GFM Network News


Allowing an employee to decide how to complete a task is part of having autonomy.

Farm CEO: Develop leaders, not labourers

Allowing people to safely struggle is good. Let them know you are there for support, but they’re expected to figure it out and get it done

Reading Time: 3 minutes Part of having an executive mindset on the farm is developing others. Developing others might seem like a basic function of management, which it is, but I want to emphasize that I’m not just talking about teaching basic farm skills but actually developing people’s judgment and ability to make good decisions independently — to effectively […] Read more

Businesses can avoid becoming hamstrung by finding out what customers want instead of focusing on selling what they have.

Outward-looking business

AME Management: It takes discipline, but an outward focus pays off in more business

Reading Time: 4 minutes Have you ever been disappointed that people who work for you don’t take initiative to do what you want done? You don’t feel comfortable getting away for a week because things won’t get done the way they are supposed to? You and the generation ahead of or behind you have ongoing tension that stands in […] Read more


Successful leadership means not only managing day-to-day work on the farm, it’s also being accountable for long- and short-term business results as well.

Leader effectiveness deconstructed

Leadership matters most in tough times ... Will we have what it takes when we need it most?

Reading Time: 3 minutes In my last article I explored the important components of leader development that can improve leader effectiveness. Some who read that article might have thought, “I’m already a good leader.” Or, “I don’t have many employees — it’s mostly family, so leadership doesn’t really apply.” Wrong. Studies have consistently found that leaders who think they […] Read more

Leadership on the go

What does it take for farmers like Saskatchewan’s Bernie McClean to make themselves into better business leaders?

Reading Time: 7 minutes Growing as a leader takes stretch goals, and it takes finding out about your weaknesses and strengths. It might also take consciously building a network of smart, capable people, and finding mentors and role models to look up to. Plus it takes learning how to really listen, and how to be really heard. And none […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: A better way to start the day

Reading Time: 2 minutes Of all the bright and memorable things you’ll find in our March 27, 2018 issue, the one I keep coming back to is the advice from Harvard prof Linda Hill in Maggie Van Camp’s, “Are you a good boss?” Her advice is simple. Let me lift it straight from the story: “She (Hill) suggests starting […] Read more

Alberta names new deputy ag minister

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta’s deputy provincial environment minister, a civil engineer and 28-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, has been named the province’s new top agriculture bureaucrat. Premier Rachel Notley on Tuesday put through an order in council appointing Andre Corbould as Alberta’s deputy minister of agriculture and forestry effective Wednesday, replacing Beverly Yee. Corbould, the province’s deputy […] Read more


Get more for your farm family

Reading Time: 3 minutes I have been the witness to several successful farm operations over the last number of years. I count myself lucky as someone who gets to see what innovation, smart business practice and communication can achieve on family farms. The majority of what I see doesn’t surprise me. And it frustrates me when people act surprised […] Read more

Progress is best made not by trying to break bad habits, but rather by developing good habits.” — Larry Martin

From planning to implementation

AME Management: Get into these management habits. They will help you develop the strategic objectives that will drive your farm where you want it to go, and then help you achieve real progress toward them

Reading Time: 4 minutes In our past column, we reviewed the habits of successful agricultural managers. One habit is that successful managers don’t just do strategic and operational planning, they translate their plans into action — i.e. they have a process to implement the plan. Like most farmers, many CTEAM participants have had little experience or training in planning […] Read more


Small SWOT, big ideas

Summer Business: This exercise to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can be a best next step for smaller farms

Reading Time: 4 minutes Over the last four years Ontario organic farmer and consultant David Cohlmeyer has completed over 20 business plans for smaller and medium-sized farms. But before doing a business plan, with updated budget, balance sheets, marketing plans and cash flow statements, Cohlmeyer works with the clients to do a SWOT analysis. “It’s a tool, a good […] Read more

Build a learning farm

This summer, start your lifelong educational strategy

Reading Time: 9 minutes Farmers always have their hands full, so it’s not always easy to think that signing up for a seminar, conference or training course is a wise investment or a good use of time. The business case, however, is pretty clearly in favour of doing just that. “If you look at it purely from an economist’s […] Read more