GFM Network News


After a decade in agriculture, these new farmers weigh in

Having completed their first decade, Adam and Amy Petherick, with son Lucas, take stock. They’ve met hopes, challenges, successes. What’s next?

Reading Time: 11 minutes About 2010, the tide turned. Or, the tides, with an “s.” Agriculture had finally left the gruelling 1990s behind, leading to an uptick in twenty-somethings with a realistic shot of making it on the farm. But it was also clear that this new generation was never going to start their careers the way their parents […] Read more

The Mathis farm from front, with the alpine terrain that adds to the farm challenge.

Young and farming in Austria

Our agricultures are utterly different. But could Austrian strategies for helping young farmers work in Canada too?

Reading Time: 7 minutes Clouds shroud the mountains in grey, and snow covers the cherry trees and the pastures. “You’re missing a spectacular alpine view,” comments Jakob Mathis, wiping his hands on his jeans before shaking hands. They’ve just finished trimming hooves on the heifers. Mathis leads the way into the large old farmhouse, stopping by the newly renovated […] Read more


Tara Sawyer, centre, with husband Matt, right, and from left, Quin, Emmett and Cassidy.

At the edge

Five strategies that the new generation of farmers are embracing to take their farm businesses to the next level

Reading Time: 6 minutes “A wise person once said to me ‘if you don’t stretch, you don’t grow.’” That’s straight from Jake Ayre, the chair of Manitoba Young Farmers who crops 1,900 acres north of Minto together with his parents Heather and Andrew, sister Caitlin and an employee. It’s become his mantra, and a mission. “Be open-minded and try […] Read more

For Craig (left), David, Ryan and Brian, and for the entire family, the path to succession has focued on merging the lessons of two and a half centuries of family history with the realities of running an efficient, profitable farm operation.

The 10th generation farm

In central Nova Scotia, Cornwallis Farms has been in the same family for nine generations. So how are they planning for David’s arrival, and the start of a whole new chapter?

Reading Time: 8 minutes Thinking back to 2011, David Newcombe told his family that they’d missed a milestone on their farm — and a chance to throw a big party. But another chance will come. “In 2061 we’ll have a 300-year anniversary,” says Newcombe, now 28. That’s a lot of confidence, yet on this farm, you might say they’ve […] Read more


Left to right: Kelcie Miller-Anderson, Brendon Hebor (former YAS delegate, current YAS ambassador and co-founder of Ripple Farms), Grace Heuver, Leah Davidson, Karly Rumpel, Emmett Sawyer, Komie Hossini (associate communications business partner — Bayer Cropscience Canada).

Ag leaders for tomorrow

It will take innovative thinking to solve our global ag and food problems. Think it can’t be done? Read on

Reading Time: 9 minutes How do we feed a hungry world? That was the question posed to 100 young people, 18 to 25 years old, from 45 countries when Bayer CropScience brought them together in Brasilia, Brazil, for the 4th biannual Youth Ag Summit in November. It is a critical question. Amid all the numbers a farmer sees every […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: The breathtaking nerve of young farmers

Despite the tangle of current farm issues, nothing matters more in this fall’s federal election than how we encourage more young farmers to get find their feet

Reading Time: 2 minutes It was only a few years ago when, in every group of farmers, someone could be relied on to shake their heads and complain that the upcoming generation of Canada’s young farmers was marked by nothing so much as its sense of entitlement. Too many of us were too fast to see young farmers standing […] Read more


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

Reading Time: 17 minutes 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

Owen Fijala of Manitoba was only 16 years old when he set his sights on dairy farming.

Early days

How young is too young to make major farm decisions? Meet Owen Fijala, and get ready to rethink your assumptions

Reading Time: 11 minutes Just like any farm kid, Owen Fijala grew up helping out on the family grain farm near Manitou in south-central Manitoba. Things got a bit different, though, when he got a part-time job helping out a neighbouring beef farmer and he began to get interested in livestock production as well. He’d kept his eyes open, […] Read more


The Badiou family is well into the process of transitioning the family farm to the next generation.

Impressing Mom and Dad

There’s more reason than ever for farm kids to prove to Mom and Dad that they’ve got what it takes to be trusted with the farm. Question is: do the kids realize it?

Reading Time: 10 minutes Transitioning the family farm to the next generation is never easy. But how much harder when the parents have their doubts whether their next generation has the skills or the personality to manage the operation? On more and more farms, the wise thing would be for the kids to set out to prove to Mom […] Read more

Alexis Wagner and Cameron Olson have two different approaches about the future of food.

The youth solution for feeding the world

Young aggies like Cameron Olson and Alexis Wagner know that feeding a hungry planet will be the challenge of their lifetimes, which is why they’re so ready to listen even to those with seemingly unfriendly views

Reading Time: 7 minutes More than 1,000 18- to 25-year-olds from 95 countries submitted essays to qualify for the third Youth-Ag Summit held this past October in Belgium, with 100 delegates actually getting a ticket. Among them were four young Canadians. Sponsored by Bayer, the summit gave youth an opportunity to discuss one of the most pressing questions the […] Read more