GFM Network News


Ward Middleton, an organic grain and oilseed farmer from Morinville, was one of the farmers who joined the participatory plant-breeding trials, selecting wheat grown on his farm for breeding.

Hands-on plant breeding: Farmers help select new plant lines

Since 2011, organic farmers from across Canada have been making their own breeding selections

You might call it DIY cereal breeding. Since 2011, plant-breeding researchers have collaborated with organic farmers in a breeding program in which the producers select lines from trials on their own farms. Normally, a breeder goes through a plot, and selects the best spikes, heads or plants according to their breeding goals. “The participatory plant-breeding […] Read more

Marleny Saldaña, an associate professor of food and bioengineering processing at the University of Alberta, is part of a team that has created a cling wrap made from canola.

From farm to fridge? Making cling wrap from canola straw

University of Alberta researchers have found a way to make a food wrap that’s biodegradable

As people try to reduce their use of plastic products, there is a need for items created from environmentally friendly products. Researchers at the University of Alberta may have come up with part of the solution — cling wrap made from canola straw. The product is the only one of its kind in the world, […] Read more


“It is important to boost each other, encourage each other, and share our experiences,” grain farmer and feedlot operator Lynn Dargis says in a new documentary called “Picture a Farmer.” The film celebrates female farmers — and challenges old stereotypes.

Film about farming women shows how times have changed — and how old stereotypes still linger

Documentary shows how women aren't just ‘farmers’ wives and farmers’ daughters’ anymore

When you picture a farmer in your head, who do you think of? A man wearing a ball cap? Or do you picture a woman? In a new 20-minute documentary, filmmaker Kelsey van Moorsel asks you to “Picture a Farmer.” And the three farmers featured in the first-time filmmaker’s documentary are all women. “I come […] Read more

A large male wild boar — which can top 600 pounds — in a rare daytime photo. The animals tend to be nocturnal.

Wild pigs a growing problem not many seem to care about

Alberta is the only province with a control strategy — but it’s still in the pilot program phase

Since their numbers are unknown and the wily animals are rarely spotted, it’s been easy to ignore the problem of wild pigs. But given their potential to spread disease, that’s a mistake, says the country’s leading — and pretty much only — expert on wild boars. The animals — whose population has mushroomed in the […] Read more


Tracking beef produced under sustainable beef protocols from ranches all the way to a store or restaurant is a big undertaking. VBP+ 
is using government grants to make its part of the tracking system more streamlined and cost-effective.

Sustainable beef pilot moving up to the next level

With more than a thousand ranchers and feedlots on board, the challenge is making the operation itself sustainable


A shot of federal funding for Verified Beef Production Plus will help make the running of the sustainable beef program itself more sustainable — while improving it for participating producers. The $602,000 federal grant will help the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot take a step up and become an ongoing program, said Shannon Argent, business manager […] Read more

The feed situation has been grim for many producers all year long and there’s not a whole lot of relief in sight.

Rains bring some relief to hay markets, but not much

Rain and shortages make for an uneven hay market

Recent rains may result in hay prices softening a bit — but not by much, say experts “We have got rains and some of the pastures are rebounding,” said Ed Shaw, a hay exporter from Olds. “The yields are going to be lower than normal because it was a slow season and it got started […] Read more


Pork accounts for nearly two-thirds of China’s meat consumption and with African swine fever decimating Chinese production, Canada’s pork sector had hoped to see its exports to China jump rather than be banned. Pictured here are pork vendors at a market in Yunnan province in May.

Livestock sector suspicious of China ban but hopeful

Politics, not fraud, may be behind latest Chinese ban of our exports but officials hopeful it can be resolved

Some sort of fraud or more payback from China? That’s the question facing Canadian pork and beef producers after Beijing banned their products last month. As was the case with canola seed, the official Chinese explanation is that it halted imports because of contamination issues — “pests” in canola and the growth promotant ractopamine in […] Read more

China can’t ban hope — pork sector is eyeing a great year

The supply-and-demand calculus is clear: Demand is high, supply is low, and those selling pork will find buyers

International pork markets are in disarray, but the prospects are good for pork producers here — even after Beijing’s new ban on Canadian pork exports. China had been a hot market for Canadian pork this year, with its purchases jumping by more than half in the first four months and moving the nation ahead of […] Read more


A&W is among the restaurant chains now offering Beyond Meat as a burger option.

The fake meat trend is just getting started, food exec says

Half of all meat eaters say they want to cut back and eat more plant-based foods

It’s not going to stop with the Beyond Meat burger. Expect to see more plant-based foods in your grocery store as more and more consumers reduce their consumption of meat, says the CEO of a leading organic and natural food company. “You can see tremendous acceleration in the refrigerated meat alternatives in Canada,” Beena Goldenberg […] Read more

Connecting with customers such as Hideo Suzuki (far right), president for Belex chain of supermarkets in Japan, was a top priority for Alberta Canola director Andre Harpe (second from left) on a recent trade mission. Also pictured are Deputy Ag Minister Andre Corbould and Tanya Fir, the provincial minister of economic development, tourism and trade.

Trade missions more valuable than ever, say Alberta producers

You have to show appreciation for customers and ask face to face how you can improve, says canola director

In times like these, friendship is more valuable than ever. “The mission was a direct result of the China (canola) ban,” said Alberta Canola director Andre Harpe, “When you lose part of your market, you have to make sure your other markets are OK.” Harpe was one of two Alberta producers who recently travelled to […] Read more