GFM Network News


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: How will farms grow in the 2020s?

On the lip of the 2020s, it’s a question that deserves more than casual thought. And it needs more than one perspective, for there will be more kinds of success than ever in history

Reading Time: 2 minutes April Stewart writes in our December 2019 issue of Country Guide to tell us the proof is in. The more technological and digital a farm gets, the more important its leadership and its soft skills become. To a degree, it’s no surprise. Technology does many things, and the technology of the 2020s will do more of […] Read more

Farm CEO: The complete farm executive

Reading Time: 3 minutes What does the basic mindset of a farm CEO look like? I’m currently using a three-factor model to describe what I think makes a highly effective farm executive. The first is business results. Obviously at the end of the day if we don’t define success and achieve objectives that keep us in business, never mind […] Read more


A business whose culture doesn’t support the values of its employees will ultimately struggle.

Farm CEO: Culture matters

Are you paying attention to the culture of your farm or farm business?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Why should we care about the culture of our business? Culture captures the essence of what makes a business tick, yet it is poorly understood. Culture has reached cliché status as a management concept, and that’s regrettable because understanding what culture really is, its connection to leadership, how it is created and how it has […] Read more

Developing a CEO mindset and the skills needed to serve that mindset are essential if Canadian farms are to succeed.

Become a farm CEO: Why make the shift?

Executive-level behaviour is good for both the farm and farmer

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s time that farmers develop beyond being the world-class farm managers they are today. That’s the vibe I’m getting from clients, program participants and industry professionals. The conversation around what abilities Canadian farmers need to develop, and how they should acquire them, is already underway. If a farmer is successfully operating his or her business, […] Read more


Metamorphosis

Empower the people around you to be transformational leaders

Reading Time: 3 minutes We’ve all seen a fuzzy caterpillar make its way across our path. Inching across the pavement makes it vulnerable to the traffic and the weather, but it must get to a cocooning spot. It seems so small and sluggish but it has something more inside it. It will become that something more. It will morph […] Read more

Mom and Dad, what should you be looking for when the kids come home? Are you willing to let them make mistakes?

Up to the job

You’re home for the summer. Now, how are you going to show Mom and Dad that you’re a safe bet for taking over the farm?

Reading Time: 6 minutes It’s a phrase that means just what it says. Leadership succession is real, and it’s catching on. If your succession plan only looks at how the financial picture will unfold down the road, that’s not enough. Increasingly, it’s clear that it has to deal with who can handle what responsibilities too. Are your kids up […] Read more


The most common word used in the transcripts of this set of interviews was “Dad.”

Trailblazing

Women farmers reveal how they have succeeded in agriculture, and how other women can too (Part 1)

Reading Time: 4 minutes Country Guide asked for more on how we define a culture that is inclusive, equal and conducive for a successful female heir or independent business person from within a family unit. In this first part of a three-part series, I went across Canada and asked trailblazers — highly successful women in farming, agriculture and agri-business […] Read more

Neil McBeth, left, Jerry Belanger, general manager of Essex Food Bank and Dr. Richard Barnett of Essex Rotary deliver potatoes to the food bank, in this case for the 120 Christmas food baskets they provide every year.

Leading in the community

An inside look at how the community wins — and how their farms and farming in general win too — when farmers go to town as community leaders

Reading Time: 9 minutes When Max Kaiser decided to try for municipal council four years ago, he harkened back to a famous and fairly recent moment in farming history. As he’s a crop and chicken farmer (in the Town of Greater Napanee near Kingston, Ont.), it was fitting — but also a great strategy. When election time rolled around, […] Read more


What action do you take when some people in your organization are underperforming, and those who can are leaving?

Leader development versus the quick fix

Management without leadership is like tightening a nut with no wrench on the bolt head

Reading Time: 4 minutes Every once in awhile I have a casual conversation that goes like this: “Leadership is nice (guess what comes next), but I have real problems right now, and I have to do something; I don’t have time for leader development, I’m busy.” In my view, we are all busy, but this sentiment is the verbal […] Read more

A successful partnership is one that shares in the achievements of whatever the individuals are jointly involved in.

Leader effectiveness meets the leader

Good leadership points you in the direction of building a successful business

Reading Time: 3 minutes I want to share what I’m noticing in small business these days in terms of leadership, and what I say to those who ask about leader effectiveness. First, I also want to say that I do not share client stories even with the names redacted. Agriculture is just too small, and my work with leaders […] Read more