Latest articles

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

Men watching sunset

Succession shocker

The percentage of farm families with a succession plan is going down. That’s right —DOWN! — even though those same families still see succession planning as crucial to success

The day I caught up with famed farm family coach, Elaine Froese, she had already had two conversations with families who cannot bring sibling partners to the table. Phrases like “avoidance of conflict,” “bullying” and “silence is a form of violence” tumble out of her. “Procrastination and conflict avoidance are the root of the issue […] Read more

Building a capital plan

The 10-year capital acquisition plan they’ve created for their farm gives the Semeniuks a decision-making boost, plus more resilience

In early October, Robert and Angela Semeniuk woke to deep snow blanketing their picturesque farm at Smoky Lake, north of Edmonton. Their hearts sank. Silence had descended on a scene that was supposed to be humming with harvest, leaving more than half of their canola in the field. But on that cold, grey fall morning, […] Read more

Living together, farming together

Common-law is the choice for more and more young farming couples

As Eric Walker tells me about his farm, there’s lots of talk about complex business structures and about his ambitious plans. And there’s lots of talk, too, about family, hope and love. “It’s been a constant whirlwind of expansion, a blur of building, and three babies… that’s on top of the three we already had,” […] Read more

Bounce back, don’t break

What makes some farms so resilient in tough economic times? Finally, this New Zealand research finds some answers

Australia and New Zealand have had their fair share of agricultural challenges. They’ve known fires, tsunamis and cyclones, to name a natural few, and they have suffered from the politics of export markets, not to mention supply-demand crashes in world prices for wool, beef and milk. And that’s without mentioning droughts which, according to Australia’s […] Read more

Resilience in the Midwest

Over his career as a professor at Virginia Tech University and as a farm economic guru, David Kohl has seen some epic farm failures. But he has also admired farmers who have survived and even thrived during tough times. With the recent drop in grain and oilseed prices, some midwestern farmers are once again treading […] Read more

Lead change, don’t just manage it

Book review: Leading Change by John P. Kotter

Leading Change John P. Kotter Harvard Business Review Press, 2012 Two decades ago, Harvard professor John Kotter revolutionized how we should think about change, and in the first edition of Leading Change, he laid out an eight-step process for how to transform a business. Although he mainly targets large organizations, Kotter’s thinking seems equally pertinent […] Read more

Cropped image of handsome businessman in casual wear using a laptop and examining documents while working in the office

What bankers want to see when you go to the bank

Getting these documents ready before you meet the bank rep may mean more available financing with better terms

Typically banks review their clients’ financial statements annually as part of a credit review process. The goal is to understand the client’s ability to service debt and how this may have changed over the past year. “We want to help you manage your cash flow,” says plain speaking Tara Conway, BMO vice-president of commercial banking […] Read more

Harvest Aerial View

A shadow on land prices

Purdue University survey offers a stark look at farmland values south of the border

This past fall, harvest stumbled to a finish. In parts of Ontario, combines chewed through spindly, drought-stricken corn on the same days that Prairie farmers drove their machines into swathes that had been buried in snow. It was enough to make those sporadic reports of feedlots shutting down, U.S. crop farms going bankrupt, and Midwest […] Read more

Young farmers talk about their future

We find out what these university students are thinking as they prepare to head home to the farm. They know their opportunities are great, but their challenges are humbling too

A gaggle in ball caps, T-shirts, jeans and flannel politely stumbled off the bus. They’re third-year students in the University of McGill’s farm management and technology program, and they were on a tour of Ontario farms. They stopped at mine to discuss business structure, succession and the future of agriculture. On closer look and listen, […] Read more