GFM Network News


The Farmer’s Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business

The Farmer’s Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business

Guide Books Review: In an agriculture where the new mantra is “work smarter, not harder,” Shanks offers an approach that, with discipline, can make success more achievable

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Farmer’s Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business By Julia Shanks New Society Publishers / 288 pages / $24.95 Launching, growing, pivoting and stabilizing your farm business all share one essential ingredient: a solid financial road map. Understanding what makes you money (and conversely, what does not) helps you […] Read more

“Pass up the thrills, bells and whistles,” Koch advises. “When something has become complex, simplify it.”

The 80/20 Principle. The Secret to Achieving More with Less

Guide Books Review: The 80/20 Principle. The Secret to Achieving More with Less, by Richard Koch

Reading Time: 3 minutes The 80/20 Principle. The Secret to Achieving More with Less By Richard Koch Crown Publishing / 336 pages / $21 If it feels like you spend an inordinate amount of time working for an unequal amount of reward or output, you’re not crazy. It’s the 80/20 Principle at play. Also known as the Pareto Law, […] Read more


Defibrillator for your brain

Defibrillator for your brain

Guide Books Review: Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath

Reading Time: 3 minutes Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen Dan Heath Simon & Schuster / 320 pages / $30 Most of us feel that the way we make decisions is the only natural way to do it. There isn’t a better way. If there was a better way, we’d already be doing it. Or would […] Read more

Three Lean books to read in 2021

Three Lean books to read in 2021

Guide Books Review: How about a holistic approach to management?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Lean in Agriculture: Create More Value with Less Work on the Farm By Vibeke Fladkjaer Nielsen and Susanne Pejstrup The Lean Dairy Farm: Eliminate Waste, Save Time, Cut Costs By Jana Hocken with Mat Hocken The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work By Ben Hartman […] Read more


“Conflict and differing perspectives… should become a competitive asset — and an engine for rapid learning and innovation.”

How to Discuss What Matters Most

Guide Books Review: 'Difficult Conversations' by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

Reading Time: 3 minutes Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen Penguin Books / 249 pages / $23.75 I cannot say too much about what a revelation this book was and how critical it is in both a personal and professional setting. If I had known in the past what I […] Read more

This book actually does deliver on its promise to help us think more concretely and develop better solutions.

A defibrillator for your brain

Guide Books Review: Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Reading Time: 3 minutes Running a farm business, trying to make a profit, and balancing work and family is (brace for the understatement) hard. We all know the pattern. Too often, we think big, become overwhelmed, and then let some of our achievable ideas, not to mention our innovative dreams, wilt and die like neglected potted plants. We try […] Read more


Harvard biz prof John Kotter predicts big wins for farmers who see it’s vital to get better at managing change.

How might penguins offer farm advice? Read on

Guide Books Review: Our Iceberg Is Melting. Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Reading Time: 3 minutes What is more urgent than a melting iceberg? Not much, say scientists. No matter where we live or what work we do, all of us have got to expect a devastating series of cataclysmic ripple effects as long as the world’s ice continues to melt. But the penguins have a plan. At least, the penguins […] Read more

Meaningful change rarely happens overnight, but there are techniques you can employ to help ensure that the changes you make are the right ones for your farm.

Why you should go slow to go fast

Next Steps: Meaningful change rarely happens overnight, but the Kaizen and “5-Why” techniques can help ensure that the changes we do make are the right ones for our farms

Reading Time: 6 minutes Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” In short, if you want to do a job right and do it well, you first need to spend adequate time preparing yourself, the tools and the process. How does this translate […] Read more


Business partnerships can sometimes be tricky but they're essential to building a business.

Building healthy business partnerships

Next Steps: Smart thinking about farm partnerships, and whether you’re getting as much out of yours as you can

Reading Time: 7 minutes The first four columns in this series explored planning for and managing growth, assessing and mitigating risk, and how to keep an eye on cash flow so you can bankroll your growth projects. In this column we’ll look at partnerships, specifically the underlying dynamics of what constitutes a healthy one. Business partnerships can be tricky […] Read more

Analyzing your farm’s cash flow

Analyzing your farm’s cash flow

Next Steps: Ready to tweak your farm performance? These cash-flow strategies may be the ticket you’ve been looking for

Reading Time: 7 minutes The last three of our Next Steps columns (see the ‘Related Articles’ links further down) covered the why, the when, and the what for ratcheting your farm business up a notch or two. The next logical topic to explore is the “how” of making your plans a reality, i.e. cash flow. I’m not going to […] Read more