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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



Flood warning

Will Canada’s land market drown in a torrent of new listings as more farmers get to retirement age? The truth is… nobody knows

We’ve all heard the predictions. They say that with so many of our farmers reaching their 60s and 70s all at the same time, we’re soon going to see the biggest rush of land onto the market that this country has ever witnessed. Will it happen? Will the land market get flooded sometime in the […] Read more


After the CWB

Whether you farm in the West or East, looking at how Prairie farmers are managing their sales after five years on their own will make you a better marketer

Maybe you mourned its demise, or maybe you danced on its grave. Either way, five years after the federal government put the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk six feet under, it’s clear there will be no resurrection. How have farmers adapted to marketing wheat without the single desk? Where are they excelling, and where not? […] Read more



The census mystery on Canadian farms

29,000 mid-career farms have disappeared in just five years. What happened?

For the most part, the 2016 Census of Agriculture was as unsurprising as most farmers might have expected. We already knew that farms are getting larger, and that farmers are getting older. But the census did reveal something striking — a shocking reduction in the number of mid-career farmers between the ages of 35 and […] Read more


A lesson in farming

At Lakeland College, an innovative student-managed farm is turning out business-minded young farmers ready for the job ahead

Nearly 10 years ago, April Thomi faced the same dilemma as many high school students the world over. She was trying to decide where to go to college. April knew she wanted to farm. She had grown up on the Stanko family farm in southern Alberta, where her family had raised cattle and still grew […] Read more