Latest articles


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


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Been south yet?

Work-life balance isn’t just a matter of giving yourself and your family a treat. It’s a proven strategy to improve profitability, and to help generate more objective plans for your future

The two emails almost crashed into each other on their way into my in-box. The first was from columnist Gerald Pilger. “Check out my new ride,” Gerald said, and attached was a photo showing him about to climb onto a camel in North Africa. Gerald farms near Edmonton, but is an “expedition” type of traveller, […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: Listen to the science of 2017

If the Brexit vote didn’t prove it, the Trump election did. Voters are losing faith in their governments, which is one more reason to worry about the regulations imposed on ag

The science of listening is almost beyond belief. Based at their Purchase, New York headquarters, 60 specially trained communication experts manage what is called the MasterCard Conversation Suite, backed up by a team of researchers, marketing specialists and lawyers. With software from Domo and Percolate among others, the MasterCard team monitors a 40-foot LED screen […] Read more


A new leadership

When DuPont Pioneer tapped Bryce Eger as their new Canadian head, here’s the leadership style they were putting their money behind. Can it work on the farm too?

When Bryce Eger says, “Nobody has a textbook for this,” farmers across the country get it. Where Eger goes next, though, may be worth a pause. As farms rapidly get bigger and more sophisticated, the difference between running a farm versus running an ag business fades. Some might say it even begins to disappear, and […] Read more



Tom Button

Editor’s Note: The competition

The challenges that lie ahead for our farms are real. Indeed, they’re more real than any but of a few us will admit. But so is the opportunity

I was asked some weeks ago to speak to a Purdue University ag business conference, where the focus was on trying to catch up with the rapidly evolving nature of today’s farms. An ag economics professor there named Mike Gunderson was early in the agenda, and clearly felt that all of us needed to be […] Read more


Tom Button

Editor’s Note: We’re making the connection

Finally we’re actually moving into an agriculture that knows exactly how to integrate business management for better, more profitable decisions in the field. I know that many of you have been following our series of financial management columns written by the faculty and teachers at AgriFood Management Excellence, the group that offers the advanced CTEAM […] Read more