GFM Network News


Pundits have been pushing Alberta’s western separation narrative as a solution to the economic doldrums caused by low commodity prices.

Is western separation a real possibility? The cost of Alberta secession

Why is it farmers will tour countless variety plots and study mounds of test data to find a one or two per cent yield advantage, yet are willing to bet the farm on key structural changes based on nothing more than political slogans?

Case in point: Once again western separation has become a hot topic. Many readers will argue this shouldn’t be taken seriously; it’s just coffee-shop talk. But is it? In February an Angus Reid Institute poll showed 50 per cent of Albertans would support secession from Canada. Since then Premier Jason Kenney on multiple occasions has […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Did farms make the right choices?

We have all heard it before. It’s the saying that most bad decisions get made in good times. So, in the midst of the bull market a decade ago, we wondered what we’d be looking back on in 2020

Here is what I wrote in September 2008: “Somewhere in the land and in the barns that are being bought and sold, and in the equipment purchases, and in the new partnerships that are being formed and the old ones that are falling apart, there are the beginnings of trends that we’ll point to in […] Read more


Good listening is more than simply hearing what's said; it's also the art of hearing what's not being said.

Trailblazing (Part 3): Family leadership — all together now!

A good leader knows how to deal with feelings honestly without harming other family members

Of our 96 living decedents on my father’s side, most show up for our annual family Christmas party. It is a fun affair with games, crafts, sharing, potluck dinner and a dance. Our history covers the walls of the hall in documents and photographs. It’s our “not to be missed” event of the year. For […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: The breathtaking nerve of young farmers

Despite the tangle of current farm issues, nothing matters more in this fall’s federal election than how we encourage more young farmers to get find their feet

It was only a few years ago when, in every group of farmers, someone could be relied on to shake their heads and complain that the upcoming generation of Canada’s young farmers was marked by nothing so much as its sense of entitlement. Too many of us were too fast to see young farmers standing […] Read more


In walking beside and in learning with your family and team, the curious leader builds resilience and invites growth.

Trailblazing (Part 2)

The curious leader — trailblazing women farmers

When talking leadership for Country Guide, female trailblazers have repeatedly told me it was a real benefit to them that they had a curious parent in their earlier years. They also rank their own curiosity as a key contributor to their success. The value of curiosity also came up repeatedly when I spoke to global […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: On deck for 2020 – a Country Guide suggestion

It’s an odd thing about agriculture. Or perhaps I should say it’s another odd thing. In an industry where the short and medium term are so frustrating to predict, the long-term is clear

We’re all shaking our heads about the excesses the weather has smothered us under in the past 12 months. And mostly we agree too about the equally unpredictable political excesses that have roiled global trading patterns and devastated commodity prices. Combined, those two are enough to make us overlook the historic predictability of other key […] Read more


The most common word used in the transcripts of this set of interviews was “Dad.”

Trailblazing

Women farmers reveal how they have succeeded in agriculture, and how other women can too (Part 1)

Country Guide asked for more on how we define a culture that is inclusive, equal and conducive for a successful female heir or independent business person from within a family unit. In this first part of a three-part series, I went across Canada and asked trailblazers — highly successful women in farming, agriculture and agri-business […] Read more

My 11 steps to making better decisions

What does making a documentary in India have to do with farm management decision-making? As it turns out, a lot

Are the decisions you make based on solid information and knowledge, or are they based on bias and emotions? This is a critical question everyone needs to ask because the basis on which decisions are made ultimately determines the quality of the decisions. In the run up to New Year’s, I realized that 2019 marks […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Get more from the next six months

The further we go with the business focus of Country Guide, the more we believe in the ‘summer business’ concept. In fact, it’s the reason for our April issue

Farmers have always been decision-makers. It’s been true throughout the generations. But there are three reasons why it’s different today. The first is clear. It’s because of the number of zeroes in play. Farm decisions have always been make or break, but today’s dollar sums are beyond the imagining of farmers of only a few […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Decision-making on a whole new level

A year and a half ago, we promised to write much more about farmers who are using team strategies to achieve objectives out of reach on their own. Boy, did I get my eyes opened. Here’s a paragraph I wrote in that first column: “The thing is, at our core, Country Guide believes that farmers […] Read more


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