Gross margin efficiency benchmarks are important tool

Financial ratios can be useful tools to analyze farm business performance. A great example of this is gross margin efficiency. Expressed as a ratio, gross margin efficiency measures how efficiently a farm uses specific, productive inputs. To demonstrate, the calculation looks like this: gross margin divided by gross revenue equals gross margin ratio. Gross margin […] Read more

Make sure you are getting the best use out of your time

Here’s somewhat of a rhetorical question: what are you doing right now? And then a follow-on question: what should you be doing right now? The second question warrants some discussion. A farm business requires a considerable investment in capital — assets such as land, buildings, equipment, livestock and quota. However, an investment is also required […] Read more

Farm finances within family definitely worth investment

Few farmers wake up in the morning excited about the prospects of discussing farm finances with the family. This is especially true when the discussions involve the next generation. Farmers find these discussions difficult for many reasons: the topic encompasses a broad area and can include financial recordkeeping practices, purchase and sale decisions, capital investments, […] Read more


Less gross revenue being generated from capital assets

I recently made a presentation on financial benchmarking at Farm Management Canada’s Agricultural Excellence conference in Ottawa. I looked at data that we capture in our EAGLE farm business management software program. The program analyzes the financial performance of individual farms and aggregates the data from participating farms. Individual farms can compare their performance to […] Read more

Farm families need to define goals and outline a business strategy and structure to meet them.  |  FIle photo

Desired future, reality must align

There are two futures for farms and farm families. One is the future that is defined by what will happen, simply as a matter of course, year by year. The other is the future that is defined by what farm families set out to purposefully work to accomplish. One isn’t necessarily any better than the […] Read more


Use ratios and benchmarks to analyze performance

Before getting too far into “next year” thinking, it’s important to look at how you did financially in 2017. There are many reason why people farm. One of them though, must be to earn profit. Four key questions should be addressed: What profit did the farm earn in 2017? Profit has must be calculated on […] Read more

The little things add up when striving for farm efficiency

I’m going to start by telling a story about my youngest son. I dropped by the place he’s renting a couple of weeks ago. When I got out of the vehicle, I noticed three dimes on the driveway. I picked them up, happy with my discovery. When I met him inside, I mentioned my find. […] Read more

Transition planning: equitable is not the same as equal

Certain issues within the transition planning process might cause difficulties for some families. These challenges are often referred to as the ‘soft’ issues. They can be more difficult to deal with than the ‘hard’ or concrete issues such as taxation. I recently was in a farm family meeting about transitioning ownership and management when a […] Read more


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Feeling stressed? How to cope with the pressures of farming

There are numerous indicators showing that changes are happening in farm business management. Nothing too surprising about that. I experienced one recently when I had the opportunity to facilitate a peer group meeting. There were 12 people: some younger, others seasoned, representing eight farms. The change that I witnessed was the willingness of those at […] Read more

Investment decisions must be based on data, not hope

We go to trade shows across Western Canada throughout the year, and most recently attended Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina. We typically have a booth at the shows and look to talk to farmers and farm families about the opportunities, successes and challenges they experience in managing their businesses. It can be tricky to […] Read more