Latest articles


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: They’re wrong about our farmers

Today’s agriculture is proof that farmers are a resource you can grow a country on. So why would you want to stymie them?

I rarely talk politics in this space, and I like it that way. But as we put this issue together, I find I’m trying read the facial gestures of federal cabinet ministers, I’m scrutinizing their word choices, and I’m asking everyone I know what they’re hearing in the back corridors. It isn’t exactly how you’d […] Read more


Canadian wine industry in southern Ontario.

To play in the big leagues

Investors with deep pockets are asking, “Why aren’t Canada’s ag entrepreneurs taking the world by storm?” Now they think they’ve figured out how to join in making it happen

From his desk in San Diego, former farm manager turned corporate investor Arama Kukutai has been pitched 822 times in the last year by farmers, ag scientists and entrepreneurs, all of them wanting to use his money to grow their brainwaves into the next Apples and Amazons of the world’s $3 trillion ag market. Almost […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Even in the East, it’s good the West won

Five years after Ottawa put the last spike in the Canadian Wheat Board, farmers are showing they’re more than sharp enough to do their own marketing

Of course the optics might have been much different. If commodity prices had sunk far below the average cost of production, the West’s cartoonists would have had a field day calling for Ottawa to throw a life ring to farmers who had lost their pool. Even so, as Country Guide field editor Lisa Guenther reports […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Get in with the right questions

If you want to know who is going to be farming five years from now, then taking a look at who is in the aisles at Ag in Motion and at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is a good place to start

Business schools teach a useful rule. Whether you’re CEO of Ford or if you run a Mom and Pop restaurant, they say, you should spend 80 per cent of your time working on the nuts and bolts of how you make the right quality product at the right price. That seems about right for the […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: They aren’t even close to knowing

Yes, there are lots of fascinating and even important numbers in the 2016 ag census, but it’s the professionalization of farming that is really driving its evolution

Let me start with a complaint, just because the scene I’m going to describe is so fresh in my mind and it was so galling. I was in a meeting and the people I was meeting weren’t neophytes. They know something about agriculture, or at least they say they do. In fact, they’re already making […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Why we believe in summer business

On your neighbours’ farms, 2017 is emerging as the most important year of the decade for making — or not making — key farm decisions

Farmers make decisions every day, of course, but with time it often seems that every year has its one big decision that really influences the next five years for that farm, and sometimes much more. If that’s true, what will shake out as your biggest decision this year? Or maybe you will look back and […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Reading about you at the airport

Masses of business books get sold at airports, complete with cover photos of business execs, Harvard profs, and HR consultants, but never a farmer. Maybe that should change

I’ve mentioned once or twice in past that I’ve toyed with the idea of Country Guide publishing a series of business books based on the strategic insights we glean from the farmers in our stories. And just to be clear… I don’t mean books for farmers to read. I mean books that would be of […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Something changed exactly a decade ago

It was 10 years ago this month that a small group of us met in Winnipeg to start talking about how we would transform Country Guide into a business journal for farmers.

Or, more accurately, it was 10 years ago this month that we got serious about whether it might make sense to even try such a thing. The answer wasn’t at all obvious. When we got asked, “Will anyone read you?” (which, naturally, was the question that had to be asked) we couldn’t really say anything […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: The other side of the success story

At Country Guide, we do get criticized for seeming to print only stories about successes, not failures, but we don’t get as much flak as you might think… and we all know the reason why

You can see it again in the lineup of stories we bring you in our March 1 issue of Country Guide. For the next generation of Canada’s farmers, “average” won’t cut it. Our future farmers must run farms that score an A if not an A+ in every category… or they will face tall odds against […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: How many farmers do we really need?

Probably we don’t ‘need’ nearly as many farmers as we have today, but only if you ignore the way that farmers’ business skills are transforming the world of agriculture

There are some three million truck drivers in the U.S. today, and another 200,000 in Canada. Except, their jobs depend on their employers not using the self-driving technology that is already in use on farms all across North America. While we’re all fixated on all the disruptions that Donald Trump is creating, most of us […] Read more