GFM Network News


For brothers John, Michael and Paul Sharpe, the key to scalable growth lies in management and in finding ways to build teams that continually expand their skillsets.

Scaling growth at Sharpe Farm

Three Ontario brothers grow their ability to achieve their goals

Reading Time: 7 minutes In today’s business world, few concepts are more important than growth. Most entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to expand their business to increase profitability and improve their shot at long-term survival. Of course, farmers and other agribusiness owners are no exception, and for Michael, Paul and John Sharpe — the three brothers behind Sharpe […] Read more

“The formality of it encourages every member at the table to feel equally respected,” Chris Clarke emphasizes.

Working with change, instead of fearing it

Non-farm family businesses are in the throes of succession planning too. With the help of Chris Clarke, here’s how they’re elevating their team skills for superior succession planning — and why it’s driving their business performance as well

Reading Time: 5 minutes By now, every farmer has encountered more than a few articles on succession planning, and maybe the thought of even one more doesn’t seem all that appealing. Indeed, you’ve probably read the first few paragraphs of quite a few of these stories and paused, wondering if you’ll learn anything new. Well, this article is a […] Read more


The staff at Atlantic Roasted Products include (l. to r.) Paul Nabuurs (son), Anthony Nabuurs (owner and operator) and John Vos (farm employee).

The return of farm diversification

On this farm, widening the base of operations helps achieve crucial management goals

Reading Time: 6 minutes When Anthony Nabuurs talks about agriculture, he looks beyond growing crops and selling what he harvests. Expanding his operation beyond planting, spraying and combining has become a necessity for his farm and for those who work with him, partly because of economics, and also because it helps overcome some of the challenges of farming on […] Read more

“I’m not sure the message is getting through,” says CFIB’s Corinne Pohlmann. But the stats are brutal… 70 per cent of businesses that don’t plan for succession end up failing.

Sharing succession stories

What can farmers learn from the transition struggles of Canada’s other independent, family-based businesses?

Reading Time: 5 minutes From a business perspective, whether it’s a family business, a family farm business or any other kind, succession planning is not only smart, it’s a condition of survival. According to the Family Business Institute for example, after the leader of a family business exits the picture for whatever reason, 70 per cent of these enterprises […] Read more


For Craig (left), David, Ryan and Brian, and for the entire family, the path to succession has focued on merging the lessons of two and a half centuries of family history with the realities of running an efficient, profitable farm operation.

The 10th generation farm

In central Nova Scotia, Cornwallis Farms has been in the same family for nine generations. So how are they planning for David’s arrival, and the start of a whole new chapter?

Reading Time: 8 minutes Thinking back to 2011, David Newcombe told his family that they’d missed a milestone on their farm — and a chance to throw a big party. But another chance will come. “In 2061 we’ll have a 300-year anniversary,” says Newcombe, now 28. That’s a lot of confidence, yet on this farm, you might say they’ve […] Read more

Yes, change is coming, but farmers like Brad Rasmussen are surprising the experts.

How healthy are mid-sized farms?

A decade ago, mid-size farms were on the endangered list. Today, most are thriving while they ponder what comes next

Reading Time: 11 minutes From coffee shop to conference hall and from boardroom to classroom, it’s the question we keep asking — what’s the future of the mid-size farm? Even the 98 per cent of Canadians who haven’t been on a farm in a generation or two talk about it from time to time. It seems there’s a solid […] Read more


Family Through Succession: Aligning the Hunter family vision

"In the end, we all want the same thing,” Bruce says. “I just don’t see how we can make everyone happy.”

Reading Time: 7 minutes Last month, our first article introduced the Hunter family and their journey through farm succession. The Hunters aren’t a real family; you won’t find them in a phone book. But they are real in that they’re based on our real-life experience consulting with farm families. You’ll find families like the Hunters across the country. Through […] Read more

Good listening is more than simply hearing what's said; it's also the art of hearing what's not being said.

Trailblazing (Part 3): Family leadership — all together now!

A good leader knows how to deal with feelings honestly without harming other family members

Reading Time: 3 minutes Of our 96 living decedents on my father’s side, most show up for our annual family Christmas party. It is a fun affair with games, crafts, sharing, potluck dinner and a dance. Our history covers the walls of the hall in documents and photographs. It’s our “not to be missed” event of the year. For […] Read more


Seven things to remember when preparing for a farm transition

Where is it written that your parents have to go south for the winter together? Many aging farmers like to visit the Sun Belt at this time of year to get rest, connect with friends and have some well-deserved fun. But what if one of your parents prefers to stay home? When both spouses cannot[...]
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From left, Jennifer and Jay Bruggencate, and Mike and Kelly Sulzle.

Dream team

In Vector Grain, the Bruggencates and Sulzles are collaborating on a joint venture to make their longtime farming dreams a reality. It takes dedication and smarts, and loads of professional advice. But it’s paying off

Reading Time: 8 minutes Mike Sulzle had worked as Craig Shaw’s hired man for 16 years when Shaw approached him in 2015 with surprising news: 2016 would be his last year farming. “Craig had always said I could take over when he quit farming one day, but it wasn’t serious,” says Sulzle. “I didn’t see how I could do[...]
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