GFM Network News


This map, created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, shows the dominant agricultural systems around the world. (The dark-green areas are forests and the grey is desert.)

The complicated calculus of climate change

While Canadian farmers may see a longer growing season, there may be more pests and less rain

Farming and food production will be changed as a result of climate change — but the how is a complicated question. “Agriculture is a unique sector,” University of B.C. Professor Navin Ramankutty said earlier this month during this year’s edition of the Bentley Lecture in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Alberta. “Agriculture is a […] Read more

Wheat and barley groups eye merger

Committee to investigate pros and cons, with full membership of both groups to vote on the merger bid

After first amalgamating their administrative teams and then their senior management, Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley are now considering a full merger. But the notion of scrapping their individual boards and creating a single cereal crop board is still in its early stages, say the chairs of the two farm groups. “The resolution came up […] Read more


Boyd Mori.

New insect expert introduces himself and advises on key pests for 2020

Cabbage seed pod weevils, bertha army worms and pea leaf weevils the insects to watch for in 2020

The province has gained one new entomologist but has lost its best-known bug specialist. Boyd Mori, a new assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s agriculture department, paid tribute to provincial insect management specialist Scott Meers in his presentation at FarmTech — and urged his audience to lobby the government for a replacement. “Scott Meers […] Read more

Consumers don’t understand the practices of crop farmers, but want to know they are sustainable, said Ted Menzies, chair of the committee developing a code of practices for sustainable crops.

Consumers want proof that crop farming is sustainable

Code of practice expected to be released for feedback this summer, says industry veteran Ted Menzies

Crop producers are practising sustainable farming, but consumers want proof — and that’s why a code of practice is needed, says a veteran industry leader. Consumers don’t understand that crop practices in Canada are sustainable, Ted Menzies said at the recent AGM of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture. “Maybe they don’t need to understand that,” […] Read more


Stem-mining weevils have been successful at stopping the spread of Canada thistle, but the weevils are in short supply.

Supply can’t meet demand for thistle-munching weevils

Stem-mining weevils love Canada thistle but getting enough of the bugs has been a challenge for forage association

Canada thistle is a huge problem in ranchers’ fields — but unfortunately, demand for one of the solutions has outstripped supply. West Central Forage Association has been selling stem-mining weevils since about 2014 but recently its supplier in Montana has had production problems and been unable to fill its orders. “The last couple of years, […] Read more

The potential is huge but so are the challenges in the lamb sector, says Ryan Greir, 
an Alberta producer who is chair of the newly formed National Sheep Network.

Sheep industry starts new organization to tackle challenges

Alberta lamb producer chairs the newly formed National Sheep Network

Demand for lamb continues to grow — and the sheep sector continues to struggle to meet it. In fact, if more fresh Canadian lamb was available, demand would be growing even faster, says the managing director of the North American Lamb Company, the biggest player in the sector. “With a bit of marketing and new […] Read more


Don’t expect a quick fix for China’s ban on Canadian canola

China expert says Beijing’s retaliation against Canada has ‘the personal imprint of the Chinese president’

An easy or fast solution to the Chinese defacto ban on canola is unlikely, says a China expert. “China doesn’t yield to simple analysis,” Gordon Houlden, a political science professor and director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, told FarmTech attendees. The detention of Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou on an extradition warrant […] Read more



A woman samples a plant-based meat product by Whole Perfect Food (a Chinese competitor to Beyond Meat) at the VeggieWorld fair in Beijing in November. Plant-based foods are on the rise but so is meat in the world’s most populous regions, says food trend guru David Hughes.

Expect to hear a lot more about fake meat, eco-foods, and urban consumers

It’s a fast-changing world but Prairie farmers are in a good spot, says food trend guru

More focus on the environment, more plant-based meat alternatives and more scrutiny of food production. That’s what lies in the crystal ball of David Hughes, an international speaker on global food industry trends. At a recent event hosted by the Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta, Hughes laid out a number of points that could be […] Read more

There’s nothing unusual about loading up a semi, unless it’s being done on behalf of someone trying to 
steal the grain — which was the case in Strathcona County last month.

Attempted grain theft thwarted by vigilant neighbour

Such incidents are rare but can happen, say RCMP, adding it pays to let neighbours know when you’re away

Getting to know your neighbours and keeping them informed about your plans can help keep your farm safe. A “keen-eyed citizen” was immediately suspicious after seeing grain being loaded from bins on a neighbour’s farm near Josephburg, northeast of Edmonton, in early December. The neighbour knew the farmer was away and so called the Strathcona […] Read more