GFM Network News


“We all appreciated being recognized as an essential service during the pandemic,” says one senior advisor with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council. But it comes with a price.

Networking in a new era

We thought the online age hit agriculture two decades ago. Then came the pandemic. Are you ready?

Reading Time: 9 minutes Everyone knows that farmers spend a lot of time on the farm, but farmers know how vital it is that they maintain excellent off-farm contacts too, whether it’s for the health of their businesses, the health of their soils, or their own personal and social health. In fact, farmers value networking as much or maybe […] Read more

The trends are stubborn, but there is cause for hope for women on Canada's farms.

Women in charge

Yes, progress is being made, but women still face challenges in expanding their farm ownership and leadership roles

Reading Time: 6 minutes There are two stories here. Yes, the proportion of Canadian farm operators who are women has edged higher in recent years, but the total number of women who are farming is still on a downward trend, and is expected to keep on that trend unless and until numerous challenges are overcome. Statistics Canada’s most recent […] Read more


“It takes your whole farm to a new level of professionalism.” – Bonnie den Haan.

Getting involved at the farm level

Farm organizations sustain Canadian agriculture. They’re also where a whole lot of farmers are gaining leadership, management and decision-making skills. Should you join them?

Reading Time: 9 minutes As summer approaches and the pandemic is beginning to ease, it’s time to take stock. What got agriculture through the COVID-19 pandemic? Who kept things from falling off the rails? It turns out farm organizations played an enormous role. You probably know that already. Understandably, these groups invest heavily in making sure their members know […] Read more

“It can be really challenging to define your goals,” says MNP’s Kim Gerencser, “but without it, the planning process is doomed to fail.”

A practical guide to writing your farm business plan

This eight-point plan can help put you on the right path

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you’re an avid Country Guide reader, you know that farm business planning continues to be a popular topic of discussion among advisors and management gurus. Since the “Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms” study was released by Farm Management Canada last May, we have talked to farmers across the country who are regularly using a written […] Read more


No one can conquer a mountain alone. Building a team is an essential, and the CEO needs to be good at attracting great candidates to yours.

Your CEO interview — six years on

12 questions to ask yourself to discover if you're continuing to fulfill your role as a leader

Reading Time: 12 minutes Let’s say you’re going to interview someone for your job as the CEO of your farm. Or maybe you’re considering someone in the next generation for the job. Or you might even be looking in the mirror, asking yourself where to focus your energy over the next year. What questions would you ask? That was […] Read more

For mid-sized farms like his, collaborations are more essential than ever, says Brock. In Canada, he now believes, joint ventures have nowhere to go but up.

‘That will never work!’

Mark Brock was told it’s a waste of time for independent farmers to try to collaborate with other farmers. Then he did the research

Reading Time: 10 minutes Consolidation is the name of the game in Canadian business, and especially in Canadian agriculture. The pressure is on everywhere to grow bigger. If you’re a farmer, that means buying your neighbour’s land to grow your economy of scale, and it’s the same if you’re a processor, an input dealer, a chain of accountants or […] Read more


“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Anthony Taylor says. But farmers can identify the threats most likely to shape their future.

It’s your future

PESTLE analysis aims to help you anticipate the big what-if’s that are going to shape Canada’s farms, and then figure out what you as an individual farmer can do to prepare for them

Reading Time: 7 minutes We live in a volatile world. Things come unexpectedly out of left field — if we ever needed any reminders of that, the last year has provided them in spades. From floods and droughts to trade disputes and weird politics, we’ve seen it all. And we haven’t even mentioned the global pandemic yet. In fact, […] Read more

If businesses took no risks, they most likely would never grow or expand. Farms are no different, but what are you prepared to pay to cover that risk and how will you do it?

A word about your farm

Financial fluency is paying off for farms who learn the lingo

Reading Time: 7 minutes A growing number of financial advisors are talking a different language today than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Increasingly they see that the financial health of the farm goes way beyond the numbers on the balance sheet or income statement. They know those numbers are underpinned by some basic fundamentals that require sound […] Read more


“There is a real need in small business — particularly in agriculture — to have someone who can become part of the management team.” – Trish Fournier.

Building a better farm business

Is Trish Fournier creating the new template for how Canada’s farms will inject cutting-edge financial skills and strategic business acumen into their mid- to large-size operations?

Reading Time: 6 minutes Today’s farm operations are growing ever more complex. There are crucial production, financial, human resource, marketing and other management decisions to be made, and it is impossible for farmers to be expert in every facet of the business. Enter farm business advisors. Hiring advisors and consultants isn’t a new concept, as farmers have outsourced accounting […] Read more

How to know if your farm business skills are keeping up

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. Shawn Hass. photo: Supplied “They’ve built an office or have one on site,” Hass says. […] Read more