Latest articles

Preserve those family memories

Got a jumbled box of old photos you’ve been promising to organize ‘someday’? Daina Makinson shares her secrets for getting the job done, and enjoying it too

When faced with a loose box of old photos, we all feel at sea. The pictures might all be of our family over the generations, but how can we link all the individual photos into some sort of overall sequence, or fit them into some sort of order that helps us put each photo into […] Read more

Step one to value adding: Evaluation

You’ve got a great idea for a new product. Or maybe not

There are many reasons why farmers are drawn to value adding. You might have excess capacity in the field or the barn, for instance, or maybe if you milled grain into flour, you could retain good staff by providing year-round positions. Or maybe you’re wondering if an on-farm market could solve your problems by creating […] Read more

upset sad sad child girl in stress sits and cries at an empty dark wall

The grieving child

Even in the strongest farm families, we often try to shelter our children rather than help them address the loss of a parent, grandparent or family friend

When a child is facing the death of a loved one, our first instinct is often to try to shelter them. Unfortunately, following that instinct may do more harm than good. One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting too long to tell a child a loved one is dying, says Andrea Warnick, a […] Read more

Time to volunteer!!

There’s a critical need for farmers and farm families to give their time to protect and enhance the quality of rural life

Volunteers are the heart of a community. Despite their isolation and sparse populations — or maybe because of it — farm communities in particular have been held up for generations as models of neighbourliness, with families supporting each other in times of need. Now, neighbourliness may not be enough. Something more structured is needed, with […] Read more

Portrait of happy family members looking at cute girl by Thanksgiving table

The table and who’s around it

Even though you’re too busy to spend hours in the kitchen, you can still have a great Sunday meal

The concept of the Sunday Supper is an old one. The traditional day of church and of rest (although not always so much for women and farmers with livestock), Sundays were a day when cooks would take a little extra time to prepare a meal. And while today most days are go-go-go, especially on the […] Read more

Angry man standing with woman in background. Mature couple is having relationship difficulties, in brightly lit home.

The right apology

A thoughtful apology can rebuild trust. A poor one just makes matters worse

Although Canadians are known for saying “sorry” even when someone else bumps into us, this is more of a reflex and a nicety than a genuine apology. Unfortunately, when it comes to making real apologies, i.e. the ones that count when it comes to restoring the trust of those we’ve hurt or offended through our […] Read more

farmer raising his arms with success

Working (and learning) abroad

More young Canadians are looking to gain wider perspectives by working on farms in other countries

Ask almost anyone who has spent time abroad and they’ll tell you it was a life-changing experience. Inevitably, their faces will light up as they talk enthusiastically about how they gained confidence, developed friendships with people from around the world and emerged with a broader perspective. Not surprisingly, this was precisely the reaction I got […] Read more

farmer in a field

Farmers, take care of yourself

The truth is that farming is hard on your mental health. So take this advice, and protect yourself

When Stewart Skinner returned to the family farm near Listowel, Ont., after university, he was eager to put what he had learned into practice. Despite careful planning, however, adding a second sow herd in a rented barn did not go well. As hog prices fell and corn prices soared, the operation was losing money, and […] Read more

Get more from conferences

Here’s how to profit more from the time and money you invest in your own training

Long after you have returned from a conference, have you ever stumbled upon your notes, only to realize you never did anything with what you learned? Worse, have you even had to admit that now, because so many months have slipped by and you’ve forgotten so much, you can’t remember why it was that you […] Read more

Study abroad

More young people, including young farmers, are heading overseas to expand the skills they’ll bring back home

Of all the ways a person can prepare for a career, spending time far from the classroom and away from familiar surroundings may actually have the most impact. Lisa Blenkinsop, manager of the Studies Abroad program at the University of Guelph, hears this feedback over and over again from students who have spent time studying […] Read more