GFM Network News


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: A historic year for the family farm

Reading Time: 2 minutes Across the country, 2020 has demonstrated once again that the family is the right management unit for Canada’s farms, in part because it is so amazingly adaptable. In fact, there’s every reason to think the family will see us through future changes too. It’s November already, and already you can feel the calendar beginning to […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Getting together on a plan for 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes Agriculture is getting more and more diverse and the gaps between our farms are growing, which is why we need a higher percentage of farmers getting involved in farm organizations. Here are two questions we almost never ask in our Country Guide interviews. What farm organizations are you involved in? And how much emphasis do […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Where are the big ideas?

Reading Time: 2 minutes One of the reasons why agriculture has mainly adapted so quickly to COVID-19 is that farmers are used to dealing with black swans. But it isn’t the only reason. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to underestimate the real pain that some sectors have faced. Whether that’s the logistical nightmare of beef processing or the […] Read more

“The windfall to the seed industry comes from the pockets of their farm customers.”

Driving up the cost of seed

Is the new Seeds Canada getting foisted on farmers just to make us boost seed company profits?

Reading Time: 6 minutes The summer of 2020 will go down in history for changing the fundamentals of grain production in Canada. And it seems many farmers are not even aware this is happening. I am talking about the ratification of Seeds Canada. I hear you ask, “Who, or what, is Seeds Canada?” Seeds Canada is the proposed name […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: At its core, agriculture is winning

Reading Time: 2 minutes Are farmers more alike, or more different from each other? Hmmm… those might be the only questions you can ask on every farm across the country and get the same sorts of answers. You can slice agriculture in so many ways, i.e. by commodity sectors, by sales volumes, by the farmer’s age, by technology usage… […] Read more

Opinion: Canada has many research success stories — but there should be more

If we can’t bridge the farmer-researcher gap, we’re leaving money on the table

Reading Time: 3 minutes Every year around the world, billions of dollars, euros, yen and yuan are spent on agriculture research. In Canada alone, public funding of “research in support of agriculture,” to quote the federal government, topped $557 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year. That figure may wax and wane with the budgetary vagaries of government, but it’s […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: More different, more the same

Reading Time: 2 minutes COVID-19 has brought our differences into the spotlight. For all sorts of reasons, no two farms have been affected in exactly the same way. And yet… Sometimes it’s because the commodities they produce are different. Obviously, anyone with hogs has some different concerns than grain farmers. Sometimes too it’s because of differences in how we […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: What it means to farm in Canada

Reading Time: 2 minutes With coronavirus, we’re finally seeing that there actually is such a thing as a Canadian farmer, not just a Western or an Eastern farmer, or a crop or a livestock farm. Is there something that makes all Canadian farmers more like each other than like American or Australian or French farmers? It’s a question we’ve […] Read more


The information landscape is changing, and some organizations are exploring new ways of offering that information to farmers other than traditional methods.

Who’s getting educated?

It’s time for ag suppliers to get as good as farmers at technology, and to treat us with the respect we have earned

Reading Time: 6 minutes Technology and big data have changed nearly every facet of agriculture. My tractor performance is continually monitored, not only by the operator but by the manufacturer. If the operator slips the clutch or stalls the tractor while under load, I can expect an immediate notification on my cell phone. If it’s anything more serious, a […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: How do we choose farms to profile?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Country Guide is built on the belief that the real energy driving the evolution of agriculture is the individual farm, making its decisions one decision at a time. It has a drama all its own. I get asked sometimes how we choose the farms that we profile in Country Guide, but I haven’t addressed the […] Read more


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