GFM Network News


Without a family successor, Bob and Wynne Chisholm saw they could save the farm by giving it away.

Paying it forward

Could a philanthropic gift be the right succession strategy for your farm?

Reading Time: 8 minutes In terms of size, W.A. Ranches’ gift to the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine (UCVM) is the biggest donation of ranch property ever made to a North American university, adding up to 19,000 acres of land and 1,000 head of cattle for a total value of $44 million. Although precedent setting in many […] Read more

“The only way it’s going to work is if there’s formality in the system,” warns succession advisor Bob Tosh.

Is your farm transition on-track?

As farms grow in value, it gets tempting to think succession planning is too risky to consider. It’s why only eight per cent of Canadian farms have written plans. But maybe there’s a way after all

Reading Time: 10 minutes Whether you call it a succession plan or a transition plan, if the very idea makes you wince, you’re not alone. Canada’s farmers are older than ever — according to Statistics Canada, more farmers are over 70 than under 35 — yet only about eight per cent of all farmers have a written succession plan. […] Read more


“In Canada, we have a lot of opportunity because so many people own their own land,” says Phil Loring. It gives us an edge over other countries. But will we exploit it?

How are Canada’s top conservation farmers faring through COVID-19?

It's a tough question, but an associate professor at the University of Guelph is asking it

Reading Time: 5 minutes Phil Loring, associate professor and Arrell Chair in Food, Policy, and Society at the University of Guelph has his eye on a question that’s been getting little attention so far, but may turn out to be crucial in shaping the direction of our agriculture over the next decade. Loring wants to know: How are the […] Read more

Four provinces have specific farm donation laws, says lawyer Mary Childs. But even in other provinces, farmers may qualify for tax credits.

Tax credits for donated food

The pandemic has stretched our ability to supply food banks and provide food aid. New approaches must be found

Reading Time: 4 minutes Even at the best of times, some Canadians can’t afford to buy enough healthy, nutritious food. This year’s pandemic raised the risk that more households would fall into that group. Within just a few weeks of the lockdown, demand at food banks began to rise when millions of Canadians were furloughed or lost their jobs […] Read more


Can COVID-19 save community supported agriculture?

Despite all the headlines, consumers have been slow to sign on to community supported agriculture. Now, COVID-19 is giving it fresh life, but farmers will still need a dose of business smarts

Reading Time: 6 minutes Every spring, Graham Sparrow asks the same question: Should I continue offering CSA shares? Sparrow has been selling shares of organic produce through the community supported agriculture (CSA) model since he started Sparrow’s Nest Organics more than 20 years ago. He admits, though, “I’ve always struggled to keep people interested and keep the CSA going.” […] Read more

Meaningful change rarely happens overnight, but there are techniques you can employ to help ensure that the changes you make are the right ones for your farm.

Why you should go slow to go fast

Next Steps: Meaningful change rarely happens overnight, but the Kaizen and “5-Why” techniques can help ensure that the changes we do make are the right ones for our farms

Reading Time: 6 minutes Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” In short, if you want to do a job right and do it well, you first need to spend adequate time preparing yourself, the tools and the process. How does this translate […] Read more


Increasingly, educated farmers are bringing a world of new ideas back to the farm, says Sask. rancher Adrienne Ivey.

‘I’m a Canadian farmer’

In a summer of so much change, with regional differences as big as ever and the differences between farm sectors seeming to multiply, who really knows what “I’m a farmer” means?

Reading Time: 12 minutes There’s absolutely no such thing as a “typical” Canadian farm, let alone a typical farmer. Big statistics describe Canada’s farmers as a whole, though they tell only a small part of the story. For starters, there aren’t many of you around anymore, and fewer with every passing decade: 271,935 at last count. But you take […] Read more

Crowdfunding the farm

These unconventional farms are raising the funds they need for expansion and to support their ongoing operations by turning to customers and small investors

Reading Time: 5 minutes When Kate Collins got the idea to transition her farm from market vegetables to medicinal herbs, she learned she’d need new infrastructure to dry, process and store bulk herbs, teas, seasonings and skin care products. The project was bigger than you might think. It would cost Foggy River Farm at Uxbridge, Ont., $45,000 to convert […] Read more


This summer, rural Albertans will be able to access the free Crowd Security app to help tackle rural crime.

Rural crime: There’s an app for that

Rural crime rates are going up because criminals think they won’t get caught. We’ve got to change that, and this app may help

Reading Time: 9 minutes As I was writing this article, I learned through a Twitter post that a neighbouring farm five km away had experienced a break and enter of their farm shop. The Twitter post encouraged people in the community to check their shops to see if anyone else had been victimized. Unfortunately, I did not see the […] Read more

“Our success depends on surrounding ourselves with competent, skilled team members,” says Farm Management Canada’s Heather Watson.

Does your farm team have the skills your farm needs the most?

Summer can be the best time of year to ask

Reading Time: 9 minutes First, let’s start with something everyone can agree on. Investing in developing the skills of the farm team is vital for the continued success of every farm. It’s documented by Farm Management Canada’s Dollars and Sense study too, and by the finding that the number one practice of Canada’s top farmers — in other words, […] Read more