Latest articles


Numbers drive dynamic decision-making

Jeannette Mongeon and Michel Dignard use spreadsheets to guide everyday decisions and to analyze and embrace change. It’s good for the farm, and it also keeps peace in the family

This past spring, Michel Dignard carefully walked his saturated soybean fields, counting the thin, yellowing plants while some were still fully submerged in water. It was emotionally exhausting work, but at least Dignard and his wife Jeannette Mongeon knew what they would do next. They crunched the numbers. They added up the costs and yield […] Read more


Unrisky business

GARS goes private with a government program, and looks to win with farmers on both sides of the border

Whole-farm margin insurance has been available through Agristability since the Growing Forward programs were first launched. However, the program was plagued with complexity, its reputation fell, and five years ago it was trimmed significantly. Yet farm risk is on the way up with rising input costs, higher debt levels, and volaltile weather and prices. Now, […] Read more



Finding a way to say ‘Yes’

Saying ‘no’ to a multi-generation corporation has helped Richard and Nicole Brousseau find their own route toward succession, with a clear focus on family

The road to farm succession can have many twists and turns. And every farm is unique, so it can be easy to lose your way in all the options, or to fall into somebody else’s cookie-cutter solution. Yet being true to your own business and family needs should always come first, as the Brousseau family […] Read more


female farmer with tractor

Where are the farm women?

The research is incontrovertible. Diversity creates strength. So why aren’t we making greater strides at getting farm women involved?

I’m one of a dozen women sitting around a long boardroom table. The surroundings are completely unfamiliar and slightly intimidating. We politely watch a video and quietly chat with one another about our farms, succession, our families and, of course, the weather. The woman across from me taps tentatively on the little microphone that seems […] Read more



Wheat fields being harvested

Incorporation pushes farms into higher gear

With 30,000 incorporated farms on 50 million acres, farm incorporation is on the rise in Canada, and not just because of the tax savings. In fact, these other benefits can be even more valuable

Somewhere between loading trucks and getting ready for seeding on his family’s farm near Fort MacLeod, Alta., Stephen Vandervalk stops midway through our conversation, breathes deeply and tilts his head. “I can’t even imagine trying to operate without a corporation,” he says. “How could we compete to buy land at 35 to 45 per cent […] Read more


Small business corporations hit by new tax rules

Some major changes to how Canada Revenue Agency handles small business corporations are costing incorporated farms, especially those focused on expansion

Tax rules change. Some governments try to lower taxes, others claw back those tax wins. Currently, Ottawa seems to be gnawing away at what some see as the very foundation of this country’s economy, small business profits. Incorporated businesses may be losing some of the tax advantages they’ve had over sole proprietorships, but are still […] Read more



Hand going through the field

Small SWOT, big ideas

Summer Business: This exercise to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can be a best next step for smaller farms

Over the last four years Ontario organic farmer and consultant David Cohlmeyer has completed over 20 business plans for smaller and medium-sized farms. But before doing a business plan, with updated budget, balance sheets, marketing plans and cash flow statements, Cohlmeyer works with the clients to do a SWOT analysis. “It’s a tool, a good […] Read more




The role ahead for women in agriculture

Unless farm women get more power and a bigger share of the farm voice, Krysta Harden believes agriculture will fail its greatest tests, feeding the globe and reconnecting with consumers. Summer, she says, is a time for change

It begins with a little girl, her face splattered with freckles, ambling up a dirt lane on a Georgia farm where her ancestors first broke ground. On either side, rows and rows of peanuts defiantly poked through the sand to thrive under the southern sun. Inside the clapboard farmhouse at the end of the lane, […] Read more


angry girl holds up her hand to stop predator and end the cycle of abuse

Sexual harassment: Is your farm at risk?

The short answer is “yes,” but here’s how you can reduce your risks with a harassment policy that helps prevent unacceptable behaviours and their consequences

On the outside, everything seems wholesome and almost shiny. We run our family farms with respect and good will, focused on productivity and efficiency. In fact, as an industry, we’re so good at it, more farms are hiring non-family employees, and there’s increased gender and cultural diversity throughout the agricultural industry. That has got to […] Read more