GFM Network News


If you’ve had a really good boss, you’ll know why you liked working for them, and why you got more done than you ever did with a bad boss.

From good boss to great

Saskatchewan farm advisor and HR specialist Marianne Hawkins offers practical tips on making the transition

Reading Time: 5 minutes We’ve all heard the adage “people quit bosses, not jobs.” Maybe you have quit a boss yourself. If so, you’ll remember why. Perhaps they were always complaining, or maybe they played favourites, or they treated you as if they thought you were always trying to cheat them. Maybe, too, they would never admit their own […] Read more

Blockchain pilot project of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) and Grain Discovery, which involved soybeans bred at the University of Guelph, produced by Szentimrey Seeds, grown at Minten Farms, stored at Beechwood Agri Services, processed at Ying Ying Soy Food in Mississauga, and distributed by FreshSpoke to retail stores.

Real blockchain payoffs

Sure, a lot of what you hear about blockchain technology is hype. But there are also very real pathways to higher net returns

Reading Time: 10 minutes By now, we’ve all heard about the new kid on the ag tech block, known as blockchain. But we’re far from understanding what the use of blockchain is going to mean at the farm level. What benefits will it provide? Will its chain-of-custody and traceability for identity-preserved (IP) crops, including seed, keep Canada competitive? Is […] Read more


Discovering haskap

Is this the next superfood that will spawn a generation of new farm enterprises across the country?

Reading Time: 8 minutes At age 47, Don Northcott was casting about for new business opportunities. Some 20 years earlier, the Prince Edward Island native with a BSc in taxonomy had founded Phytocultures, a company specializing in plant tissue-culture technology for seed-potato production. His cutting-edge work earned him a worldwide reputation as a respected leader in potato-plant propagation. After […] Read more

With staff like Josiah Faji (left) and Josue Salgado, Sandy Purdy says the door is open for sustainable growth.

Diverse, and profitable

Saskatchewan’s Prairie Berries has figured out how a diverse and inclusive workplace can help it achieve growth targets that otherwise just couldn’t happen

Reading Time: 9 minutes There’s a story that gets told about what it’s like to work an agricultural job in Canada. In this case, though, the story isn’t told in English or French. Those telling it speak Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Arabic and other languages. They are among the thousands of newcomers in Canada as Temporary Foreign Workers on contracts, […] Read more


With a third of Canada’s agricultural workforce nearing retirement, the farm labour issue looms large and it will become a huge issue for farms in the 2020s.

The overseas employee

If we look to 2030, where will we find our farm employees?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Agriculture is already looking outside the agricultural community — and in some cases outside the country — to recruit workers. That’s only going to intensify if, as expected, rural populations stagnate or decline, and if farms consolidate and rely more on hired employees. It’s also worth noting that 112,000 of today’s employees (37 per cent […] Read more

With a young family, Steph Towers was told not to run for a board position. “We are shoved into a box by people who tell us we don’t have time.”

A question of equity

Ag corporations are making strides toward gender equity. What will it take on the farm?

Reading Time: 8 minutes In our November issue, Saskatchewan farmer Jean Harrington triggered terrific online response — and some pushback — with her blunt assessment that today’s young farm women aren’t doing enough to break down barriers for women in agriculture. So we want to know, what exactly would gender equity on the farm look like? “I actually understand […] Read more


Allowing an employee to decide how to complete a task is part of having autonomy.

Farm CEO: Develop leaders, not labourers

Allowing people to safely struggle is good. Let them know you are there for support, but they’re expected to figure it out and get it done

Reading Time: 3 minutes Part of having an executive mindset on the farm is developing others. Developing others might seem like a basic function of management, which it is, but I want to emphasize that I’m not just talking about teaching basic farm skills but actually developing people’s judgment and ability to make good decisions independently — to effectively […] Read more

“If you have a purpose and are driven to fulfill that purpose, passion will develop.”

Why do you farm?

Whether it's passion or purpose, your answer is growing more important than anyone thought

Reading Time: 7 minutes Go to any school graduation and you can expect to hear the graduates being told to follow their dreams and find their passion, and that if they find a job they love, they’ll never have to work a day in their lives. It’s a popular message. A recent survey at Columbia Business School found 90 […] Read more


Farming in 2030: Managing risk

Innovative insurance companies reveal how on-farm data is leading to next-generation policies that increase liquidity and profitability

Reading Time: 6 minutes As farming gets ever more expensive and as margins get tighter, there’s less room for error, which means the need for risk management isn’t going away in the next 10 years. What will change, though, is the type of insurance products farmers will be able to buy, with innovations driven primarily by technology and by […] Read more

Terry and father Harry Aberhart find their advisory team widens their management options.

A farm advisory team that works — for you

Advisors can help take the emotion out of business decisions

Reading Time: 8 minutes A few years ago, Harvey Aberhart came to a family farm meeting looking stressed out. Like many farmers across the country, he wanted the family to find their way to a healthy, forward-looking succession plan, but the night before the meeting, he had been kept up all through the early hours by thoughts of a […] Read more