GFM Network News


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: A challenge we need to take on

Farmers believe in themselves. Looking at their progress in technology and management, they’ve got every reason to. It’s a great platform for tackling women’s and diversity issues

Reading Time: 2 minutes In my job, it can sometimes feel like every other story arrives on my desk with a “this is the biggest threat to agriculture ever,” or “this is biggest technology ever” kind of breathlessness. It’s easy to see how it happens. After all, any major change to the farm sector quickly rings up billions of […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Those predictions for mid-size farms

The question is no longer, can the mid-size farm survive? Instead, on the brink of the 2020s, it might be better to ask, does any other farm size have such a chance?

Reading Time: 2 minutes You’ll find remarkably few statistics in associate editor Lorraine Stevenson’s article on Canada’s mid-size farms in our January 2020 issue of Country Guide. Nor will you find that we’ve sought out every expert or every farmer with an opinion on the future of the mid-size farm. We wanted to keep the story as clear as […] Read more


“You’re going to be noticed,” says new FMC lead Darren Dillenbeck. “It better be for something good.”

Making a name in crop protection

Can FMC build a new company you’ll actually want to do business with?

Reading Time: 7 minutes The insiders at FMC have a plan for getting you to become a loyal customer of a company you’ve barely heard of in an industry dominated by huge names you can’t forget, like BASF, Bayer and Syngenta. Can FMC do it? The big test may be in your mailbox right now. As a company, FMC […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: How will farms grow in the 2020s?

On the lip of the 2020s, it’s a question that deserves more than casual thought. And it needs more than one perspective, for there will be more kinds of success than ever in history

Reading Time: 2 minutes April Stewart writes in our December 2019 issue of Country Guide to tell us the proof is in. The more technological and digital a farm gets, the more important its leadership and its soft skills become. To a degree, it’s no surprise. Technology does many things, and the technology of the 2020s will do more of […] Read more


There’s a “million-dollar farm question” in Canadian agriculture as farm parents look to transfer a financially viable farm business to the next generation.

Calculating a fairer, smarter farm inheritance: Part Two

Alberta farm advisor Merle Good shares an innovative and tax-smart plan to encourage all your children to be patient investors with a portion of your land

Reading Time: 6 minutes Tom Button: In our previous article, you mentioned a methodology that allows for pooled ownership of farmland between family members. Why is this an objective? Merle Good: In agriculture we need to ask our children, are they willing to be patient capital investors? What this means is, if non-farm children are going to receive family […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Finding the next great idea

So often in any business sector, the key is to make a solid decision where to invest your willpower and your self. Decide which way to go, we feel, and we’ll get there for sure

Reading Time: 2 minutes It’s a great idea for a winter day. Make a list of at least five and as many as 10 farms that you know reasonably well and that you think have charted a good course, and ask yourself (a) what are the core ideas that they had, and (b), where did those ideas come from. […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Before we get to 2020

Reading Time: 2 minutes We’re talking in our shop about 2020 and, of course, about 2030 too. Probably you’re talking about it in your shop as well. On the brink of any new decade, it’s unavoidable. But this time, the future looks different by a country mile. The reason why it looks different is amazing in its own right. […] Read more

There’s a “million-dollar farm question” in Canadian agriculture as farm parents look to transfer a financially viable farm business to the next generation.

Calculating a fairer, smarter farm inheritance: Part One

Can an estate plan be fair both to the family and to the farm business? Merle Good and Greg Gartner see a way forward

Reading Time: 6 minutes I’m supposed to ask the questions, but Merle Good, Alberta farm business advisor and nationally followed succession expert shoots a question my way before I get a chance. “Suppose you could open all the wills of today’s farmers,” he says. “How many are leaving land to off-farm children?” I expect the number is big — […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Did farms make the right choices?

We have all heard it before. It’s the saying that most bad decisions get made in good times. So, in the midst of the bull market a decade ago, we wondered what we’d be looking back on in 2020

Reading Time: 2 minutes Here is what I wrote in September 2008: “Somewhere in the land and in the barns that are being bought and sold, and in the equipment purchases, and in the new partnerships that are being formed and the old ones that are falling apart, there are the beginnings of trends that we’ll point to in […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: The breathtaking nerve of young farmers

Despite the tangle of current farm issues, nothing matters more in this fall’s federal election than how we encourage more young farmers to get find their feet

Reading Time: 2 minutes It was only a few years ago when, in every group of farmers, someone could be relied on to shake their heads and complain that the upcoming generation of Canada’s young farmers was marked by nothing so much as its sense of entitlement. Too many of us were too fast to see young farmers standing […] Read more