GFM Network News


Deciding the culture you want for your business and then creating is a difficult process.

Creating the outward-looking business

AME management: Do you know the type of culture you want for your business?

Last month’s column addressed outward-looking versus inward-looking businesses. The idea sensitized me to watch other organizations (and to check myself!) to find evidence of one or the other. Often, the evidence is mixed. Three examples A hotel where we have hosted CTEAM for several years had the same three young guys providing support for the […] Read more

Businesses can avoid becoming hamstrung by finding out what customers want instead of focusing on selling what they have.

Outward-looking business

AME Management: It takes discipline, but an outward focus pays off in more business

Have you ever been disappointed that people who work for you don’t take initiative to do what you want done? You don’t feel comfortable getting away for a week because things won’t get done the way they are supposed to? You and the generation ahead of or behind you have ongoing tension that stands in […] Read more


Younger generations often don’t know where they stand regarding a farm transition and may feel reluctant to address the issue.

How do you know when the younger generation is ‘ready’?

AME Management: How succession can be successfully planned

A tough question for any family business is how to know when the next generation is equipped to take over management decisions. Like many other things, the answer is often lost in a range of factors, not least the attitudes of the individuals in the family. My experience is that many families have unresolved “stuff” […] Read more

Shiny, new equipment is great, but depending on your budget and where you are in the timeline of your operation, running what you own or leasing equipment may be a better option.

Is there a ‘best’ farm machinery strategy?

AME management: There is never a guarantee that, without the analysis, the right strategy can be forecast

Country Guide’s editor asked whether we see a trend in the machinery strategy of the farmers who take CTEAM, our management course. Behind this is the idea that their experiences may be of value to others. The reality is that many strategies exist, ranging from turning over the complement of equipment every year, to squeezing […] Read more


A key success factor is that members must report on their progress. The discussion is “challenging, not critical.”

The right next step

Peer Think: Brooks and Jen White have always focused on improving their management decision-making. For them, that makes a peer group a key growth strategy

These new peer groups are drawing rave reviews from their members. Are they the most inspirational and perhaps the most essential business idea of the new millennium? It’s a big claim, but it’s tough to argue against this newest iteration of farmers helping farmers. Located in the extreme southwest of Manitoba, Brooks and Jen White’s […] Read more

It took discipline to get there, but Mongeon and Dignard’s spreadsheet approach now allows them to tie their field management and financial management into each decision.

Numbers drive dynamic decision-making

Jeannette Mongeon and Michel Dignard use spreadsheets to guide everyday decisions and to analyze and embrace change. It’s good for the farm, and it also keeps peace in the family

This past spring, Michel Dignard carefully walked his saturated soybean fields, counting the thin, yellowing plants while some were still fully submerged in water. It was emotionally exhausting work, but at least Dignard and his wife Jeannette Mongeon knew what they would do next. They crunched the numbers. They added up the costs and yield […] Read more


Progress is best made not by trying to break bad habits, but rather by developing good habits.” — Larry Martin

From planning to implementation

AME Management: Get into these management habits. They will help you develop the strategic objectives that will drive your farm where you want it to go, and then help you achieve real progress toward them

In our past column, we reviewed the habits of successful agricultural managers. One habit is that successful managers don’t just do strategic and operational planning, they translate their plans into action — i.e. they have a process to implement the plan. Like most farmers, many CTEAM participants have had little experience or training in planning […] Read more

Kent Sereda and Holly White.

Growing professional

Across the country, young farmers like Holly White and Kent Sereda are building respect for a new generation of business skills

Newlyweds Holly White and Kent Sereda were already quite good at tackling what you might call their legal due diligence, updating their wills and preparing marital agreements. Then they realized they should go even further. This was the right time, they decided, to review the whole succession plan for the fourth-generation family farm that they […] Read more


Farming will take more than knowledge, insists Ridgetown director Ken McEwan. It needs vision, people skills, and perhaps most important, energy.

What students need for future success as farmers

Top ag educators tell us the good and the not so good they see in Canada’s next generation of farm hopefuls

The future stretches and sways like a Prairie grain field, endless and heavy with possibilities. Like storm clouds, though, threats and risks also gather. What strengths and skills will farmers need to succeed in the future we’re rushing toward? With the turnover between generations accelerating, it’s a question that is coming squarely into play on […] Read more

Different personalities can strengthen the farm, Ryan (l) and Noel believe, as long as everyone has the same clear goals in mind.

Turn around

When brothers Ryan and Noel Flitton signed up for business school with their father, it helped their Alberta farm turn a critical corner

The allure of farming runs strong in the Flitton family, so neither Gary Flitton nor his sons Noel or Ryan make any apology for having been drawn for the same reason back to the family’s 12,000 acres of scenic Alberta grain land east of the Rocky Mountains near Vulcan. They want to live a rural […] Read more