GFM Network News


“If you don’t even bother to weigh the pros and cons, you have a big ego,” Davies says. When you hear new ideas, “you should always be picking their brains.”

Me, myself and I

Yes, it takes self-confidence to run a farm. But every farmer also knows a neighbour whose ego is always getting in the way. Could it be you?

The business of farming is a constant battle with weather, prices, weeds, diseases and much more. It means identifying the risks, learning how to measure them, learning about all the tools to counteract them… and maybe it should also involve buying a mirror. Ego by itself is neither good nor bad. It’s simply a Latin […] Read more

Get over it

When succession talks start, it doesn’t take long for Dad to think everyone just wants to cut him down to size

It’s impossible to think about the transition of any business — and perhaps more so the family farm — without talking about the governance structure that is going to allow that farm business to operate, thrive and be sustainable for generations to follow. It’s easy to find. Just look for the fireworks. “The flashpoints usually […] Read more


Parents at some point need to transition from shareholder to creditor,” says Merle Good. That’s a big step, because creditors don’t make the farm’s decisions.

Who controls the purse strings on your farm?

By the time the parents hit their mid-60s, financial decision-making should be in the hands of the next generation. Really!

Two decades ago, U.K. professor Andrew Errington identified three stages of farm transfer: succession, retirement and inheritance. He defined succession as the gradual handing over of managerial control. Retirement was the owner withdrawing from active participation in the business of the farm, and inheritance was how the assets were finally signed over to the successor. […] Read more

Developing a strategic and operating plan for your farm business can offer clarity and a clear vision.

Entrepreneurial confidence – and how to get it

AME Management: Entrepreneurial confidence is a necessary quality in business

Business success is largely influenced by entrepreneurial confidence. It is one of the most consistent characteristics across businesses that succeed. Thriving entrepreneurs believe in themselves — their capabilities to learn, apply new knowledge and skills. They reach their desired objectives, and ultimately, realize their vision. In agriculture, where we are challenged with many uncertainties, it […] Read more


A stockman rides his horse as he leads another down a road towards the cattle yards in the outback town of Windorah, Queensland, Australia. The Australian agriculture sector says lenders need more oversight and better understanding of the ups and downs of agriculture.

Australian banks face rural lending reckoning

Agriculture borrowers say banks need a shorter leash and call for a compulsory farm debt mediation system

Reuters – Australian potato farmer Tom Fox says he had never missed a bank payment in two decades before a delay sending a shipment to Indonesia during a trade dispute between the countries prompted his lender to force him into receivership in 2013. “I got a letter from the bank lawyers saying I had 12 […] Read more

Younger generations often don’t know where they stand regarding a farm transition and may feel reluctant to address the issue.

How do you know when the younger generation is ‘ready’?

AME Management: How succession can be successfully planned

A tough question for any family business is how to know when the next generation is equipped to take over management decisions. Like many other things, the answer is often lost in a range of factors, not least the attitudes of the individuals in the family. My experience is that many families have unresolved “stuff” […] Read more


Leadership on the go

What does it take for farmers like Saskatchewan’s Bernie McClean to make themselves into better business leaders?

Growing as a leader takes stretch goals, and it takes finding out about your weaknesses and strengths. It might also take consciously building a network of smart, capable people, and finding mentors and role models to look up to. Plus it takes learning how to really listen, and how to be really heard. And none […] Read more

The necessity of conflict

Leadership requires that you do not enter a conflict until invited

It is unavoidable. At many points in life there will be conflict. It is at these times we question the value of conflict and the emotional claim that it can make on us. Is conflict really necessary? Can it be a tool to drive us forward? Let’s start at the beginning. The degree to which […] Read more


Excelling as a team leader, not just a boss, means family members and employees will invest themselves in your goals, Bob Milligan says. “They’ll be working with their head and heart.”

Are you a good boss?

Of course you’re a good leader. You wouldn’t have got this far if you weren’t. But the next opportunities may only go to those with a whole new set of attitudes

Farmers today are being called to be leaders, not just managers,” says Bob Milligan, professor emeritus of applied economics and management at Cornell University. Minnesota-based Milligan is now semi-retired and consults with farmers about their human resources. He says leadership of a farm business today is much more than developing an annual strategy. Farmers today […] Read more

The next generation of farmers has shown more of an interest in human resources issues.

Top HR issues for farmers

Concerns about employment standards and employee performance are driving more farmers into HR training

When human resources consultant Janice Goldsborough first gets a telephone call from a farmer, it’s usually with questions related to employment standards. “They might be asking about whether they have to pay overtime, the rules around statutory holidays, or is their farm even covered under employment standards; those are typically the kind of questions that […] Read more