GFM Network News


“In your 60s, it’s about starting over,” says family coach Elaine Froese. “In your 70s it’s about legacy building, and in your 80s it’s being a wise mentor.”

Farm hobby

Non-farmers earn smiles and sometimes smirks when they move to the country to hobby farm, but their basic idea is sound. A hobby is great for all of us, especially as we age

Reading Time: 8 minutes It’s no surprise that active farmers say they don’t have time for hobbies or outside interests, especially if they’ve also got young families. But as the years go by, the price begins to show, both in quality of life and also — as more and more research shows — in the quality of your decision-making […] Read more

“We have a strong connection to our land,” says Howard Besser, with wife Jannette. “It’s hard to up and sell.” A phased approach proved to be their best answer.

Winding down: How will Canada’s aging farmers sell their land?

As the Besser family discovered, it can pay to play the long game

Reading Time: 5 minutes In 2011, Howard and Jannette Besser found themselves at a crossroads. The pair, who farmed 3,000 acres near Plumas, Man., had reached their 50th birthdays, their sons were not interested in farming, and they could see they’d have to start purchasing bigger, newer equipment if they wanted to carry on. “We decided to step out,” […] Read more


Family Through Succession: Aligning the Hunter family vision

"In the end, we all want the same thing,” Bruce says. “I just don’t see how we can make everyone happy.”

Reading Time: 7 minutes Last month, our first article introduced the Hunter family and their journey through farm succession. The Hunters aren’t a real family; you won’t find them in a phone book. But they are real in that they’re based on our real-life experience consulting with farm families. You’ll find families like the Hunters across the country. Through […] Read more

Talking about your future plans and how you want to grow is important.

Getting inside a retiring farmer’s head

Knowing the questions that your older neighbours are asking themselves as they start winding down their farms could give you the inside track

Reading Time: 9 minutes Mom and Dad just had coffee with their neighbour, talking about how it’s time to start preparing for retirement. Not just thinking about it, but actually doing it. They’re only a fenceline apart, but they’re in very different situations, though, which for farmers in the area who want to expand could make all the difference. […] Read more


After the first time that farmers visit with the social group, Jill Rennie says she doesn’t have any trouble getting them to come back.

Retired farmers show they have a lifetime to share

Support for these farmers stopped the moment they left the farm, until Jill Rennie developed this innovative dementia support group

Reading Time: 8 minutes Retiring from the farm can have a massive impact on farmers’ mental and physical health. It can seem the lucky ones are those who can still live on the farm site, do a few odd jobs, run some errands or help out at busy times. Indeed, the ones who end up moving away from the […] Read more

Selling land and inventory as soon as possible is not the best financial approach when winding down a farm business.

When the time comes to downsize

To paraphrase Canadian country singer Corb Lund, perhaps you have decided that everything is NOT better with cows around

Reading Time: 4 minutes Maybe it is time to consider gracefully exiting your farm business. There could be multiple reasons for the decision: just one too many tough harvests; an terrible spring for calving out cows like the one Alberta and Saskatchewan saw in 2018; children who genuinely have no desire to carry on the farm business; or perhaps, […] Read more


The ‘succession effect’

Setting transition as a goal for your farm can spur growth and profitability, until about three-quarters of the way through

Reading Time: 5 minutes All farmers, no matter where they farm in the world, share certain characteristics. They are all born worriers, and they all have lots to worry about — weather, crop prices, markets. And on top of the day-to-day production issues, and the management challenges involved in running today’s complex farm operations, farmers also have a lot […] 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


Research is showing a new trend among farm retirees is finding something rewarding to do, which may involve doing something they’ve delayed due to career or family responsibilities.

‘Redirection’

Is it better to keep farming into your 70s, or to retire off the farm in your early 60s? New research suggests that what you may really need is a rewarding change of direction

Reading Time: 8 minutes It’s easy to see the two pincers coming together, at least when you look at farming from a national perspective. The average Canadian farmer is 55, on the one hand, and the average Canadian retires at 62 on the other. But let’s put a best-case face on it. For self-employment Canadians — the category that […] 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