GFM Network News


The articles I’ve written that stick with me the most are those that inspired you to respond to them.

What can I say, but thank you

Reflections on 12 years as a columnist

Looking back through my files as I write my final column for this publication, I discovered the first article I wrote for Grainews dates back to 2008. When you say “2008,” it doesn’t seem that long ago, but the math tells another story! It’s been 12 years of you, the readers of Grainews, taking the […] Read more

What we thought would never happen has come to pass, now what?

Questions you should ask yourself in the new reality

The sooner you can figure out how the new reality is affecting your business, the quicker you can start putting together a plan on how to manage your business in the new reality and move forward. I’ve put together some questions you should be asking yourself in this new reality, including the following: If I […] Read more


What happened to those co-op grain elevator companies? Part 3

Grain co-op history and what marked the beginning of the end of those companies

The establishment of co-op organizations came out of the realization that people needed to work together for the benefit and betterment of everyone and the ability to join together to either sell or purchase needed products at fair value to ensure a decent living and livelihood for all involved. When the First World War broke […] Read more

How grain companies are changing the numbers: Part 2

Know grain handling and cleaning charges to negotiate better prices

In my last column, I discussed how total grain production and total grain exports have not increased dramatically over the last five years. So why are grain companies building new facilities over this same time period? Grain handling is a volume and numbers business. If grain companies don’t handle the volume, they need to “change […] Read more


New grain elevator builds over the past five years, why? Part I

Number crunches tell an interesting story of new facilities on the Prairies

For curiosity, I went onto the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) website and looked up the number of primary elevators by province on the Prairies back to 2012. I found the results interesting. The overall capacity continued to grow even during the initial number decline, which tells me that new, larger facilities were being built while […] Read more

When outside influences drive world markets, there are a number of ways to price your grain for next year.

Risk management in a chaotic world

How should you manage your price and production risk in a year when prices are unpredictable?

Impeachment trial, Israeli/Palestinian conflict, trade disputes, passenger planes being mistakenly shot down, countrywide rail blockades and a health epidemic that’s sending shock waves through world markets. How can you keep your farm from becoming a casualty of these unpredictable events? In previous articles, I’ve discussed how improving management practices can ensure your farm is running […] Read more


Seven strategies of successful farms

Focusing on costs, risks, and your farm’s budget and financial plan

I’ve been discussing the top seven practices of successful farm management. In this article, let’s focus on the last three. No. 5 on the list is knowing your cost of production. I break costs of production out into three components: direct, variable and fixed costs. Direct costs are those expenses that have a direct impact […] Read more

It’s important that your farm management team decides what the business of farming looks like on your farm.

Taking farm management to the next level – Pt. 2

Implementing your plan is where real change comes from

In this column, I’ll walk you through the first four of the seven key practices of successful farm managers. Let’s say your family members have taken personality and risk tolerance evaluations and discussed the results. This helped you clarify why some people react the way they do when making decisions or in stressful situations. This […] Read more


Field mapping with agronomic data and yield data will help you make better cropping decisions for the coming year.

Taking farm management to the next level – Part 1

For better results: know your own decision-making style and risk tolerance level

Every year is a learning year in the agriculture sector. The trick is to take the lessons learned and turn them into actions. Your success may be production-based, profit-based, financial, or managerial — as in improving the way you monitor your farm’s performance. Or, your success may be becoming a more sustainable and safe business. […] Read more

For those of you with crops still out in the fields, it's going to be a very busy spring.

Get the train wreck of harvest 2019 back on track

Brian Wittal offers advice on planning for the next season after a hard harvest

To say 2019 was a trying year for farmers across North America is an understatement. Regardless of how your harvest ended up, in the bin or the field, it is time to get a plan in place for the coming spring. If you were fortunate enough to finish harvest, you have less to worry about, […] Read more