GFM Network News


Don’t retire — ‘rewire’

Don’t retire — ‘rewire’

Retirement can be rich and rewarding. Or it can be deadly dull. The difference may be whether you connect with new resources and advisors

Reading Time: 7 minutes Some people can’t wait to retire. They have plans to replace the daily grind with more volunteering, more travel, more golf, more time with the grandkids, more time at the cottage, or whatever it may be that they don’t have the time to do now. But for others the thought of retirement is terrifying because […] Read more

“The previous generation is underused,” says psychologist Michael Rosmann. “If you could address that, it would make a significant contribution to agriculture.”

The retiring farmer

In the dictionary, to be “retiring” means to bow silently out. Now, one of North America’s top farm retirement experts, shares why it’s the wrong strategy for our older farmers

Reading Time: 6 minutes Retirement can be a daunting prospect for nearly everyone, especially if they have had a meaningful career. Still, the adjustment in agriculture really is more acute than in many other sectors. “In agriculture, we have the added problem of being tied closely to the land,” says Iowa psychologist, speaker, author and farmer Dr. Michael Rosmann. […] Read more


Darren and Carmen Sterling.

Selling the corporate farm

Darren and Carmen Sterling made the hard decision. 2019 would be their last crop. Then they would retire. But that’s when the real work began

Reading Time: 10 minutes When we talk about Canada’s aging farm owners, we generally talk about how best to pass the agricultural torch to sons and daughters or, more recently, about creative contortions to move the farm into the future with those who are not family — in short, succession planning. But is it still called succession when there […] Read more

“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