GFM Network News


When farmers deviate from their plan, it can often end badly, says one professor of agricultural economics.

Benchmark your marketing

How good are you at marketing? Or maybe more to the point, how bad are you?

Does it necessarily mean you’re poor at marketing if you aren’t actively engaged in daily trading? What if you have never done a paper trade, or if you haven’t ever locked in a private contract with a processer? Does that mean you’re a bad farmer? Obviously, the answer is no. It doesn’t have to mean […] Read more

It cost him his ’67 Cougar, and it wasn’t the only time he’d get burned, but Dennis Pashovitz feels his farm emerged stronger for the lesson.

Taking on the market

Options, futures or forward contracts? Two farmers search for sustainable income

Options, futures or forward contracts? Two farmers search for sustainable income Dennis Pashovitz calls it his ’67 Cougar moment. It was the late 1990s and the grain farmer at Arelee, an hour west of Saskatoon, needed cash to open a trading account. The only way to learn about marketing, he was convinced, was to play […] Read more


Parents at some point need to transition from shareholder to creditor,” says Merle Good. That’s a big step, because creditors don’t make the farm’s decisions.

Who controls the purse strings on your farm?

By the time the parents hit their mid-60s, financial decision-making should be in the hands of the next generation. Really!

Two decades ago, U.K. professor Andrew Errington identified three stages of farm transfer: succession, retirement and inheritance. He defined succession as the gradual handing over of managerial control. Retirement was the owner withdrawing from active participation in the business of the farm, and inheritance was how the assets were finally signed over to the successor. […] Read more

From left, the G.H. VanSickle & Sons farm team: Jake, Peter, Shawn and Josh.

Seamless transfers

This family farm corporation in Ontario has transferred four times since the ’60s and recently diversified with the purchase of a local grain elevator. Here’s how the VanSickles have done it, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way

Near the Grand River south of Brantford, Shawn VanSickle pulls under the shade of a big oak tree at the end of the field. He stops for a moment to reflect about how in 1966 his grandfather did something groundbreaking for the time — incorporated the family farm. Five decades later, G.H. VanSickle & Sons […] Read more


“We are turning a corner,” says UFA boss Carol Kitchen. “While we still have more work to do, the work that we have done is starting to pay off.”

Turnaround

UFA boss Carol Kitchen reveals how the co-op defied the odds and got back on the track to prosperity

Anyone could see it. Over the past decade, profits and patronage payments had become sporadic at United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd. (UFA). The organization that had been spawned in a moment of political fervour in 1909 had now become the home of empty shelves and poor customer service at the local level. At the […] Read more

Alec and Shelby Boekhoven farm with Alec’s parents near Appin in southwestern Ontario.

The next farm generation steps up

On this farm, transition planning made real gains once the younger generation learned how to take their role in the process

Alec Boekhoven had turned over at 2 a.m., fretting about ways to reduce feed costs on his family’s 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation. Eventually he drifted off on the couch, which is where his son Evan discovered him and woke him up early. It’s why Alec brought his three-year-old with him to do chores, and it also […] Read more


Seven rules of behaviour for family farm teams

When the next generation comes home, Elaine Froese says families can set up some rules of engagement right away so everyone knows and can operate within that culture. When new people join the team, it can help to clarify expectations. “Culture is the invisible glue that holds the farm and the family together. It is[...]
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Leadership on the go

What does it take for farmers like Saskatchewan’s Bernie McClean to make themselves into better business leaders?

Growing as a leader takes stretch goals, and it takes finding out about your weaknesses and strengths. It might also take consciously building a network of smart, capable people, and finding mentors and role models to look up to. Plus it takes learning how to really listen, and how to be really heard. And none[...]
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Seven summer financial bottlenecks

In biz-speak, a bottleneck is a point of congestion that causes delays or inefficiencies, leading to higher costs. It’s a perfect metaphor for farm finances at a time of year when the bottle we’d rather be thinking about might have something cold in it, with us sitting on a dock. Yet summer is a too-good-to-miss[...]
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At of the end of 2017, about 40 per cent of all agrologists employed in Saskatchewan were female.

Are agrologist salaries on the money?

Salary survey also examined if a gender pay gap exists in agriculture

This past winter the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists (SIA) released a salary survey that pegs the overall average salary of Sask­atchewan agrologists (not including bonus) at $84,629. For the first time in agriculture, though, this survey separated out pay by gender, and showed a gap of up to $20,000 in certain age categories. The numbers[...]
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