GFM Network News


Doyle Wiebe (l) and Mark Thompson.

Their joint venture

The way Doyle Wiebe and Mark Thompson work together is beginning to look like the future for a big chunk of Canada’s farms, especially in succession

Reading Time: 10 minutes Canada’s farmers are designing ever more creative business arrangements to deal with the scarcity of available land and with the capital requirements for farm expansion, diversification and succession. Now Saskatchewan producer Doyle Wiebe has developed and implemented a joint venture agreement on his farm near Langham, Sask., that may prove one of the most unique […] Read more

The first-born quandary

What if your eldest son isn’t actually the best choice to lead your family farm into the future?

Reading Time: 6 minutes For centuries, it worked for royalty. If you happen to be the first-born son, you were on the path to the throne, no questions asked. And it happened on the farm too. The eldest son was automatically in line to take the reins when Dad got old enough that he needed to step aside. Increasingly, […] Read more


Succession shocker

The percentage of farm families with a succession plan is going down. That’s right —DOWN! — even though those same families still see succession planning as crucial to success

Reading Time: 4 minutes The day I caught up with famed farm family coach, Elaine Froese, she had already had two conversations with families who cannot bring sibling partners to the table. Phrases like “avoidance of conflict,” “bullying” and “silence is a form of violence” tumble out of her. “Procrastination and conflict avoidance are the root of the issue […] Read more

Both parents and children need to take a realistic look at what will happen if succession talks don’t work.

Young and old

The farm version of the generation gap means that succession talks on many farms stall before they even get a fair chance to start. Here, adviser Delores Moskal shares her ideas for seeing eye to eye

Reading Time: 6 minutes When it comes time to put succession planning on your personal agenda, there are only a couple of ways for it to go, says Delores Moskal. There are the parents who are open to talking succession with the next generation. And then there are parents reluctant to even broach the subject with the kids. So […] Read more


The separation needs to be really clear,” says farm adviser Merle Good. “If the farm business is not separated from the estate, proper succession will never occur.”

Get off to a better start with farm succession

Here’s advice from Merle Good on how to let the business lead the conversation toward your farm succession plan

Reading Time: 6 minutes John F. Kennedy’s historic words, “… ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” may also contain the wisdom needed to solve the complexities of today’s family farm successions. Too many young men and women are starting their discussions about the path to farm succession by […] Read more



For one-year-old Lincoln Ellis, climbing into a combine cab with father Simon and grandpa Warren is an introduction to a world of wonders. Of course, he won’t know for years whether a farming life is right for him, but if it is, the plan will be in place to make it possible.

Never too young to talk about farm succession

As the Ellis family is learning, there’s no such thing as too soon for starting the conversation about farm succession

Reading Time: 7 minutes Lincoln Ellis has just got his first taste of combining. “He thought it was pretty interesting for the first 10 minutes, and then he realized how small the combine cab was, and that was about it,” says his dad, Simon Ellis, with a chuckle. “So it was short-lived, but you know, small steps for now. […] Read more

Harold Parsonage was determined to find a better way to open the farm to future generations.

Succession planning: Preparing for takeoff

How one Manitoba family's farm business succession plan is taking flight

Reading Time: 9 minutes Case Study Objective Four children in their late 20s and early 30s, all want to be part of this family farm and aerial spraying business. First Step The Parsonage family transferred ownership before operational management. The parents had used some of their capital gains exemption earlier when buying out of partnership, and about that time […] Read more


The McGregor family of Braeside, Ont.

One Ontario family’s joint path to farm succession

“Succession planning here is like hitting a moving target,” says Jim McGregor, but it’s also the family’s greatest opportunity

Reading Time: 8 minutes A mile from the Ottawa River, the McGregor family has lived and farmed, and they have loved and built for five generations, to the point where their produce business has mushroomed to 15 stands, a pick-your-own business and four farmers’ markets. Theirs is a story about embracing change, and about how, in the midst of […] Read more

For Ted (l) and Don Tilstra, building an advisory team was key to their goal of creating a harmonious, smart succession plan that works for the whole family.

A team approach to farm succession

Getting their advisers to meet and work together as a team is helping drive the Tilstras’ succession planning

Reading Time: 7 minutes When Ted Tilstra imagined his retirement, he knew that he wanted it to continue to include having a coffee around the kitchen table with his brother and nephews. Tilstra Bros. have been running their parents’ dairy farm in Dunnville, Ont., for nearly 25 years. Together Don and Ted are milking 100 purebred Holstein cattle and […] Read more