GFM Network News


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: A historic year for the family farm

Reading Time: 2 minutes Across the country, 2020 has demonstrated once again that the family is the right management unit for Canada’s farms, in part because it is so amazingly adaptable. In fact, there’s every reason to think the family will see us through future changes too. It’s November already, and already you can feel the calendar beginning to […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Getting together on a plan for 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes Agriculture is getting more and more diverse and the gaps between our farms are growing, which is why we need a higher percentage of farmers getting involved in farm organizations. Here are two questions we almost never ask in our Country Guide interviews. What farm organizations are you involved in? And how much emphasis do […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Where are the big ideas?

Reading Time: 2 minutes One of the reasons why agriculture has mainly adapted so quickly to COVID-19 is that farmers are used to dealing with black swans. But it isn’t the only reason. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to underestimate the real pain that some sectors have faced. Whether that’s the logistical nightmare of beef processing or the […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: At its core, agriculture is winning

Reading Time: 2 minutes Are farmers more alike, or more different from each other? Hmmm… those might be the only questions you can ask on every farm across the country and get the same sorts of answers. You can slice agriculture in so many ways, i.e. by commodity sectors, by sales volumes, by the farmer’s age, by technology usage… […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: More different, more the same

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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 […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: What it means to farm in Canada

Reading Time: 2 minutes With coronavirus, we’re finally seeing that there actually is such a thing as a Canadian farmer, not just a Western or an Eastern farmer, or a crop or a livestock farm. Is there something that makes all Canadian farmers more like each other than like American or Australian or French farmers? It’s a question we’ve […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: How do we choose farms to profile?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Country Guide is built on the belief that the real energy driving the evolution of agriculture is the individual farm, making its decisions one decision at a time. It has a drama all its own. I get asked sometimes how we choose the farms that we profile in Country Guide, but I haven’t addressed the […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: A better test of your resiliency

Reading Time: 2 minutes Much of the focus in our March 17, 2020 issue of Country Guide is on new technologies and new farm management strategies. After all, that’s where much of your focus is too. But maybe we’re missing something. It’s like how farmers will often say that when they go to conferences, even though the big name […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Can you see it from here?

Reading Time: 2 minutes It’s a question I asked in one of my first columns after Country Guide shifted to its business focus. Can we see where we’re heading? I was worried. We were all worried. What would happen if the good times ended? It’s a question to come back to after reading “10th Generation,” associate editor Lorraine Stevenson’s […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: The price of farm innovation

Among the emails that flow into my in-box, I can always expect to hear from farmers who are concerned about our farms becoming too different from one another, to the danger of all

Reading Time: 2 minutes Their concerns are valid. It is getting more and more difficult to frame national policies that are supported across the farm sector. Over the decade that I’ve been at Country Guide, we’ve made a stab two or three times at doing a story on whether there is such a thing as a Canadian farmer. Or […] Read more