GFM Network News


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Get more from the next six months

The further we go with the business focus of Country Guide, the more we believe in the ‘summer business’ concept. In fact, it’s the reason for our April issue

Farmers have always been decision-makers. It’s been true throughout the generations. But there are three reasons why it’s different today. The first is clear. It’s because of the number of zeroes in play. Farm decisions have always been make or break, but today’s dollar sums are beyond the imagining of farmers of only a few […] Read more

In a farm family context, the Goal Tree can help parents explain their decisions to the next generation.

The Goal Tree

Big corporations use this decision-making system. Should you too?

We all know what it’s like to sit at the kitchen table with the whole family and to ask yourself, “Should I bring it up now? We’re all together… is this the right time to talk about the next big step for the farm?” Agriculture prides itself on its family foundations. But sometimes, those family […] Read more


“We get paralysed about ‘how.’ We only see obstacles,” says Bossy. “We need to understand obstacles are the raw materials to get to our goals.” – Mike Bossy.

Service please

Are you keeping up with the level of business service your neighbours are getting from their accountants and advisors?

Country Guide compares notes with two insiders in Canada’s booming farm advisory sector. As they tell us, there’s a lot to keep up with. There are two reasons why Canadian farmers are now using more business services than they did five or 10 years ago — and neither of them is going away any time […] Read more

Time to Talk: Creating opportunity

Yes, you can talk your farm to a better bottom line

Since farming is all about productivity, most farmers would rather “do” than talk. The old cliché that time is money is never more true than when seed needs to get into the ground or livestock needs to get to market. And yet, some of the most successful farm businesses in the country are those that […] Read more


More together

Taking a group and multi-generational approach to upgrading their skills is paying off on the Woods farm

More farmers agree that the old saying has it about right: Failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s too easy to get off-course if you haven’t set your intentions and goals to paper. Besides, how do you track your success if you don’t have goals? Having completed a succession plan that lays the groundwork […] Read more

“If you don’t even bother to weigh the pros and cons, you have a big ego,” Davies says. When you hear new ideas, “you should always be picking their brains.”

Me, myself and I

Yes, it takes self-confidence to run a farm. But every farmer also knows a neighbour whose ego is always getting in the way. Could it be you?

The business of farming is a constant battle with weather, prices, weeds, diseases and much more. It means identifying the risks, learning how to measure them, learning about all the tools to counteract them… and maybe it should also involve buying a mirror. Ego by itself is neither good nor bad. It’s simply a Latin […] Read more


Excelling as a team leader, not just a boss, means family members and employees will invest themselves in your goals, Bob Milligan says. “They’ll be working with their head and heart.”

Are you a good boss?

Of course you’re a good leader. You wouldn’t have got this far if you weren’t. But the next opportunities may only go to those with a whole new set of attitudes

Farmers today are being called to be leaders, not just managers,” says Bob Milligan, professor emeritus of applied economics and management at Cornell University. Minnesota-based Milligan is now semi-retired and consults with farmers about their human resources. He says leadership of a farm business today is much more than developing an annual strategy. Farmers today […] Read more

Governing the farm

On most farms, ‘governance’ sounds like the last thing you’d want to talk about if you hope to keep everyone happy. Steve Tomtene used to think so too, but is glad he changed his mind

Like many farms with added complementary enterprises like a trucking company or livestock barn or a seed business, Tomtene Seed Farm at Birch Hill, Sask., has developed systems to juggle all the moving parts. “Maintaining identification and producing seed products of quality merit takes a shift in thinking about the products, about production, about the […] Read more


You’re the ‘leader’?

Even if you farm on your own, these CEO strategies will make your operation more successful, and more sustainable too

No one would really question whether any farmer serving on a commodity or other type of farm board might need some leadership skills. After all, that’s what those farmers are doing, right? They’re being farm leaders. The same goes too for any farmer who manages a large operation with multiple employees. Obviously, if they’ve got […] Read more

Today’s farmers are opening up new territory, with more complex challenges and opportunities, says Nylen-Burns. “We’re all trying to be as professional as we can.” – Kristi Nylen-Burns

The best two days

Peer Think: Kristi Nylen-Burns doesn’t need convincing. “It’s the best decision we’ve ever made for our farm,” she and husband Dustin say of their decision to join a next-gen peer group

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. How do you calculate your most productive day? If you’re like […] Read more