The right mentor

More young farmers could get a career-expanding lift from a great mentor. Could that be you?

As a lifelong farmer and accomplished entrepreneur, Alberta-based rancher and author Brenda Schoepp knows a thing or two about operating a thriving business. And it turns out she knows a thing or two about mentorship as well. As a mentor, what she understands is that success isn’t about giving young farmers the answers to their […] Read more


The halal market

In a more diverse Canada, many farmers are learning what halal actually means, and some are already finding ways to profit from its booming demand

Navigating the narrow aisles of his Winnipeg shop with the energy of a man half his age, Yusuf Abdulrehman pauses to point out bright spices, dark teas and pastel sweets that have travelled across the globe to reach his prairie outpost. “We don’t only sell halal meat, we have a variety of products coming from […] Read more



gummie bears

A sweet sweet story

How Canada's first large-scale importer and distributor of halal gummies was born

Growing up, Lindsay Contractor’s sweet tooth was finely tuned to the nuances of fluffy marshmallows and chewy gummies. But when she began practicing Islam in 2011, those sugary treats took a sour turn. “I grew up in a world full of lots of gummies and marshmallows, and I never thought twice about eating them, I […] Read more


Family meetings that work

It may seem risky to get the whole family together for a farm meeting. It’s also smart

Having guided farm families through some of their most challenging periods, Jolene Brown understands why regular meetings fall by the wayside in many businesses. “It’s because of the way the last one ended. Nothing got done, someone took over, somebody cried, people walked out, people had so much work to do and the meeting just […] Read more



Never too young to talk about farm succession

As the Ellis family is learning, there’s no such thing as too soon for starting the conversation about farm succession

Lincoln Ellis has just got his first taste of combining. “He thought it was pretty interesting for the first 10 minutes, and then he realized how small the combine cab was, and that was about it,” says his dad, Simon Ellis, with a chuckle. “So it was short-lived, but you know, small steps for now. […] Read more


Taking fertilizer beyond yield

Plant breeding is the ultimate solution but in the meantime, foliar fertilizer shows promise in reducing micronutrient deficiency

While many people are focused on the fight to end hunger, Ismail Cakmak is focused on the fight to end hidden hunger. “Hunger is a lack of food and that is related to food security,” Cakmak told participants during a special seminar at the University of Manitoba this summer. “But hidden hunger means lack of […] Read more



Selling farm-direct to consumers

Small, direct-market farmers are building better business cases for their farms. But will business smarts be enough?

Allison Fenske pulls a reluctant grey cat off her dining room table to make room for her jars of homemade pea-shoot pesto, pickled beets and spicy slices of jicama turnip. She points to the turnips. “Jonathan says he always tells people you can eat them the way you’d eat an apple, and I was like, […] Read more


Is direct-farm marketing an opportunity for larger farms?

The growing gap between consumer demand and the ability of the farm business community to meet that demand presents a dangerous vacuum for small farmers, believes Charlie Touchette, executive director of the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association. It could, he says, become a vacuum that gets filled by corporate entities rather than local producers. […] Read more



Cigi course highlights customer relations

Reliability of Canadian wheat is the theme of Cigi’s annual international program

They come from 16 different countries, but have one thing in common — Canadian wheat. Participants in the 49th annual International Grain Industry Program at the Canadian International Grains Institute, better known as Cigi, came to Canada to learn more about where the grain they buy comes from, how it is grown and how it […] Read more


Construction bosses

Does running a farm mean you’ll be good at starting your own housing subdivision too? Albert Boonstra and Sean Braun are finding out

It’s just after 3:30 in the afternoon when a lumbering orange school bus pulls into the yard at Braun Grain Farms, 20 or so kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. “The kids are pretty spoiled here,” says their mom Kristy Boonstra as they bound off the bus and into the shade of a treed lawn, complete with […] Read more