GFM Network News



Soil scientist David Lobb has criss-crossed the country to talk about soil health, but the issue isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves, says the University of Manitoba professor.

Soil degradation the forgotten issue

Reducing tillage and summerfallow hasn’t fixed a problem that is costing farmers billions every year

Soil degradation in Canada is causing a huge economic loss — but few people are paying attention. That includes farmers, even though degraded soil is significantly reducing their yields, according to University of Manitoba soil scientist David Lobb. “Soil erosion accounts for a loss of about 10 per cent,” he said. “Farmers are only getting […] Read more


Burying a pair of cotton shorts in the soil is one way that soil enthusiasts can raise awareness about soil health.

Underwear campaign fun with a serious purpose

The goal is to promote awareness that soils are living, breathing entities — and need protection

It seems like just a fun, even silly, thing to do — bury a pair of underwear made of white cotton, and then dig them up a couple of months later to see what soil microbes have done to them. But the Soil Your Undies campaign has a very serious purpose: To show people that […] Read more



Distinct markings give adult gall flies a rather striking appearance, while their larvae are anything but attractive. But they can do serious damage to a Canada thistle.

Tiny warriors get nasty on Canada thistle

Stem gall flies love to feed on — and breed in — the much-loathed and fast-spreading invasive weed

The West Central Forage Association has another biocontrol that can help you win the war against Canada thistle. The proud warriors are called stem gall flies and they’re available for sale. “The gall flies act on a different portion of the Canada thistle than the weevils do,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture and extension program […] Read more

A working group is looking at opportunities to sell canola to new markets in light of China’s recent export ban on Canadian canola.

United effort to overturn China’s canola ban, say industry leaders

Call for action has been heard ‘loud and clear,’ but there are no quick fixes, warn canola groups

Call for action has been heard ‘loud and clear,’ but there are no quick fixes, 
warn canola groups

Industry leaders say Ottawa is acting on farmers’ concerns, but are warning there won’t be a quick resolution to China’s de facto ban on Canadian canola seed imports. “Several actions have been taken by both industry and government in addressing this issue in the past month,” Canola Council of Canada president Jim Everson said during […] Read more



Devin Dreeshen became Alberta’s new agriculture minister on April 30.

Alberta’s new agriculture minister praised as smart, grounded, and ‘a stand-up guy’

Although just 31, Devin Dreeshen has extensive experience in politics and on the farm

Premier Jason Kenney has chosen one of his youngest MLAs to be the province’s new agriculture minister. But although he’s just 31 and has only been an MLA for 10 months, Devin Dreeshen comes to the job with a robust resumé. The Innisfail-Sylvan Lake rep is the son of veteran Tory Red Deer-Mountain View MP […] Read more


Canola is currently being used to backfill other plant oils. Buyers in China are still in need of oil, but are looking for other varieties to meet their demand.

To store or sell canola? That is the question

As grain companies try to boost sales in other countries, growers ponder long-term storage

China’s ban on Canadian canola means that farmers have to take different strategies this year. Some are planning to store their canola on farm, while others are planning to sell. “Anything that has been ordered already, companies are honouring those canola contracts,” said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. “They’re pencilling […] Read more

Ian Murray — the 2018 winner of Alberta Beef Producers’ Environmental Stewardship award — talked about his environmental efforts and how he raises cattle at Shoestring Ranch. On the left and right are two députés of France’s national assembly (Philippe Bolo and Nicolas Turquois)
with Yannick Dheilly (from the Canadian Embassy in France) and Ty Murray.

C’est bon: French politicians check out Alberta cattle ranch

Bringing European officials to cattle country is part of a multi-pronged effort to sell beef to the EU

It’s not every day you see a group of politicians from France’s Assemblée nationale trooping around an Alberta ranch in plastic booties. But that was the case earlier this month at Shoestring Ranch near Acme as Ian and Carman Murray played host to three députés (France’s version of MPs), a pair of officials from Canada’s […] Read more