Latest articles


Growing professional

Across the country, young farmers like Holly White and Kent Sereda are building respect for a new generation of business skills

Newlyweds Holly White and Kent Sereda were already quite good at tackling what you might call their legal due diligence, updating their wills and preparing marital agreements. Then they realized they should go even further. This was the right time, they decided, to review the whole succession plan for the fourth-generation family farm that they […] 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



Getting ‘lean’ for farming

Small farms like Ben Hartman’s can be among the first to boost their numbers by adopting lean, but there are lessons for all

If they have heard about “lean” management, most business managers think of it in the context of lean manufacturing, a system pioneered by Japanese car maker Toyota in the 1970s. Now, however, more farmers are successfully applying lean principles to their farms, and they’re ending up with healthier balance sheets as a result. One of […] Read more


How lean farming is a little different in Europe

The European model of “lean” farming is a little different from the North American version, and although the primary focus is still eliminating waste, lean takes a more people-focused approach and shares similarities with the principles of holistic management. “The lean approach we take is more about management and people,” says Susanne Pejstrup, a Danish […] Read more



The first-born quandary

What if your eldest son isn’t actually the best choice to lead your family farm into the future?

For centuries, it worked for royalty. If you happen to be the first-born son, you were on the path to the throne, no questions asked. And it happened on the farm too. The eldest son was automatically in line to take the reins when Dad got old enough that he needed to step aside. Increasingly, […] Read more


The challenge of optimism

A look inside a modern Ontario hort operation finds a farm family wrestling with issues that may soon dominate the farm agenda coast to coast

Some days, farming is more fun than others. Although he’s driven by a belief in agriculture, and although he’s working hard to keep building their farm enterprise, Shawn Brenn, president of Brenn B Farms Ltd. at Waterdown, Ont., admits there are also days when the frustrations can make him wonder. Every farmer knows the feeling. […] 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


Taking the farm beyond the family

It takes smarts and determination to use your farm to help a new farmer get their start, but the rewards can be deeply satisfying

Four years ago, Tom and Margaret Towers were facing a dilemma that’s becoming increasingly common for farm couples as they move into what are politely called their senior years. The Towers knew they couldn’t continue to manage alone forever, and they also knew they wouldn’t want to leave the farm near Red Deer, which they’d […] Read more



Corn silage moves west

The prospect of more tons per acre and fewer worries about harvest weather is prompting some cattle producers to park the baler

High land prices and persistent problems with haying weather in Western Canada are prompting more cattle producers to consider corn silage. Acreage has increased steadily in for the past five years, especially in Alberta where producers seeded 110,000 acres of silage corn in 2016, up from 70,000 acres in 2012. “New genetics have made corn […] Read more


Meet in the boardroom

Change Makers: A two-pronged plan helped Stokes Seeds grow its business, despite strong personalities within the family

Wayne Gale never forgot something he heard at a seminar 20 years ago, just after he had made the decision to enter the family business and work with his father. “When there are only two people running a business,” the speaker said, “it’s an argument.” So what do you do when you have two smart, […] Read more