GFM Network News


Are you willing to give up the comfortable anonymity of commodity sales? If yes, and if you do it well, the market may have room for you. But pay close attention to those costs.

Beyond commodity agriculture: Business decisions for your farm

AME Management: Whatever approach you take, the aim should be to improve your bottom line

When commodity prices are on their way to finding a bottom, many producers look to change their business model away from commodity crop and livestock production. While this is not a new phenomenon, it is becoming a more important strategy as the traditional commodity strategy — i.e. to increase scale — becomes harder to execute. […] Read more

Chad and Erika Maarhuis operate Magnum Meats in Rock Creek, British Columbia.

A cut ahead

With farm support, here’s how this young couple beat the odds to open a successful short-line abattoir

If chat starts to lag at a get-together with strangers, Chad and Erika Maarhuis know just how to get a conversation started: they casually mention their day jobs. First, there’s a few seconds of silence. Then the questions start. “Really?” (Yup). “Isn’t that gross?” (Nope). “What’s it like?” (It’s a job, but one we care […] Read more


Last year, Statistics Canada revealed Canadian farm debt exceeds a record $100 billion dollars.

Borrowing our way to prosperity

Is it healthy for Canada’s farmers to have more debt than 130 of the world’s national governments?

Farmers and the ag industry love to set records. They drool over variety yields, bushels per acre, acres per hour, rates of gain, and any other metric that might portray them as more productive, efficient or simply better than their competitors. Yet barely a word was mentioned last spring when Statistics Canada revealed Canadian farm […] Read more

“You’ve got to constantly find ways of making money without raising your prices,” Ezio Bondi says.

The distributor’s business

Bondi Produce in Toronto trucks farm produce inside one of Canada’s most diverse food markets, and sees more opportunities for farmers every day

“We’re selling commodities, which is the exciting part of it. And we’re selling a perishable product, which adds this real pressure,” Ezio Bondi tells me as we walk about his distribution centre here in Toronto. It’s some warehouse. The business started in 1976 with one man — Ezio’s grandfather — and his pickup truck. Some […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Our greatest risk

The defining events of 2018 may have been the things that didn’t happen, like ripping up NAFTA or pulling the plug on ethanol supports. That’s not how it’s going to be in 2019

Our January 2019 issue of Country Guide, like our issues all through 2018, is full of good news. Has there ever been a time when farmers have felt so capable of withstanding weather and marketplace shocks that would have had them spinning in other decades? And has there ever been a time when farmers have […] Read more

Learning how to pick the best mushroom at the best time is helping get these robots ready for your farm.

Artificial intelligence

… the brave new world of how you’ll farm, and eat

It used to be that artificial intelligence was limited to the realms of science fiction and movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Terminator’s Skynet. Today, artificial intelligence is real — think Alexa or Google Home — and tools and applications putting it to use are emerging at a rapid clip in many fields, including […] Read more


A lack of communication can be a serious barrier in how to transition farms from one generation to the next.

Continuous communication

There are three simple steps to establish a family business code of conduct

There is a change in how families communicate today. I see the evidence in my daily work. You probably see it around the farm tables, in the barn, or with your accountant. Different discussions are happening now. Discussions are being driven by different players — sons-in-law, spouses, children — people coming into a farm family […] Read more

Selling land and inventory as soon as possible is not the best financial approach when winding down a farm business.

When the time comes to downsize

To paraphrase Canadian country singer Corb Lund, perhaps you have decided that everything is NOT better with cows around

Maybe it is time to consider gracefully exiting your farm business. There could be multiple reasons for the decision: just one too many tough harvests; an terrible spring for calving out cows like the one Alberta and Saskatchewan saw in 2018; children who genuinely have no desire to carry on the farm business; or perhaps, […] Read more


As stress levels spiral out of control and the rational front cortex of the brain shuts down, it’s more difficult to think and act rationally.

How to argue, intelligently

It's the Old Brain vs. the New Brain

In an increasingly polarized world, arguing seems to be a favourite pastime. Trolls (those delightful online creatures who start quarrels and sow discord for fun) treat the internet like a no-holds-barred Wild West. Others get lost in detailed rants and forget to listen — or forget what they were arguing about in the first place. […] Read more

Lozova plans to first introduce itself to Canadian farmers with its Ducat disc harrow.

Building their Canadian base

While the rest of us had our eyes turned south, Ukrainian manufacturer Losova used CUFTA to set up shop in Canada

If we’ve heard about NAFTA and USMCA once during the past 12 months, we’ve heard about them a million times, and for good reason. As the U.S. president’s rhetoric around the renegotiations heated up, the risk to established supply chains in virtually every manufacturing sector kept business executives up at night. Now, with a new […] Read more