Latest articles

tractor at a farm show

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

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

Farmer Leaning on a Gate in a Paddock

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 […] Read more

financial paperwork

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 […] Read more

Bags Of Money On A Farm Field

How financially healthy is your farm?

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

Three articles in this space over the last year (see links further down) focused on the management information to be obtained from standardized farm accounting statements. This month, we illustrate it here with two farm examples, concentrating on the operating (profit and loss) statement. The organization of our operating statements is based on three principles: […] Read more

Herd of Holstein Friesian cows

What will the TPP mean for your farm?

AME Management: Overall, Canadian farmers get increased market access from TPP, plus better dispute settlement

The October 2015 Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is a substantial trade treaty for its 12 members, and like other trade treaties, it will introduce concessions on market access, such as tariff reductions and increased import quotas, as discussed below. But there is also considerable focus on food safety regulations as well as on biotechnology […] Read more

Use financial ratios to diagnose operational issues

AME Management: Different farms have different factors affecting their performance

The profit and loss statement provides three financial ratios that can help identify operational issues and set priorities in your operations plan. The ratios and their benchmarks are: The first and third columns define revenue/earnings and cost categories deducted from them on a standardized operating statement. The second and fourth are the resulting operating and […] Read more

Clear rules for using futures options

AME Management: Define your objectives for commodities pricing

Many farmers say hedging is too expensive. However, there is an approach that can provide both relatively cheap price insurance plus an opportunity to enhance revenue. It’s also an approach that creates an opportunity to separate and take advantage of market movement both on commodities and on currency. Options Buying a futures option is insurance: […] Read more

Assessing risk in the farm business

AME Management: Develop a heat chart to see how your business can be impacted by adversity

The process of assessing risk in a farm business is no different than in any other business. In agriculture, however, the types of risks in agriculture can be unique. How an individual views risk, how much they want to accept and how they manage it varies from person to person. Even so, there is a […] Read more