GFM Network News


Environmental, social and governance investing

Environmental, social and governance investing

Is it another new fad?

Business and investing fads come and go, much like other aspects of life. Those with merit last longer than others, while many fall into the trash bin of overhyped and bad ideas. Two decades ago, Six Sigma became a highly touted business concept, designed to reduce defect rates to less than 0.0003 per cent. I […] Read more

In this farm couple's case, there are two alternative strategies to cut taxes.

A couple looks for a low-tax route to turn their farm into retirement income

With no kids who want to take on the farm, a low-tax exit strategy is needed

A couple we’ll call Chuck, 68, and Liz, 66, farm 1,000 acres in south-central Manitoba. Their all-grain operation is profitable, but they want out. Their children, two middle-aged daughters, are not interested in farming. That leaves the sale of the farm as the best and only way for the couple to quit the business and […] Read more


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

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

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

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

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?

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

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