Latest articles


A shareholder plan for farm employees

With family and non-family ownership, Marie-Claude Mainville’s management of this Quebec farm may become a new Canadian pattern

Back in 1979, friends Jan Van Gennip and Orance Mainville decided to join forces to get into the feedlot business. Van Gennip had the farm, Mainville brought his knowledge of cattle and business, and together they formed Fermes Janor. Since then, Mainville (now semi-retired) has been joined by his daughter Marie-Claude, and many partners have […] Read more


Farm feedback

On this savvy farm, feedback is mined for real value, producing a happier, more efficient workforce

On the farm, we’ve heard the jokes about feedback being a load of barley that gets rejected at the elevator, or maybe it’s how a cow chews her cud. In bizspeak, though, feedback gets taken a lot more seriously than that. As a human resources strategy, feedback is gaining global attention because of the power […] Read more



Making a leader

As farms get bigger and more complex, more farmers like Steve Koeckhoven are drawing leadership insights from other business sectors

When we think of strong leaders we often leap to examples like politicians, sport coaches and the CEOs of large corporations, so it’s little surprise that our ideas of leadership can be mixed in with the skills it takes to manage large groups of employees, or to chair meetings or grab the microphone like a […] Read more


Two couples walking by cornfield

Transition to better communication

How better succession planning can lead to better decision-making and less conflict

Too many times, farm succession planning starts with a series of useless, dead-end and sometimes volatile meetings. Someone erupts into tears, someone else mutters some nasty words in anger and frustration and all our hopes crash in flames. No wonder we are afraid of stirring up this toxic mess of emotions. We’re supposed to be […] Read more



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