Latest articles


Raise a glass of banana beer — this popular fruit will endure

U of A’s Stan Blade says the world’s most popular fruit will survive — in some form or another

Don’t worry, be happy — the banana is not going extinct. And an Alberta plant scientist is helping to ensure that. “I think we will always have bananas,” said Stan Blade. But, he added, they might be quite a bit different — such as much smaller and red or purple in colour. “My view of […] Read more


African farms are vastly different but share common bonds

Subsistence farming is still the norm in Africa, but agriculture is the 
key to changing its economic fortunes

Africa is a world apart but as in Canada, farming is increasingly being recognized as a key driver of economic growth. “There’s no other way to fight poverty than to create wealth,” South African farmer Theo de Jager told an international gathering of farm journalists here last month. “And there’s no other sector in this […] Read more



There’s a lot to love about Sussex cattle — but try finding any

Sussex cattle thrive in countries as diverse as England, South Africa, and Australia, but haven’t made it to Canada

I recently toured a South African farm that is home to the country’s most highly valued Sussex bull — a beautiful stud that recently appeared on the cover of one of the nation’s leading agricultural publications. South Africa is in the worst drought in 100 years, so bad that cattle farmers in other provinces have […] Read more


Start succession planning with a conversation — and then keep talking

Trent Clark has heard many succession ‘horror stories’ and is making sure 
that everyone in his family is on the same page

Planning for Profits Working on your farm management skills is like exercising — it pays big benefits, but it’s easy to push it off for another day. Only one-third of producers use business advisers or risk management tools, and fewer still do HR, succession, or strategic planning. To help make your farm more profitable (and […] Read more



Alberta dairy producers concerned but calm over threats, says farm leader

Alberta Milk takes attacks from U.S. president seriously but its members aren’t panicking, says group’s chair

Alberta dairy producers take President Donald Trump’s threats against Canadian dairy seriously, but they aren’t in a panic, says the chair of Alberta Milk. “I think we need to take this threat seriously because what we’re seeing from the U.S. administration is an administration that is unpredictable,” said Tom Kootstra, who farms near Ponoka. The […] Read more


UNHARVESTED ACRES: Farmers scrambling to avert a second wreck

If your crop is a writeoff you need an insurance assessment — but you need to get out on the land to get a sample first

Time is running out for producers trying to deal with unharvested — and unsalvageable — acres. And the situation could become a train wreck for many of them if the province’s crop insurer can’t speed up its assessments, say farm groups. “Within certain regions, I would say that dire is an apt description because there […] Read more



New board put in charge of province’s scandal-plagued crop insurer

Many well-known faces in the ag community are on the new board of the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation

Ten months after dismissing the board of directors of the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation, Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier has finally named its replacements. And the board’s first action will be to find a new chief executive officer to replace one who was suspended with pay last June after the provincial auditor found a host of […] Read more


Hog producers learning how to get the most out of group housing

Animal welfare concerns about gestation stalls have driven the move to group housing, 
but researcher says productivity doesn’t have to suffer

While the adoption of group sow housing was driven by consumers, the pork sector isn’t skipping a beat when it comes to making it work. “Through science, we have been able to show that you can achieve comparable, if not better, productivity through the group housing setting,” swine behaviour and welfare scientist Yolande Seddon told […] Read more



Stampede is a champion of animal welfare, says researcher

The Calgary rodeo is a leader in giving access to researchers, 
and they haven’t found high levels of animal stress or abuse

Animal activists are quick to denounce the Calgary Stampede for animal cruelty. But it turns out very little research has been done on animal welfare at rodeo events. “As a scientist, I can say that there is no data on rodeo and how animals are being treated. That’s where some of the research we’ve been […] Read more


Don’t write off animal welfare advocates as vegans and ‘crazies,’ says expert

Most consumers now believe animals have rights and livestock producers have to respond to their views, says bioethicist

The growing emphasis on animal welfare and animal rights is part of a societal shift, and the livestock sector needs to embrace it. That’s the view of a philosopher who is also a professor of biomedical sciences and animal sciences at Colorado State University and author of several books on animal rights. “Too many people […] Read more