Latest articles


Crowd research

Is this crowdfunded program a sign of the way farmers will have to go to get the research that governments are slow to pay for?

It was a cold, mid-April morning near Redvers in the south-east corner of a decidedly un-spring-like Saskatchewan, and the flat fields all around us were still blanketed in white. Between the snow and the clouds, you could hardly tell where the sky ended and the earth began. I had arranged to meet research manager Lana […] Read more


Is there a tipping point on intercropping?

Farmers’ current interest in intercropping has caught some off guard. On November 29, 2017, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture ran an intercropping workshop in Regina. Workshop organizers expected about 40 people. But 140 people showed up, including several from Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan. Sask Ag ran a second intercropping workshop in January, and another 200 […] Read more



Concept of making money agriculture

The funding crunch in agricultural research

Why are Lana Shaw and her colleagues having trouble securing funding for intercropping research? For one thing, funding is generally tight in public ag research. The South East Research Farm receives $75,000 a year for core operations, as do the other research sites in the Agri-ARM network. On top of that, surrounding municipalities have kicked […] Read more


Build a non-profit

Got an issue that somebody really needs to look at? Here’s how two farm entrepreneurs created Do More Ag, and learned important lessons along the way

Charities and other non-profits are such an everyday part of Canadian life, they can seem as imperceptible as water to a fish. Everything from local library boards to hospital foundations are run largely on non-profits, together with an increasing number of organizations that advance the cause of agriculture in every conceivable way. Establishing and running […] Read more



Young and farming

The ag census says young people are flocking back to the farm. Are they really?

There’s been a lot of chatter about the new farmers coming back to the sector. Across the country, enrolment numbers have ballooned at ag colleges. Even the 2016 Census of Agriculture showed a real, albeit small, increase. Saskatchewan is no exception. In 2016, the number of farm operators under the age of 35 hit 9.7 […] Read more


Step two

After you survive the startup, it takes a whole different set of skills to keep a value-add business growing

When Country Guide first spoke to sisters Natasha and Elysia Vandenhurk six years ago, their lives were hectic. But in that way, it was a story familiar to anyone running a startup. The Vandenhurk sisters were in the midst of creating a direction for Three Farmers, a food company producing camelina oil products from crops […] Read more



Farmer with cattle in barn

You’re the ‘leader’?

Even if you farm on your own, these CEO strategies will make your operation more successful, and more sustainable too

No one would really question whether any farmer serving on a commodity or other type of farm board might need some leadership skills. After all, that’s what those farmers are doing, right? They’re being farm leaders. The same goes too for any farmer who manages a large operation with multiple employees. Obviously, if they’ve got […] Read more


Raising your farm’s importance

Making your farm more valuable to your suppliers can move you a big step up the success ladder

In some ways, of course, farming is unique. In other ways, though, it’s got the same concerns as every other business, because like other business owners, farmers must deal with various other businesses all through the year. What can farmers do to improve those business relationships, or at the very least to prevent hiccups in […] Read more



Stormy rapeseed

Risk warning

Inside the campaign to get better risk management programs for Canada’s farmers

Ask Keith Currie where the biggest risk lies, and he’ll point to the sky. “We’re seeing much more severe weather systems, whether it’s cold snaps, dry snaps, wet snaps. The weather patterns are moving differently,” says Currie, who grows hay and sweet corn near Collingwood, Ont., where he is president of the Ontario Federation of […] Read more


A different school

For Vance Lester and Sue Echlin, getting a non-agricultural education proved a big help when they returned to the farm

Graduate degrees in ecology and international relations don’t seem the kind of education that would be likely to help on a Canadian farm. But that’s where we might be wrong. For Sue Echlin and Vance Lester, that kind of schooling has been instrumental in their launching a fruit-growing and winery business, and in keeping it […] Read more