected].

About the author


Tom Button

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.



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