GFM Network News


Last year, Statistics Canada revealed Canadian farm debt exceeds a record $100 billion dollars.

Borrowing our way to prosperity

Is it healthy for Canada’s farmers to have more debt than 130 of the world’s national governments?

Farmers and the ag industry love to set records. They drool over variety yields, bushels per acre, acres per hour, rates of gain, and any other metric that might portray them as more productive, efficient or simply better than their competitors. Yet barely a word was mentioned last spring when Statistics Canada revealed Canadian farm […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Be it resolved…

We’re heading into another meeting season, and here’s a topic that’s actually worth making a resolution out of and standing up to move. Clearly, there won’t be progress if you don’t

Obviously, you don’t have to get very far away from the farm to lose sight of the fact that the real energy that’s driving agriculture isn’t some GMO breakthrough, or some new chemical innovation or even some amazingly brilliant bit of electronic engineering. Nor is it the price of grain, or the value of the […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: In 2018, we know what really works

Who thinks of financial management when we have those road-trip discussions about which innovations should get how much credit for making today’s agriculture so great?

If it was a scientific technology that was adding as much capability to today’s farms as effective financial management, we’d all be quick to sing it’s praises. We’d also have a pretty clear sense of how much value it was adding to the farm. It’s an interesting exercise to think about it in terms of […] Read more

Some farms continue to struggle with market success while others make substantial gains.

That ugly bottom third

Are farms still selling two-thirds of their crops at the worst market prices?

At the very least, the old chestnut that farmers sell two-thirds of their crops is the bottom third of the market does stick in the memory. But is it accurate? Um… maybe. There isn’t much hard proof either way, and as for anecdotal evidence, it seems to depend on who you talk to, which may […] Read more


Parents at some point need to transition from shareholder to creditor,” says Merle Good. That’s a big step, because creditors don’t make the farm’s decisions.

Who controls the purse strings on your farm?

By the time the parents hit their mid-60s, financial decision-making should be in the hands of the next generation. Really!

Two decades ago, U.K. professor Andrew Errington identified three stages of farm transfer: succession, retirement and inheritance. He defined succession as the gradual handing over of managerial control. Retirement was the owner withdrawing from active participation in the business of the farm, and inheritance was how the assets were finally signed over to the successor. […] Read more

Risk warning

Inside the campaign to get better risk management programs for Canada’s farmers

Ask Keith Currie where the biggest risk lies, and he’ll point to the sky. “We’re seeing much more severe weather systems, whether it’s cold snaps, dry snaps, wet snaps. The weather patterns are moving differently,” says Currie, who grows hay and sweet corn near Collingwood, Ont., where he is president of the Ontario Federation of […] Read more


Mike von Masson, University of Guelph (left), Jayson Lusk, Purdue University and Iris Joye, University of Guelph were part of a panel discussion on communicating about the future of food

Big trends drive diverging high and low income food interests

Panel discussed the future of food and the widening disconnect between growers and consumers

There are larger issues driving food trends that should give farmers opportunities to open conversations with people in the food movement. The challenge is starting that conversation. Jayson Lusk, the head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, told the George Morris AgriFood Policy Lecture on the future of food that influencers are […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Why we believe in summer business

On your neighbours’ farms, 2017 is emerging as the most important year of the decade for making — or not making — key farm decisions

Farmers make decisions every day, of course, but with time it often seems that every year has its one big decision that really influences the next five years for that farm, and sometimes much more. If that’s true, what will shake out as your biggest decision this year? Or maybe you will look back and […] Read more


Being diversified, our risk management is spread, but that also means we aren’t as efficient as we could be when you compare to other operations really specialized in one commodity like grain and oilseed or strictly cattle.” – Ken Lewis

Diversification the name of the game for Lewis Farms

Change Makers: From potatoes to grain to a commercial bull business, Lewis Farms has diversified to manage risk and accommodate market challenges

“Sometimes, progress simply isn’t possible without change,” says Ken Lewis, general manager of Lewis Farms in Spruce Grove, just west of Edmonton, Alta. Which means that ignoring opportunities to change, or actively resisting change when it arrives can actually be the paths of greatest risk. Because change will happen. In fact, like other farmers, Lewis […] Read more

Bounce back, don’t break

What makes some farms so resilient in tough economic times? Finally, this New Zealand research finds some answers

Australia and New Zealand have had their fair share of agricultural challenges. They’ve known fires, tsunamis and cyclones, to name a natural few, and they have suffered from the politics of export markets, not to mention supply-demand crashes in world prices for wool, beef and milk. And that’s without mentioning droughts which, according to Australia’s […] Read more