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Editor’s Note: More different, more the same

Tom Button

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 go to market, or differences in our machinery, or the people we hire.

Yet I still believe something I believed the day we started giving Country Guide its focus on farm business.

As agriculture gets more diverse, it also gets more the same.

It’s simplistic, I know, but there’s a core of truth to it. If you’re running a successful farm anywhere in this country, you’ve got what it takes to run just about any other farm.

It’s because there’s a combination of aptitudes and attitudes that it takes to succeed; attention to detail, commitment, perseverance, vision, the ability to create trust, the list goes on and on.

Increasingly it’s also because there’s a case-study sort of evolution going on. To run any farm successfully, you need to understand finances, HR, goal-setting, accounting ratios. If you understand your own farm, you’re well on your way to understanding everyone else’s.

Plus, you know that a close look at how any other farm is managed is likely to create insights that you can apply back home.

I thumbed through a back-issue of Country Guide the other day and stumbled across this quote from a farmer we interviewed:

“Good managers make just as many bad decisions as lower-producing farmers,” the farmer said. “They just don’t live with their decisions.”

You understand what was meant. No one is perfect. No one only always makes stellar decisions, but good managers monitor their performance, they track the farm, and they don’t let their ego get in the way.

So, tell me, what kind of farmer made that quote? Dairy farmer? Grain farmer? Young? Old? Big? Small?

I’m forever threatening to put together a list of the top 100 Country Guide quotes from the last decade. Maybe I should use COVID-19 as an excuse to do just that.

I also think we need to get more of our farm business writers doing articles for the big business pubs. If Canada’s business leaders could hear farmers talking about their own operations, imagine how their respect for farmers would grow.

Yes, I could use COVID-19 to make progress on that too.

COVID-19 is giving all of us opportunities to reconnect with our core values.

In our team, we’ll be spending much of this summer thinking about how to evolve from here. I know you will too. It’ll be challenging, engaging, fun, tough. I can’t wait.

As always, let me know if we’re getting it right. You can reach me at [email protected].

About the author


Tom Button

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.



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