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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


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