GFM Network News


Highly effective leaders are often described as seeing what few others see.

Characteristics of highly effective leadership

Part two in a series on leadership

In my last article I described six characteristics of highly effective leaders. This article concludes this series and describes leader characteristics that can be expressed only by adequately possessing the previous six attributes. Here goes: Highly effective leaders are capable of making bold decisions and abandoning the past if necessary This is the next step […] Read more

Seven steps to a learning plan

Learning never stops on the farm. There’s always something new to wrap your head around, whether it’s a business or management strategy, human resources, marketing tools, production techniques, farm equipment technology, on-farm food safety and traceability protocols — the list is endless. Indeed, the learning goes on even when you’re not aware of it. It[...]
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While new technology is an important part of farm production, it’s a business risk that will need to be managed carefully.

The road ahead

Our panel tackles the question: What are the big farm business risks for the next five to 10 years — and what skills, actions and mindsets will be critical in taking them on?

Picture yourself driving in traffic. Then, you begin noticing that the traffic is increasing, not just in the number of vehicles around you but also in the speed they are travelling at. Some of the traffic rules seem to be changing too, and the driver controls in your vehicle are all new and confusing as[...]
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Time to Talk: Creating opportunity

Yes, you can talk your farm to a better bottom line

Since farming is all about productivity, most farmers would rather “do” than talk. The old cliché that time is money is never more true than when seed needs to get into the ground or livestock needs to get to market. And yet, some of the most successful farm businesses in the country are those that[...]
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Creating a culture of participation on the farm

Participation is about more than just joining in. It’s about contributing in a meaningful, valuable way

“Participatory culture” is where this series of columns has led us. That’s because, at the end of the day, when we talk about continuous improvement, it’s not just about changing our business but also our behaviour. It’s about the older generation creating environments where the next generation feels comfortable sharing their opinions and making mistakes.[...]
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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.[...]
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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[...]
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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.[...]
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Successful leadership means not only managing day-to-day work on the farm, it’s also being accountable for long- and short-term business results as well.

Leader effectiveness deconstructed

Leadership matters most in tough times ... Will we have what it takes when we need it most?

In my last article I explored the important components of leader development that can improve leader effectiveness. Some who read that article might have thought, “I’m already a good leader.” Or, “I don’t have many employees — it’s mostly family, so leadership doesn’t really apply.” Wrong. Studies have consistently found that leaders who think they[...]
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Bev Shewchuk with her daughter Stacey and granddaughter, Georgia.

Turning girls into farmers

Should you raise daughters differently to succeed at farming? This mother, daughter and granddaughter know their answer

No matter how progressive we think agriculture is becoming for ourselves, for our wives and for our daughters, there’s still a prevalent attitude that farming is “men’s work.” Now a new ethos is gaining ground, and anyone who subscribes to the men’s-work way of thinking is being asked — well, ordered really — to get[...]
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