GFM Network News


Deciding the culture you want for your business and then creating is a difficult process.

Creating the outward-looking business

AME management: Do you know the type of culture you want for your business?

Last month’s column addressed outward-looking versus inward-looking businesses. The idea sensitized me to watch other organizations (and to check myself!) to find evidence of one or the other. Often, the evidence is mixed. Three examples A hotel where we have hosted CTEAM for several years had the same three young guys providing support for the […] Read more

Businesses can avoid becoming hamstrung by finding out what customers want instead of focusing on selling what they have.

Outward-looking business

AME Management: It takes discipline, but an outward focus pays off in more business

Have you ever been disappointed that people who work for you don’t take initiative to do what you want done? You don’t feel comfortable getting away for a week because things won’t get done the way they are supposed to? You and the generation ahead of or behind you have ongoing tension that stands in […] Read more


Which risks should you take and which should you manage?

AME Management: Risk assessment

Canadian agriculture’s business environment seems even more uncertain than usual. Markets are more volatile than historically. President Trump seems bent on causing new uncertainties in, among other areas, international trade. As this is written, it is not completely certain that Canada will remain in NAFTA, or exactly what shape that agreement will take. Meanwhile, the […] Read more

Younger generations often don’t know where they stand regarding a farm transition and may feel reluctant to address the issue.

How do you know when the younger generation is ‘ready’?

AME Management: How succession can be successfully planned

A tough question for any family business is how to know when the next generation is equipped to take over management decisions. Like many other things, the answer is often lost in a range of factors, not least the attitudes of the individuals in the family. My experience is that many families have unresolved “stuff” […] Read more


Shiny, new equipment is great, but depending on your budget and where you are in the timeline of your operation, running what you own or leasing equipment may be a better option.

Is there a ‘best’ farm machinery strategy?

AME management: There is never a guarantee that, without the analysis, the right strategy can be forecast

Country Guide’s editor asked whether we see a trend in the machinery strategy of the farmers who take CTEAM, our management course. Behind this is the idea that their experiences may be of value to others. The reality is that many strategies exist, ranging from turning over the complement of equipment every year, to squeezing […] Read more

Using futures and options in uncertain times

AME Management: Every year has its unique events, but with this strategy, farmers can provide profit opportunities that an “ordinary” year simply wouldn’t make available

Already, 2017 has been a year of uncertainty due both to unpredictable weather and political patterns. (We won’t speculate on which is the less predictable!) Uncertainty breeds large amounts of price volatility. Many farmers argue that using futures and options is too hard and carries the risk of cash-flow drains. They prefer to use the […] Read more


Progress is best made not by trying to break bad habits, but rather by developing good habits.” — Larry Martin

From planning to implementation

AME Management: Get into these management habits. They will help you develop the strategic objectives that will drive your farm where you want it to go, and then help you achieve real progress toward them

In our past column, we reviewed the habits of successful agricultural managers. One habit is that successful managers don’t just do strategic and operational planning, they translate their plans into action — i.e. they have a process to implement the plan. Like most farmers, many CTEAM participants have had little experience or training in planning […] Read more

8 management practices of successful Canadian farmers

In our CTEAM program and other activities, we get to meet a range of Canadian farmers, and often we have the opportunity to assess their success both financially and personally, in terms of their ability to meet or exceed personal and family goals. Several characteristics of these successful people become obvious rather quickly. Not all[...]
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The value of learning

AME Management: Learning business management can contribute to self-esteem and confidence

Farmers sometimes wonder whether additional courses and learning are of great value after taking into account course fees, travel, sometimes hotels, and always valuable time away from your business. Peer pressure can add to the psychological cost if the destinations are at all interesting or exotic. Neighbours may think you are simply taking a tax-deductible[...]
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Financial analysis and planning

AME Management: These examples show how standardized financial statements can be a powerful source of insight into your operational management

Past columns in this space addressed aspects of strategic planning and financial management. Experience suggests that their close connection is not always recognized by managers. The intent of this column is to show how financial ratios can affect strategic direction and help focus on plans. The Planning Model We follow Harvard strategist, Michael Porter and[...]
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