Latest articles


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


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



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 […] Read more


Young woman with laptop sitting on the bale on the field. Tractor in background

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 […] Read more



Are you a good boss?

Of course you’re a good leader. You wouldn’t have got this far if you weren’t. But the next opportunities may only go to those with a whole new set of attitudes

Farmers today are being called to be leaders, not just managers,” says Bob Milligan, professor emeritus of applied economics and management at Cornell University. Minnesota-based Milligan is now semi-retired and consults with farmers about their human resources. He says leadership of a farm business today is much more than developing an annual strategy. Farmers today […] Read more


Combine harvester cutting crops in barley field during harvest under dramatic cloudy sky

Compete and win

Your machinery strategy may be nothing less than the factor deciding how long you’ll be in the world of agricuture

It’s an impressive resumé, showing how Joerg Zimmermann’s work and his research, plus his strong entrepreneur/farmer streak, have taken him to most of the main grain-growing regions of the world, including in Canada. It’s a series of experiences that have given Zimmermann a unique perspective about what farming looks like in the world’s breadbaskets. And […] Read more



Governing the farm

On most farms, ‘governance’ sounds like the last thing you’d want to talk about if you hope to keep everyone happy. Steve Tomtene used to think so too, but is glad he changed his mind

Like many farms with added complementary enterprises like a trucking company or livestock barn or a seed business, Tomtene Seed Farm at Birch Hill, Sask., has developed systems to juggle all the moving parts. “Maintaining identification and producing seed products of quality merit takes a shift in thinking about the products, about production, about the […] Read more


Hiring refugees

A small non-profit in Belleville, Ont., has helped 90 Syrian refugees find good jobs on farms and in the ag and food sector. Now other regions across Canada are replicating their model

Shortly after coming to power in Ottawa, the federal Liberals announced Canada would help relocate displaced Syrians, and the program has proved widely popular. Across the country, over 350 communities have welcomed more than 40,000 Syrian refugees. In the midst of it all in 2015, details on how this relocation would be achieved were scarce. […] Read more



B2B strategic partnering

For the Martin farm in Ontario, building connections with other businesses is a winning formula

At nine years old Quentin Martin became one of five siblings who were shareholders of their family’s Master Breeder pedigreed Holstein farm, which his parents incorporated in 1965. “They gave all of us common shares,” says Martin,“which meant at nine years old I was sitting at the table with the feed salesman and the banker […] Read more


Young farmers in soybean fields before harvest

Pay your Millennials right

Too much? Too little? What’s the right compensation for the kids coming back to the farm?

Figuring how to compensate Millennials can be like driving through a snowstorm. You can’t see what’s ahead, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll hit the ditch. And yet you’ve got to get there. Country Guide caught up with New Brunswick farmer and consultant Cedric MacLeod as he was driving home through a snowstorm. At […] Read more