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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 are great decision makers who excel at decision-making because they have such a clear vision of themselves as individuals, and of what the farm means to them.”

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Tom Button
Father and son on their farm

I still believe this. In fact, I’d go even further.

Ask any banker or farm advisor, or any neighbour for that matter, and they’ll tell you they know they’re in the presence of a farm with a future when the farmer impresses them by being able to articulate the farm’s vision and its goals.

It could be a large farm, or a small farm or something in between, but they know themselves so well, they can communicate what’s important to them in a few quick sentences.

If you want to dig deeper, of course, they can do that too.

The point I want to make is that this is more true now than ever before, certainly in my experience. Farmers know themselves, and where they want to go, which makes it even more interesting that they are coming to rely on team dynamics to achieve those individual goals.

It seems a contradiction at first, and a lot of it happens below the radar. You won’t see it driving past the farmstead, but it’s a key driver of our agricultural evolution.

What kind of teams have we been writing about?

As always, most of our stories have started with farmers, and with every kind of farm, from large to small and across a wide range of commodity sectors.

If you missed “All for One” from our previous issue, I recommend you find it and read it closely for its analysis of how five fiercely independent Alberta cattle feeders have formed a peer group that is driving their performance to new heights.

But then, just down the road from them are Jay Bruggencate and Mike Sulzle, who we talked to for “Dream Team” in our February 12 issue about the team approach to building their new farms.

We have written about partnerships as well, including “Partnership Boom” for our Mach 26 issue of Country Guide among many, many others.

And we have bought you a steady stream of expert pieces as well, ranging from “Peer to Peer,” to stories through the winter about the kinds of farm advisory services your neighbours are using to intensify and broaden their management capabilities.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t have any independent farmers left. If anything, it means the opposite, and that agriculture’s future lies in a brand of independence that is stronger than ever because it is fortified by the strategic use of multiple teams and partnerships.

I don’t think anyone guessed this when the new millennium dawned in 2000. Now it’s impossible to see the future of any size or sector farm without it.

Are we getting it right? Let me know at [email protected].

About the author


Tom Button

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.



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