GFM Network News


Analyzing your farm’s cash flow

Next Steps: Ready to tweak your farm performance? These cash-flow strategies may be the ticket you’ve been looking for

Reading Time: 7 minutes The last three of our Next Steps columns (see the ‘Related Articles’ links further down) covered the why, the when, and the what for ratcheting your farm business up a notch or two. The next logical topic to explore is the “how” of making your plans a reality, i.e. cash flow. I’m not going to […] Read more

“It’s important to build leadership skills in younger members of the family,” Davies says. “It’s important that offspring step up and be able to explains how a new idea will work.”

Is your farm keeping up with the times?

These eight practices are becoming the standard for smart Canadian farmers. Are you using them all?

Reading Time: 6 minutes Farmers across Canada are doing their very best to integrate business practices into their farming operations. They understand that maximizing the success of a farm business takes more than production excellence. But what business practices should they make standard, and why? Let’s first look at where farmers have started from, based on a study called […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: In 2018, we know what really works

Who thinks of financial management when we have those road-trip discussions about which innovations should get how much credit for making today’s agriculture so great?

Reading Time: 2 minutes If it was a scientific technology that was adding as much capability to today’s farms as effective financial management, we’d all be quick to sing it’s praises. We’d also have a pretty clear sense of how much value it was adding to the farm. It’s an interesting exercise to think about it in terms of […] Read more

Parents at some point need to transition from shareholder to creditor,” says Merle Good. That’s a big step, because creditors don’t make the farm’s decisions.

Who controls the purse strings on your farm?

By the time the parents hit their mid-60s, financial decision-making should be in the hands of the next generation. Really!

Reading Time: 5 minutes Two decades ago, U.K. professor Andrew Errington identified three stages of farm transfer: succession, retirement and inheritance. He defined succession as the gradual handing over of managerial control. Retirement was the owner withdrawing from active participation in the business of the farm, and inheritance was how the assets were finally signed over to the successor. […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: The other side of the success story

At Country Guide, we do get criticized for seeming to print only stories about successes, not failures, but we don’t get as much flak as you might think… and we all know the reason why

Reading Time: 2 minutes You can see it again in the lineup of stories we bring you in our March 1 issue of Country Guide. For the next generation of Canada’s farmers, “average” won’t cut it. Our future farmers must run farms that score an A if not an A+ in every category… or they will face tall odds against […] Read more

Alberta farmers Robert and Angela Semeniuk use a 10-year capital acquisition plan to keep on target with key production and financial objectives for their farm. The plan forces them to closely look at the impact of land and machinery expenditures on their cash flow… and their creditors love it.

Building a capital plan

The 10-year capital acquisition plan they’ve created for their farm gives the Semeniuks a decision-making boost, plus more resilience

Reading Time: 8 minutes In early October, Robert and Angela Semeniuk woke to deep snow blanketing their picturesque farm at Smoky Lake, north of Edmonton. Their hearts sank. Silence had descended on a scene that was supposed to be humming with harvest, leaving more than half of their canola in the field. But on that cold, grey fall morning, […] Read more


How much money is enough?

It’s happening on more farms. Is your working capital reserve dangerously low?

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s no surprise that as farms get larger and more complicated, they need more working capital. There must be money available to handle large expenses, and to manage your way through cash-flow swings brought about by volatile commodity prices. Besides, in an era when it is so costly to grow or expand, it’s prudent to […] Read more

Bounce back, don’t break

What makes some farms so resilient in tough economic times? Finally, this New Zealand research finds some answers

Reading Time: 6 minutes Australia and New Zealand have had their fair share of agricultural challenges. They’ve known fires, tsunamis and cyclones, to name a natural few, and they have suffered from the politics of export markets, not to mention supply-demand crashes in world prices for wool, beef and milk. And that’s without mentioning droughts which, according to Australia’s […] Read more


Sonia and Gordon Decker

It’s two careers

For Gordon and Sonia Decker, the key to success is to make their roles on the farm into rich, rewarding careers

Reading Time: 7 minutes Farming demands great decision making. Solid takes on agronomy, machinery, commodity markets and finance are just the price of admission these days. To thrive, farmers must deploy all that knowledge both for long-term goal-setting and also to make countless moment-by-moment decisions in the field and in the office, often under enormous pressure. They must also […] Read more

Use financial ratios to diagnose operational issues

AME Management: Different farms have different factors affecting their performance

Reading Time: 3 minutes The profit and loss statement provides three financial ratios that can help identify operational issues and set priorities in your operations plan. The ratios and their benchmarks are: The first and third columns define revenue/earnings and cost categories deducted from them on a standardized operating statement. The second and fourth are the resulting operating and […] Read more