Tap potential young people offer

This final Bottom Line column brings back an entrepreneur who was featured about halfway through the column’s more than 10 year run. Greig Clark has a passion for helping young people realize their potential, and his insights apply as much to a farm as any other business. In 1971, an 18-year-old Clark founded College Pro […] Read more

Letting go allows focus on things that ‘move the yardsticks’

If you’re of a certain age, you have to shake your head when you reflect on how much farming has changed in just one generation. But what about you? How much have you changed? Are you still the hands-on guy who makes all the decisions in a business that has grown 10- or 20-fold since […] Read more

Bouncing back from a disaster takes more than grit

The fire started at 10 a.m. and burned for three days. But Ashley Chapman and his parents, Penny and David, didn’t spend much time watching their ice cream plant burn to the ground in 2009. They were on the phones. “By 4:30 p.m., our entire senior management team was at my parents’ kitchen table and […] Read more

Ditch labels, share ideas to build strong ag network

One neighbour helped her select the right tractor for vegetable farming. Another gave her an old two-row potato planter as an engagement present. Those sorts of neighbourly acts helped Lydia Ryall in her farming career. The fact that most producers in her area are conventional and she’s organic never enters the equation. “A good producer […] Read more

Small sideline can become major undertaking

Bonnie Cook agonized over charging an extra $1 to hem a pair of pants but never thought twice about launching a global business selling movie-inspired clothes. As well, she was actually relieved to learn she had it all backwards when it came to managing employees. These three moments are a condensed primer on how even […] Read more

Have those ‘difficult conversations’ to find solutions, harmony

For all their strengths, farms are notorious as places where things get left unsaid, and that’s a shame. Take, for example, the topic of control. Just mention that issue and watch Dad’s jaw muscles tighten and that look come into his eye. The “work comes first” attitude is another. How many spouses say silent prayers […] Read more

Young and ambitious: Here’s how you can get ahead

High grain prices haven’t just strengthened the balance sheet. They have also brought an infusion of youth into a sector where 40-year-olds are considered young farmers. However, will ambitious young people find that Mom and Dad aren’t so open to new ideas now that prices are dropping? Mike Fata hopes not. “Farming is no different […] Read more

Here’s why tomorrow is going to be a good day

This time, let’s get to the takeaway right off the top: savour life and be optimistic. “I just try to enjoy each day as it comes,” says Whitehorse farmer Rolland Girouard. “I still enjoy getting into the market garden, and getting down on my hands and knees to pull weeds. After I’ve done a row, […] Read more

Being a good listener can lead to positive outcomes

Fans of the Dragons’ Den know that the CBC television show lives up to its name: even normally polished entrepreneurs become flustered when grilled by the sharp-tongued venture capitalists. But the dragons were almost puppyish when Natasha and Elysia Vandenhurk appeared on the program in 2012, heaping praise on their premium camelina cooking oil, their […] Read more

How to make people want to do business with you

Everyone knows that a strong business plan is vital, but how do you make the best plan possible? By understanding what your would-be customers really want, says Ran Goel, who learned this lesson when he founded Toronto’s Fresh City in 2011. Four years as a Wall Street investment lawyer had made him sick of greed […] Read more