Important for farm families to be on same values page

If you find that you are regularly disappointed in things not getting done the way you’d like, it could be because not everyone on the team is working from the same set of core values. Values are core to what your farm business is and what you and your family cherish. Values are traits or […] Read more

Desired end states are statements that define where we want our business to be in the future.  |  File photo

Planning helps gain better understanding of the future

I wrote an article in November 2017 about two possible future states for farm families. One is the future shaped by what will happen simply as a matter of course. The other is the future formed by what farm families set out to purposefully work to accomplish. If your preference is with the latter, an […] Read more

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A strategic pause can sometimes be the best strategy

Do you ever have an idea? Something that you think about, something that keeps coming back to you again and again, until you finally decide to do something about it and then put plans in place to make it a reality. At its simplest form, this is strategy. The detail required in the planning (the […] Read more


Farm business management challenges same all over

I recently attended the International Farm Management Association 2019 Congress in Launceston, Tasmania, in Australia. Sessions and presentations were focused on addressing global issues and opportunities, such as demand for food, capacity to increase supply to meet the demand, future issues and roles of government. Then the sessions drilled down into the implications of new […] Read more

Pay attention to financial management — all the time

There are two times when farmers should pay attention to their business’s financial management — when they have a gazillion dollars in the bank and when they have no money in the bank. In other words, all the time. I’ll start with a generalization and a caveat. First, the generalization — my observations over time […] Read more


Defining critical issues helps farmers achieve a vision

We’re nicely into January. How are you making out with your New Year’s resolutions? I managed to escape the ritual this year. We had a bunch of family visiting and everyone got busy and we forgot to make our yearly declarations. On the plus side, that means I haven’t had to break my resolutions. Accountability […] Read more

Take time to know where current prosperity originated

Some farms have had a couple of tough years with weather not co-operating. For many, and for a second year in a row, average-type yields have been achieved with very little in the way of moisture. I think it is testament to advances in farmers’ abilities to grow a crop. But there are a different […] Read more

‘Theft of time’ can damage farm’s financial performance

I had an interesting discussion a couple of weeks ago with someone who works in a large not-for-profit organization. The management team in the organization had just finished working through a planning session. Part of the focus of the session was on roles, responsibilities, work plans and desired outcomes. It was pretty typical: who has […] Read more


Applying sound management practices during tough times helps ensure that financial challenges are as short-lived as possible.  |  Getty images

It’s important to get on top of financial difficulties early

When you’re a farmer, it doesn’t take long to slip into financial difficulty. Management decisions in the 1980s, 1990s and into the early 2000s — especially around debt — helped contribute to degrees of financial hardship. The problems were often compounded by factors outside a farmer’s control, including low commodity prices, high interest rates and […] Read more

Human resource management is now vital to successful farms.  |  Getty images

Leadership role increasingly important on today’s farms

There are aspects of managing farms today that didn’t appear on the radar screen in years past. One such aspect is human resource management. It wasn’t that long ago when the broader function of managing human resources on a farm did not warrant a lot of attention. This has changed. Even for more modest operations, […] Read more