GFM Network News


The gardening craze even extended to apartment dwellers who grew salad greens in hanging baskets and potatoes and carrots in pots, said Shelley Batdorf (pictured with husband Roy) of Pots ’n’ Pansies Greenhouses and Garden Centre.

COVID-19 pandemic produces a bumper crop of novice gardeners

Whether it was growing their own food or beautifying the yard, gardening was hot in 2020

Greenhouses, garden centres and nurseries experienced a year like no other in 2020 as first-time gardeners took up trowels and hoes in unprecedented numbers. “Even if people had never planted before, they wanted to grow a garden,” said Tammy Meinecke, manager of Dunvegan Gardens in Grande Prairie. “Everybody was out planting seeds and trying to […] Read more

A Burkard spore trap (and the adhesive tape used to capture spores) is demonstrated in this County of Vermilion River video. It can be found on YouTube by searching for ‘vermilion river clubroot.'

As clubroot grows in strength, counties boost their defences

Six municipalities have banded together to boost surveillance and encourage farmers to be proactive

Six partnering municipalities in the northeast region have stepped up their clubroot monitoring and are running an enhanced clubroot surveillance program. “There’s a lot of presence of clubroot in the Edmonton region. There’s a lot more traffic in that area. That’s where it was first discovered and is prevalent,” said Hannah Musterer, agricultural services technician […] Read more


Producers, particularly in hard-hit northern areas, will need to pay closer attention to disease issues this year, said agronomist Kristina Polziehn. She pointed to situations like this one — a pea field near Valleyview (pictured in late July) — that saw very high levels of aphanomyces root rot after receiving nearly two times the amount of normal moisture.

What’s on your radar for the coming year?

Three agronomists share some lessons learned from 2020

It’s impossible to know what you might have learned if you had been able to go on farm tours or visit fellow producers last year. So getting crop intel heading into this year’s growing season will require tapping into your networks and asking others what’s on their radar. In that spirit, we asked three agronomists […] Read more

Scenes like this one from last year’s Prairie Cereals Summit used to be normal but with in-person meetings cancelled because of the pandemic, discussions on merging Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley have been drawn out.

Cereal groups’ amalgamation talks slowed by pandemic

Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat aiming to wrap up review of merger proposal in coming year

There’s no marriage proposal yet, but Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat want to get moving on what has become a longer-than-expected process on whether to amalgamate or not. “We’re just in the beginning stage of where it will go, and the timeline and how to communicate,” Dave Bishop, immediate past chair of the Alberta Barley […] Read more


Soil Biodiversity: What’s most important? features six characters who come to realize that all of their areas of study are key to a healthy soil ecosystem.

Soil scientists turned children’s authors win acclaim

Benjamin Ellert and Katelyn Lutes know a lot about soil, but knew nothing about writing children’s books. Until they wrote one. And now the two federal soil scientists can add ‘prize-winning children’s author’ to their resumés. The duo from Ag Canada’s Lethbridge research station recently won second prize in an international book contest run by […] Read more

Growing the national herd is the top goal for many in the cattle sector, and several Alberta industry leaders say the pieces are in place to make that happen.

There’s a payoff ahead for the cattle sector, say industry leaders

There are fewer cows and ranchers than 10 years ago, but that may change in the coming decade

After a decade in “cow politics” — and a lifetime in the cattle sector — Bob Lowe has a pretty straightforward wish for what he’d like to see in the coming decade. “I’d like to see Canada’s beef industry get bigger,” said the Nanton rancher and feedlot operator, who is also president of the Canadian […] Read more



In his chair’s report at Alberta Pork’s virtual AGM, Brent Moen used this chart to illustrate the financial woes of hog producers. The bottom (orange) line shows the price of hogs relative to 1996. It is basically flat while the Consumer Price Index (yellow line) has gone up more than 50 per cent and farm expenses (blue line) have more than doubled.

Beleaguered pork producers consider move to single desk

After years of losses, many will abandon the sector if things don’t change, says Alberta Pork

When it was wheat, Alberta led the fight to get rid of single-desk selling. But it’s a very different story when it comes to pork. Two-thirds of Alberta Pork producers voted in favour of investigating a single-desk marketing system similar to Quebec at their virtual annual general meeting held November 23. Thirty per cent voted […] Read more


In-person networking at farm shows is still on the back-burner for now, but there are online opportunities to be had if you’re prepared to reach out.

Don’t put your networking on hold because you can’t meet in person

Making new contacts is as important as ever — here are four tips for networking virtually

You won’t be able to schmooze at events and conferences this winter, but it’s still important to network. However, it’s not easy, said Darlene McBain, who used to travel frequently in her job as manager of industry relations for Farm Credit Canada. Trying to build a network at her computer during the lockdown just felt […] Read more