GFM Network News


Jordan Dahmer and Tom Teichroeb.

The power of mentorship in agriculture

Mentorship is emerging as agriculture’s key strategy for keeping Canada a world-class place to farm. What could be in it for you?

Reading Time: 8 minutes To be at the top of their game in the 2020s, today’s young and mid-career farmers must excel at growing crops and raising livestock. That’s hard enough, given all the new technologies that neither they nor their parents have ever seen. And that’s just a start. To secure their futures in a world with a […] Read more

Good listening is more than simply hearing what's said; it's also the art of hearing what's not being said.

Trailblazing (Part 3): Family leadership — all together now!

A good leader knows how to deal with feelings honestly without harming other family members

Reading Time: 3 minutes Of our 96 living decedents on my father’s side, most show up for our annual family Christmas party. It is a fun affair with games, crafts, sharing, potluck dinner and a dance. Our history covers the walls of the hall in documents and photographs. It’s our “not to be missed” event of the year. For […] Read more


Bev Shewchuk with her daughter Stacey and granddaughter, Georgia.

Turning girls into farmers

Should you raise daughters differently to succeed at farming? This mother, daughter and granddaughter know their answer

Reading Time: 9 minutes No matter how progressive we think agriculture is becoming for ourselves, for our wives and for our daughters, there’s still a prevalent attitude that farming is “men’s work.” Now a new ethos is gaining ground, and anyone who subscribes to the men’s-work way of thinking is being asked — well, ordered really — to get […] Read more

The right recipe for success? Talking with someone who knows your business and the businesses you are in, but is at arm’s-length from the emotion.

Opinion: Winning with help from a mentor

Reading Time: 4 minutes The editor at Country Guide asked, “After meeting someone who could be a potential mentor, what makes a farmer pursue a full mentorship? When do they make the decision, and why? What is the impact of the relationship for themselves and their business? How do we relate this to leadership?” I didn’t have the answers […] Read more


Leadership on the farm — empowerment

Part two in a five-part series on successful farm leadership

Reading Time: 4 minutes Leadership surrounds me in my daily work with farm families across Ontario. One thing our succession conversations always circle back to is leadership, both in theory and in practice (and as we all know, the practice part is the difficult part.) We are still learning to wrap our heads around what collaborative leadership looks like […] Read more

Growing good leaders requires proper mentoring so they can gain the confidence and understanding needed to succeed.

Seeing eye to eye

Part one in a five-part series on successful farm leadership

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are shelves full of books and articles on leadership, yet it can still be a struggle to apply their principles on our farms and to decide who leads and how. Even so, today’s farmers must recognize that fewer than one third of family-owned businesses succeed to the next generation, and we must learn to […] Read more


It’s a big commitment of time for everybody,” Ben Campbell says of his mentorship experience. But there are benefits for every aspect of the farm, and for your farm relationships too.

A better way to learn

What’s the best way to choose a great mentor? Three young farmers share their thoughts on how their mentors helped them get a solid career start, and how other young farmers could benefit from a more flexible approach to on-farm learning

Reading Time: 9 minutes Ben Campbell thought participating in a mentorship program could probably provide fresh insight into how to improve his grass-fed beef operation. Or possibly it could expose him to new business practices and stronger management techniques. So by the end of the year-long program, it came as a surprise to the Alberta rancher when he realized […] Read more

The leader’s job

Summer Business: Boehringer Ingelheim’s Susan Blair shares how lessons from the farm help in the corporate world, and how lessons from the boardroom can make a big difference back on the farm

Reading Time: 7 minutes [Updated April 27, 2017] Susan Blair makes her point. An organization has a much better chance of success, she says, when leadership gives clear direction to their teams about what they’re working toward and how they’re expected to achieve it. But then she follows through, because in Blair’s view, that kind of success demands leaders […] Read more


Farmers like B.C.’s Chris Bodnar are becoming mentors in areas ranging from new crops to financial management. But in all those areas, Bodnar says, it’s essential that the personal fit is good, and the expectations are clear.

The right mentor

More young farmers could get a career-expanding lift from a great mentor. Could that be you?

Reading Time: 9 minutes As a lifelong farmer and accomplished entrepreneur, Alberta-based rancher and author Brenda Schoepp knows a thing or two about operating a thriving business. And it turns out she knows a thing or two about mentorship as well. As a mentor, what she understands is that success isn’t about giving young farmers the answers to their […] Read more

Tom Towers (l) was looking to retire, but wanted to ensure their farm would live on. Blake Hall wanted to farm, but didn’t have the equity. With the help of legal agreements, an outside facilitator, and a commitment to open communication, each is reaching their goal.

Taking the farm beyond the family

It takes smarts and determination to use your farm to help a new farmer get their start, but the rewards can be deeply satisfying

Reading Time: 9 minutes Four years ago, Tom and Margaret Towers were facing a dilemma that’s becoming increasingly common for farm couples as they move into what are politely called their senior years. The Towers knew they couldn’t continue to manage alone forever, and they also knew they wouldn’t want to leave the farm near Red Deer, which they’d […] Read more