GFM Network News

Financial issues consistently cause the most stress for Canadians, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.

A step-by-step guide to get control of your farm finances

Understand the 4E money strategy and the nine key drivers that affect financial wellness

According to surveys completed by FP Canada in 2014, 2018 and 2020, one factor consistently causes the most stress for the most Canadians. As you can probably guess, that factor is money, outranking other top stress factors like personal health, work and relationships by wide margins. Why it matters: The most important financial decisions are […] Read more

Intend to pass on your farm? There’s still time to plan and avoid large taxes

A farmer discovers a huge tax liability as he plans to transfer the farm to his nephew

In central Manitoba, a man we’ll call Harry, 81, has retired from a former life actively farming what was four quarters of grain. As Harry’s end of life comes into view, he wants to ensure that his sole heir, a nephew we’ll call Sam, does not wind up with a farm reduced or impoverished by […] Read more

The dangers of cheap money

Interest rates at historical lows could pose future problems for farmers

For farmers burdened with heavy debts, historically low interest rates can seem to be salvation. Lower payments for equipment, for land loans, for bills past due — it’s life support for financially squeezed farms and, for that matter, for most other kinds of business other than banks and other lenders, which can’t get much profit […] 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

The Sky is not falling, Part 2

Free markets are best equipped to find solutions to global problems

Developed economies operate under a democratic, capitalist, free-market system. Developing countries often have socialist, autocratic, controlled-market systems — although many are becoming freer. It seems obvious to me which system is superior, yet the continuing tug on free-market economies is towards socialism, because “profit” is considered a dirty word implying that one party took advantage […] Read more

Is your farm doing cash, accrual, or no budgeting?

Farm Management: Budget planning hasn’t kept pace with today’s farm value, size, or complexity

Our firm, Stark & Marsh, uses benchmarking as a tool to compare farm financial performance. The average southwest Saskatchewan incorporated farm we benchmark is 4,000 acres. Between inputs, machinery and land, costs can meet and exceed $300/acre. Costs of $300/acre multiplied by 4,000 acres equals an annual expense budget of $1.2 million dollars. This number […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: Estate planning for the very long term

This tree farmer’s crop will take decades to mature, but tax planning is still key

David, a name we’re giving to a tree farmer in eastern Ontario, is 83. His wife passed away some years back. He converted a 47-acre former hay and horse farm to trees. Now there are 25,000 trees growing, a crop that, given natural mortality, he is unlikely to see mature. The trees are varied, including […] Read more

How to ask your lender for money when you need it

Having a business plan that tells your farm’s story increases your chance of success with lenders

In the first article in this series, I introduced several options available to farmers experiencing financial difficulties. I advised farmers to address financial issues sooner rather than later and not to lay blame on anyone or anything (like the weather). In the second article, I presented an example of using debt restructuring and asset sales […] Read more

Family sees four options to get farm finances on track

If you’re in financial trouble, address the problem without abandoning your goals

Farmers facing financial issues should address these issues as soon as they occur. In this case, Joe and Sally saw a potential problem and took steps to find a way forward. Although this example is a small farm, the issues and options are equally applicable to larger operations. A farm couple that we will call […] Read more