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Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Six ingredients of an ideal farm successor

Several articles in our May/June issue of Country Guide examine what may be the toughest question of all. Does your farm’s next generation have what it’s going to take to succeed in 2050? Fortunately, science can help. I’ve suggested before in this space that as farms continue their likely evolution in asset value and in […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: The right way to end the winter

It wasn’t a phone call that I had expected to get. The caller wasn’t from what you’d call our target audience. But then, he had been good enough to call, and after all, he did have a point. The call actually came from a Home Hardware franchisee who had taken over a small-town store not […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: A better way to start the day

Of all the bright and memorable things you’ll find in our March 27, 2018 issue, the one I keep coming back to is the advice from Harvard prof Linda Hill in Maggie Van Camp’s, “Are you a good boss?” Her advice is simple. Let me lift it straight from the story: “She (Hill) suggests starting […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: One more question for mid-size farms

For almost a decade, mid-size farms have been the winners in Canadian agriculture, growing their equity without taking extravagant gambles. Can that continue?

I’ve just been rereading an editorial I wrote 10 years ago. Such things happen to all of us from time to time when we stumble across a note in a drawer or a friend we knew at the time. If nothing else, it teaches humility. The editorial had to do with the contradictory signals farmers […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Looking toward a tough decision

It’s natural to want the farm to stay in the family, just as it’s natural to want your children to have the same chances you have had. But is it realistic?

Of all the tough issues facing agriculture at this moment, perhaps the toughest is evaluating whether the next generation has the aptitudes and attitudes they’re going to need if they’re to make a success of their career in farming, and if they’re to be a reasonably safe bet as the guardians of critical family assets. […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Give immigrant workers a chance

While we shake our heads in disbelief at how the U.S. is so incompetent at immigration policy, we’re sitting on a missed opportunity of our own

Make time to read “The Job Ahead,” Country Guide field editor Shannon VanRaes’s examination of Canada’s shocking (at least, it should be shocking) farm labour nightmare. Her story is a cure for the superiority we’d like to feel when we look across our southern border. It should also be a spur to action. The numbers […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: If Harvey Weinstein was a farmer

It’s amazing how much we can be blind to, especially when we like to think that nothing ever gets past us

Really, the question isn’t whether there might be a Harvey Weinstein in Canadian agriculture, but how many of them there are likely to be. I’m not one to doubt the fundamental decency of farm society. In fact, I believe in it implicitly. Yes, farm society has had to evolve like other sectors have had to […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: 2018 – Is this the ‘year of destiny?’

As we head toward spring, there’s a growing ambitiousness among many Canadian farmers, and an edge to their certainty that it is crucial to make progress before the year is out

I’m an optimist. Are you? Let’s find out. Overall, our farm sector is healthier than it has been at any time in my memory. Nor do I see any precipices in our immediate future. There can always be bad news. But really, who actually thinks that interest rates are going to jump into double digits […] Read more



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