GFM Network News


One thing I’ve learned is that video conferencing is actually a satisfactory way to communicate.

Toban Dyck: Redefining face-to-face contact

The tech we’ve been forced to adopt is actually useful

There’s no substitute for face-to-face contact. I have believed in this adage for a long time. I felt it was a good perspective to balance the trend among younger generations that have trouble picking up a phone or going to someone’s house. Also, it’s often the default argument in favour of going to a conference […] Read more



Toban Dyck: Daily update

This quick note is not profound, but it does amazing work

I send my dad a farm update every weekday morning. This is a new habit, and I love it. I suspect he doesn’t mind, either. I’m proud to be at a stage in my farming trajectory where I am able to observe and articulate priorities in a way that lets those around me know I’ve […] Read more

Toban Dyck: Do you know your cost of production?

If there ever was a year for a detailed budget, it’s this one

He leaned over and said, “Do you know what one of the biggest issues facing farmers is?” I’m paraphrasing. I didn’t have my notepad out and open. I had no way of knowing that I would be talking about such heady stuff, given where we were. We were both waiting for the same prop plane […] Read more


Toban Dyck: No lightning strike, no eureka moment — only incremental growth

Lessons learned from AAFC research scientist Robert Conner

I asked Dr. Robert Conner to choose one eureka moment in his 38-year career as a research scientist and describe it to me. It was a simple question. His answer was unexpected. I had the distinct honour of interviewing Conner, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist, for an article I was writing for Pulse […] Read more

Toban Dyck: Voting yes or no to amalgamation

Farmers vote to create the Manitoba Crop Alliance from five commodity groups

I had no idea which way the vote would go. I knew there were people in favour and I also knew there were some opposed and I was pretty sure they would be vocal. This year’s CropConnect Conference in Winnipeg had a layer of complexity and drama to it. At five of the commodity group […] Read more


Toban Dyck: Expanding your knowledge to learn new things

Leaning new things expand your horizons, if you can leave your comfort zone

If you’re like me and you prefer to learn things on your own terms, Google Alerts are an eye-opening exploration into a deep well of information, the bounds of which seem only to be limited by imagination. This was my experience, anyway. This is not a new service. Google Alerts have been around for a […] Read more

'Purchasing loyalties is a common political manoeuvre and not really one worth noting, save for the principle behind it and its relevance to what’s going on in Canadian agriculture.' – Toban Dyck

Toban Dyck: Can loyalty be bought?

Loyalty is trumping common sense in today’s trade environment

U.S. President Donald Trump’s new trade deal with China is an attempt to buy loyalty and in Canada, it’s dividing consumers and farmers. Trump recently signed a trade deal with Beijing, exciting farmers and hopefully breathing new life into a sleepy marketplace. The hope that farmers cling to — myself included — is that someone […] Read more


At the time of writing, Toban Dyck was days away from finalizing the purchase of 120 acres of cultivated land – and he has a few thoughts on it.

Toban Dyck: Taking the plunge and writing a cheque for farmland

Even for those who want to be risk averse, buying land is a test of attitudes

My wife and I, the corporate collective registered as Burr Forest Acres Ltd., are not averse to risk. This is the adage we repeat to ourselves regularly on the hope that one day we’ll believe ourselves at a deep, foundational level. We are days away from finalizing the purchase of 120 acres of cultivated land. […] Read more

Farmers have a lot to say on a variety of issues, and right now there’s a real sense in the ag sector to be loud.

Toban Dyck: Do we have too many speakers in agriculture?

Let’s use the snow rotation to think about what we want to say, and how

“Snow rotation” is a phrase I still hear from time to time. When I first heard it, the person explaining it laughed. The phrase is out of vogue, but there’s something to the idea that Canada’s winters have a restorative power. A few cold days, a bit of snow, a break from work and almost […] Read more