GFM Network News


Does Canada have enough young farmers?

The country has lost 70 per cent of the farmers in its under-35 category in just 25 years

There are encouraging signs all across the country. At the University of Manitoba’s School of Agriculture convocation this spring, 58 graduates took home their two-year diplomas. At Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph in Ontario, 267 crossed the stage in late May, and at Olds College in Alberta, another 81 diplomas were handed out […] Read more

Seven things to remember when preparing for a farm transition

Where is it written that your parents have to go south for the winter together? Many aging farmers like to visit the Sun Belt at this time of year to get rest, connect with friends and have some well-deserved fun. But what if one of your parents prefers to stay home? When both spouses cannot[...]
Read more


Help wanted

If the door is open for more women to take on more farm roles, it’s because we need them

Undoubtedly, some of the momentum that’s creating more opportunities for more women on Canada’s farms can be traced to various women’s movements over the past century. But not all of it. Not surprisingly, we should be praising the generations of farm parents who have provided great role models too. And yes, let’s admit that some[...]
Read more

On BreadRoot Farm at Canora, Sask., owners Al and Hélène Boyko are finding the new listing services are helping them connect with potential non-family successors. “If we had not found FarmLINK, I don’t know what we would have done,

No one in the family to take over the farm

Where there’s no clear successor, more farmers are looking for ways to sell to a young or new farmer from outside the family. It’s rarely easy, but new listing services and new financial strategies may mean it’s possible

We all know a farm in this situation. Mom and Dad always thought one of the children would stand up at some point and say, “I want the farm.” Now, the time has come for the parents to make retirement plans, and none of the kids is standing up. Or maybe it’s the flipside. Mom[...]
Read more


More together

Taking a group and multi-generational approach to upgrading their skills is paying off on the Woods farm

More farmers agree that the old saying has it about right: Failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s too easy to get off-course if you haven’t set your intentions and goals to paper. Besides, how do you track your success if you don’t have goals? Having completed a succession plan that lays the groundwork[...]
Read more

“When we sit around the board table today, everyone has a say.” – Adam Ireland, Teeswater, Ont.-area farmer.

Looking ahead to farming’s future investment

For Adam Ireland, farming means more than just growing a crop, it’s doing things the right way

These days, describing what it means to be a farmer is almost as challenging as, well, being a farmer. Part science, part art form, the job description also requires an expert understanding of agronomy, commodity markets, weather, emerging trends and technologies, consumer demand, environmental issues… the list goes on and on. And as if that’s[...]
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

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

Get over it

When succession talks start, it doesn’t take long for Dad to think everyone just wants to cut him down to size

It’s impossible to think about the transition of any business — and perhaps more so the family farm — without talking about the governance structure that is going to allow that farm business to operate, thrive and be sustainable for generations to follow. It’s easy to find. Just look for the fireworks. “The flashpoints usually[...]
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!

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

From left, the G.H. VanSickle & Sons farm team: Jake, Peter, Shawn and Josh.

Seamless transfers

This family farm corporation in Ontario has transferred four times since the ’60s and recently diversified with the purchase of a local grain elevator. Here’s how the VanSickles have done it, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way

Near the Grand River south of Brantford, Shawn VanSickle pulls under the shade of a big oak tree at the end of the field. He stops for a moment to reflect about how in 1966 his grandfather did something groundbreaking for the time — incorporated the family farm. Five decades later, G.H. VanSickle & Sons[...]
Read more