GFM Network News


A lack of communication can be a serious barrier in how to transition farms from one generation to the next.

Continuous communication

There are three simple steps to establish a family business code of conduct

Reading Time: 4 minutes There is a change in how families communicate today. I see the evidence in my daily work. You probably see it around the farm tables, in the barn, or with your accountant. Different discussions are happening now. Discussions are being driven by different players — sons-in-law, spouses, children — people coming into a farm family […] Read more

The ‘write’ way

With big stakes at play on today’s farms, it’s more important than ever to make sure what you write sends a clear message

Reading Time: 4 minutes We’ve all had occasions when we’ve read something and we were left muttering, “I have no idea what that person was trying to say.” Not only does poor writing not accomplish the goal of communicating the intended information, it also wastes the time of both reader and writer. The number one goal of good writing […] Read more


Are you wagging your finger? Are you defensively crossing your arms? Are you avoiding eye contact? These set off a fight-or-flight response in the other person.

Tough talk

How to respond to questions you don’t want to answer

Reading Time: 3 minutes In the age of social media, consumers are feeling empowered to ask more and more questions, which means that answering questions about farm practices has become another “to-do” on your already supercharged list. Farmers not only play an important role in the food conversation, they can be said to have a duty to participate in […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: How we talk among ourselves

Reading Time: 2 minutes Again I’ve been told our farm business focus means Country Guide has stopped writing for real farmers, which is to say that if you read us, you’re no longer playing for the home team. To be honest, the charge doesn’t come up all that often. I had expected it to come up more. Still, it’s […] Read more


Six steps to better consumer conversations

The science is worth learning. Gaining knowledge about why consumers behave the way they do and make the decisions they do is essential to building constructive, forward-thinking dialogue, engaging in artful and “value-added” arguments, and educating and influencing your audience. One way to gain insight into how the human brain processes information is by exploring[...]
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If your objective is to win the argument, it means you won’t be happy until your spouse loses, which is hardly a recipe for a happy life together.

Tips for handling conflict at home

In a dream world, couples would intuitively know how to handle conflict. In real life, these 15 rules are relationship savers

Reading Time: 4 minutes No matter how much you love someone, disagreements seem to be an unavoidable fact of life. Nowhere is this truer than on the family farm where the lines between business and personal relationships are blurred. The good news is that it’s possible to eliminate 50 per cent of that conflict through better communication, says London,[...]
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Transition to better communication

How better succession planning can lead to better decision-making and less conflict

Reading Time: 8 minutes Too many times, farm succession planning starts with a series of useless, dead-end and sometimes volatile meetings. Someone erupts into tears, someone else mutters some nasty words in anger and frustration and all our hopes crash in flames. No wonder we are afraid of stirring up this toxic mess of emotions. We’re supposed to be[...]
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Ten things farm moms really want

It would be fun for you to be a fly on the wall of my office when the calls from farm moms come in. They range in age from 33 to 93. Regardless of your age or stage as a farm mom, I bet there are things that you would like to be able to[...]
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The power of a letter to get unstuck

Sometimes we have to go back to basics in order to keep healthy change happening on our farms. Lately in my transition seminars I have been encouraging frustrated young farmers to write a letter of intent to their founding parents. People who are stuck with a large degree of anxiety and overwhelm from not knowing[...]
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What’s your cultural intelligence quotient?

Creating an environment that welcomes and is open to other cultures actually helps boost farm performance

Reading Time: 4 minutes Along with the country overall, our rural communities are becoming much more culturally diverse. The evidence is that this is a good thing for agriculture. Research shows that diversity enhances innovation in the workplace. As well, agriculture relies on newcomers to fill the growing demand for workers in the industry. However, diversity in the workplace[...]
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