GFM Network News


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


Flood warning

Will Canada’s land market drown in a torrent of new listings as more farmers get to retirement age? The truth is… nobody knows

Reading Time: 9 minutes We’ve all heard the predictions. They say that with so many of our farmers reaching their 60s and 70s all at the same time, we’re soon going to see the biggest rush of land onto the market that this country has ever witnessed. Will it happen? Will the land market get flooded sometime in the […] 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