GFM Network News


“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?

Reading Time: 6 minutes 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

Reading Time: 8 minutes 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

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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

Reading Time: 8 minutes 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Heads above

Peer Think: Arguably, it has never been harder to climb the ladder to farming success, which may be the best argument yet for peer groups

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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. Though farmer peer groups aren’t yet very common, they are a […] Read more


Raising your farm’s importance

Making your farm more valuable to your suppliers can move you a big step up the success ladder

Reading Time: 5 minutes In some ways, of course, farming is unique. In other ways, though, it’s got the same concerns as every other business, because like other business owners, farmers must deal with various other businesses all through the year. What can farmers do to improve those business relationships, or at the very least to prevent hiccups in […] Read more

A shareholder plan for farm employees

With family and non-family ownership, Marie-Claude Mainville’s management of this Quebec farm may become a new Canadian pattern

Reading Time: 7 minutes Back in 1979, friends Jan Van Gennip and Orance Mainville decided to join forces to get into the feedlot business. Van Gennip had the farm, Mainville brought his knowledge of cattle and business, and together they formed Fermes Janor. Since then, Mainville (now semi-retired) has been joined by his daughter Marie-Claude, and many partners have […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: 2018 – Is this the ‘year of destiny?’

As we head toward spring, there’s a growing ambitiousness among many Canadian farmers, and an edge to their certainty that it is crucial to make progress before the year is out

Reading Time: 2 minutes I’m an optimist. Are you? Let’s find out. Overall, our farm sector is healthier than it has been at any time in my memory. Nor do I see any precipices in our immediate future. There can always be bad news. But really, who actually thinks that interest rates are going to jump into double digits […] Read more

Let your kids see how you mind your farm’s business

Here’s where the farm succession process really starts

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you’re close to retirement, you may be getting ready to succeed the farm to your children. Or, if you’re younger, you’ll be thinking about what is going to happen to the farm when it’s your turn to retire. In either scenario, your family, your children and the business itself will likely be intermingling, which […] Read more