GFM Network News


How to know if your farm business skills are keeping up

In the last five years, every farm has upped its business management. So is your farm middle-of-the-pack? Above average? Below? Get ready for some surprises

Reading Time: 8 minutes When you ask Shawn Hass, vice-president and portfolio manager at RBC Dominion Securities in Lethbridge, Alta., what his cutting-edge farm clients are doing that sets them apart from the rest of the pack, his first answer will likely surprise you. “They’ve built an office or have one on site,” Hass says. “The most successful farm […] Read more

Jen and Brooks White have always focused on improving their management decision-making.

Value in your farming peers

Could a peer group be right for you? Country Guide talks to one Ontario group to find out

Reading Time: 6 minutes When Ontario’s Janet O’Rourke and her husband Kevin took CTEAM — the executive management program designed specifically for Canadian farmers and ranchers — they got their first taste of peer feedback and the benefits it can bring. As part of the program, their class of farmers met four times over two years and got to […] Read more


For Saik, another key learning is ensuring age and gender diversity not only makes the benefits more broadly available, but improves the experience for everyone.

Making it their business

A growing number of Western Canada’s farmers are using peer groups to drive their performance. This one is ready made

Reading Time: 6 minutes It turns out that size can matter. It makes a difference. Farming at different scales doesn’t necessarily make anyone a better or a worse farmer, but it does change the kinds of problems you have to tackle every day, the kinds of decisions you have to make and, of course, the kinds of questions that […] Read more

Paul and Anne Burnham of Burnham Family Farm Market.

Resilient farmers vs. COVID-19: A ‘cover story’ family farm

For the Burnhams, the lesson of COVID-19 is more of a reminder, really. Family is the core of a farm business

Reading Time: 6 minutes This family deserves special attention, so as we conclude this series with Country Guide we wanted to bring you the story of a family that we call our “Cover Story Family.” In our view, they seemed to pretty much get it right over the past year. Getting it right refers to the bold steps our […] Read more


Lauren and Ryan Maurer of Land and Sky Grains.

Managing more, working less

For Lauren and Ryan Maurer, it’s the challenge of 2021. How do they keep from getting personally overwhelmed as the farm gets bigger and more complex?

Reading Time: 7 minutes It was 27 years ago that Lauren and Ryan Maurer moved to Lauren’s family grain farm near Grenfell, Sask., and started with 800 cultivated acres. In 2010 the couple was named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers, and now Land and Sky Grains seeds 24,000 owned and rented acres. Another 3,000 acres are committed to pasture and […] Read more

“We really started to ask ourselves some hard questions,” Amy Cronin says. “We knew we had to change something if we were going to give our children an opportunity to farm.”

Farm planning for what lies ahead

How can a business plan be worth writing when farming is so unpredictable? For Mike and Amy Cronin, that’s the wrong question

Reading Time: 5 minutes If there’s one thing certain about farming, it’s the uncertainty. Prices, weather and other variables are constantly changing and farmers in most sectors are tasked with doing business without being able to predict future outcomes. Research released by Farm Management Canada last year indicated three in every four Canadian farmers are working at mid-level or […] Read more


When farm financial pressures mount

Sleepless nights? Behind on your bills? Avoiding the banker? You aren’t alone, and there can be a path back to better times

Reading Time: 7 minutes Maybe Benjamin Franklin said it best. “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” If you find yourself in financial trouble, it’s smart to ask for help. Art Lange is president of AJL Consulting in Edmonton, and in an article from our October 2020 edition, he and an Alberta farm couple worked together to share […] Read more

In the face of dealing with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, so much has come down to resilient operations.

Resilient farmers vs. COVID-19: How one Ontario farm got so resilient

Rather than focussing on pandemic problems, the next generation brings solutions to the table

Reading Time: 4 minutes Our series on farm resiliency has been a fascinating one to write. We have spoken with several farm families about the challenges they faced and overcame during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it affected the ag community. We focused on the positives — stories of families and communities coming together to get last year’s crop […] Read more


VRP Farms Ltd. is proud of its farm team made up of people hired both locally and internationally. Staff pictured here, who represent a range of jobs on the farm, come from Canada as well as Mexico, France and the U.K.

Alberta farm builds labour diversity into its core

Is there a better way to find and retain farm employees in Canada’s tough market? Van Raay Paskal Farms figured there must be, with innovative thinking and a readiness to look to non-traditional sources

Reading Time: 9 minutes The sun is barely up but VRP Farms Ltd., a half hour north of Lethbridge, is already humming. Pen riders saddle their horses and barn labourers are shipping, sorting and processing. Feed drivers put their trucks in gear, operators of high hoes and manure trucks shuttle about the site, and truck drivers back up to […] Read more

“We are diversified now but we had even more ventures in the past.” – Ryan Schuyler.

Next level farm management

Business planning practices are driving success on these three farms

Reading Time: 8 minutes There are two halves to farming — production and business. They are correlated, of course. You can’t really succeed in one if you aren’t also up to scratch at the other. That said, we’ve always known that every farmer brings their own mix of management skills and energies to the table, which means every operation […] Read more