Latest articles


Easy-to-use guidelines to keep your children safe on the farm

The North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks is a helpful resource for parents, grandparents, and caregivers. “In Alberta between 1990 and 2013, there was a total of 75 agricultural-related fatalities of children under the age of 15 — this is an average of three deaths per year,” said Janice Donkers, provincial farm safety youth co-ordinator. Similar U.S. statistics prompted the creation of […] Read more


What’s fair when it comes to renting farmland?

There are two common methods for determining fair rent — and neither involves coffee-shop talk

How do you know if the rent you’re paying — or charging — for farmland is fair and reasonable? “Often, people use what others are charging or paying in the local area,” said farm business management specialist Dean Dyck. “Following this approach has pitfalls because the rate may not be reflective of the soil productivity […] Read more



Find the key numbers that tell the tale

Using financial indicators and benchmarks gives you the straight goods on how your operation is doing

Some easy-to-calculate ratios can give you a quick idea of the health of your farm or ranch. “The Simple Farm Ratio Analyzer is a shortcut Excel program that takes just eight key financial entries and calculates financial ratios for the farm/ranch and colour codes them in comparison to industry benchmarks,” said Rick Dehod, a provincial […] Read more


What was the real bottom line on your farm in 2017?

Cash accounting can save you taxes, but it doesn’t give you a true picture of profitability

Was your farm profitable in 2017? Now is the time to find out by converting cash statements to accrual income and expenses statements, says a provincial farm financial specialist. “The majority of farms still report their incomes and expenses on a cash basis via their annual income tax returns with the goal of avoiding or […] Read more



How a business plan helps get ‘cash flow rolling’

It’s easy to get sidetracked when starting a new venture so you need a plan to follow the money, says adviser

A written business plan is key to the long-term success of any business, especially a new venture. “Putting the plan to paper will show you how much startup cash you’ll need in order to generate income,” said new venture specialist Jan Warren. “If you don’t know the startup costs of your venture, you can easily […] Read more


Advance registration now required for obtaining carbon credits

A new rule means producers must register with an aggregator by May 1 to obtain a carbon credit for this crop year

An important change has come to Alberta’s Carbon Offset System. Farmers must be registered with an aggregation company prior to May 1 or they will not be able to claim credits for the 2018 year for the Conservation Cropping protocol, the main offset that farmers currently use. This is a change from previous years, when […] Read more



Greenhouse advances saving operators big dollars

New state-of-the-art designs are halving energy costs, but even ‘simple things’ make a difference

Improved construction materials and design are making greenhouses more efficient and cheaper to operate, says a provincial horticulture specialist. “Greenhouses have traditionally been energy-intensive operations, but with increasing scrutiny and slowly shrinking margins, producers need to find ways of trimming costs wherever possible,” said Dustin Morton. For example, research by Silke Hemming of Wageningen University […] Read more


Cold weather is an ideal time for pruning diseased trees

Black knot and fire blight can be easily spread when it’s warm but not in winter

Very few people think of pruning in the dead of winter, but it’s probably the best time when it comes to trees infested with black knot and fire blight. “The beauty of winter pruning is that there are no leaves, and you will have a clear picture where to prune,” said Toso Bozic, a provincial […] Read more



Lethbridge egg processor gets cracking with safety certification

The five-year-old co-operative expects its new HACCP status to open the door to new markets

When you think of Alberta eggs going to market, you might think of consumers in the grocery store putting a dozen or two in their cart and heading home. But most of the eggs at the grocery store are the large or extra-large grades, which leaves a significant surplus of lower-demand eggs in the small- […] Read more


Hoe, hoe, hoe — guess what gardeners want from Santa?

Here are some gift ideas for folks with green thumbs

It’s a long way off to gardening season, but Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has several publications that might be a perfect fit for the gardener on your Christmas list. Alberta Yards and Gardens ($15): unbiased information on selecting ornamental trees and shrubs, lawns, small fruits and berries, flowers, vegetables, herbs and even water plants. The […] Read more