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Tom Button

Editor’s Note: The next step on this road

“Team” is a word we rarely print in Country Guide, but that’s about to change. The reason is simple. Teamwork is becoming so central in farming, it’s worth getting past our hesitations

I’ve been thinking a lot about teams lately. Not sports teams, but the kind of teams we use to keep Country Guide in the black, and the teams you’re using more often in farming, whether you call them that or not. I increasingly think there’s no greater proof of how rapidly the Canadian farm is […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: ‘Skills revolution’ picks up pace

More than ever, the core asset on any farm is the decision maker in the middle, and how they harness the incredible array of technologies and talents around them into a cohesive whole

We’ve all grown up with the idea that agriculture progresses by step changes, and that these step changes are identified by the technologies that have driven them. Think of the breakthroughs in farm machinery and how they have made it possible to harvest more acres of higher-quality crops per person than could ever have been […] Read more



Success story

A new survey shows our farmers actually are finding ways to transition their farms to the next generation

There’s encouraging news from a fresh survey of multi-generational farms in Canada and the U.S. Amid all the debate that the 2016 ag census has generated about whether farmers are actually getting serious about Canada’s huge farm succession challenge, this survey shows that many farms are getting on with the job just fine, thanks. No […] Read more


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