GFM Network News


Alec and Shelby Boekhoven farm with Alec’s parents near Appin in southwestern Ontario.

The next farm generation steps up

On this farm, transition planning made real gains once the younger generation learned how to take their role in the process

Reading Time: 11 minutes Alec Boekhoven had turned over at 2 a.m., fretting about ways to reduce feed costs on his family’s 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation. Eventually he drifted off on the couch, which is where his son Evan discovered him and woke him up early. It’s why Alec brought his three-year-old with him to do chores, and it also […] Read more

Seven rules of behaviour for family farm teams

When the next generation comes home, Elaine Froese says families can set up some rules of engagement right away so everyone knows and can operate within that culture. When new people join the team, it can help to clarify expectations. “Culture is the invisible glue that holds the farm and the family together. It is[...]
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Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Six ingredients of an ideal farm successor

Reading Time: 2 minutes Several articles in our May/June issue of Country Guide examine what may be the toughest question of all. Does your farm’s next generation have what it’s going to take to succeed in 2050? Fortunately, science can help. I’ve suggested before in this space that as farms continue their likely evolution in asset value and in[...]
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Younger generations often don’t know where they stand regarding a farm transition and may feel reluctant to address the issue.

How do you know when the younger generation is ‘ready’?

AME Management: How succession can be successfully planned

Reading Time: 5 minutes A tough question for any family business is how to know when the next generation is equipped to take over management decisions. Like many other things, the answer is often lost in a range of factors, not least the attitudes of the individuals in the family. My experience is that many families have unresolved “stuff”[...]
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In the family’s new pack barn, daughter Cate McCorquodale is experiencing their transition planning partly from her perspective as a lawyer. “It takes time to get all the pieces in place,” she says. “It’s not just about transferring ownership.”

Legal insights into transition planning

Today it’s getting even more critical to keep up with your legal documents all through your business planning and succession discussions

Reading Time: 9 minutes At 45,000 sq. feet the new dairy pack barn is impressive, especially the way it captures the spirit of hope that fills the McCorquodale family at Embro, Ont. With the next generation waiting in the wings, their barn represents their shared belief in their future, complete with robotic milking system and the latest in cow-comfort[...]
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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[...]
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“My experience in agriculture is lifelong, and the MBA has definitely helped me weave my way through my career off-farm and on the farm,” Steve Koeckhoven says.

Making a leader

As farms get bigger and more complex, more farmers like Steve Koeckhoven are drawing leadership insights from other business sectors

Reading Time: 9 minutes When we think of strong leaders we often leap to examples like politicians, sport coaches and the CEOs of large corporations, so it’s little surprise that our ideas of leadership can be mixed in with the skills it takes to manage large groups of employees, or to chair meetings or grab the microphone like a[...]
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Transition to better communication

How better succession planning can lead to better decision-making and less conflict

Reading Time: 8 minutes Too many times, farm succession planning starts with a series of useless, dead-end and sometimes volatile meetings. Someone erupts into tears, someone else mutters some nasty words in anger and frustration and all our hopes crash in flames. No wonder we are afraid of stirring up this toxic mess of emotions. We’re supposed to be[...]
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In separate interviews, when Justin Funk’s team asked who makes cropping decisions, parents and “children” both put up their hands. And both were right.

Success story

A new survey shows our farmers actually are finding ways to transition their farms to the next generation

Reading Time: 6 minutes There’s encouraging news from a fresh survey of multi-generational farms in Canada and the U.S. Amid all the debate that the 2016 ag census has generated about whether farmers are actually getting serious about Canada’s huge farm succession challenge, this survey shows that many farms are getting on with the job just fine, thanks. No[...]
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Which joint venture will work for you?

AME Management: Building a business structure that works for your farm

Reading Time: 6 minutes The whole world acknowledges the brilliance of Albert Einstein. He is famous for his discoveries about relativity and the pull of gravity, and for his equation E=mc2, which says that the increased relativistic mass (m) of a body times the speed of light squared (c 2) is equal to the kinetic energy (E) of that[...]
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