GFM Network News


The joy that comes from slowing down and “hanging out” has been one of the key things that Kevin and Rosalie Steeves — and many others — have learned during the pandemic. Supplied

Life and its blessings continue during these troubled times

Little joys have new meaning and family time has taken on new significance on farms across the province

Getting ready for the new baby and celebrating the one newly born. Having coffee with your spouse. Checking out some four-legged farm visitors. Getting a bit goofy on social media. Pausing to appreciate the arrival of spring. On farms across Alberta, special moments abound during these stressful and unprecedented times. And they are worth celebrating. […] Read more

Cattle producers are facing a crisis as bad, or worse, than BSE nearly two decades ago and many may choose, or be forced, to exit the business, says Alberta Beef Producers chair Kelly Smith-Fraser, pictured here with her daughter, Aubrey Fraser.

Alberta’s cattle producers facing a wall of worry

The situation is already grim for many, and many more are ‘questioning their future’

Alberta Beef Producers recently did something it hasn’t done since the BSE crisis nearly two decades ago — went to the government and asked for money. Ottawa responded by offering $50 million to help cover the cost of feeding cattle stranded by slaughter plant closures and slowdowns — an offer that was appreciated but disheartening, […] Read more



Move it or compost it might be the motto when it comes to bedding plants and baskets, which is why getting gardening centres designated an essential service was critical for the sector.

Growers relieved as Alberta garden centres declared an essential service

Product needs to move during the brief spring sales window, veggie gardens are suddenly popular again

Garden centres may not spring to mind when thinking of essential services, but getting that official designation was critical, says the CEO of Landscape Alberta. “It opens the value chain from the agricultural side,” said Joel Beatson, whose organization joined Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association in requesting greenhouses, nurseries and garden centres be classed as essential […] Read more


Quota reduction ends dumping of milk in Alberta

A five-per-cut has eliminated excess supply caused by the pandemic, says Alberta Milk

[UPDATED: May 4, 2020] A reduction in quota has ended the need to dump milk, says Alberta Milk. Changes in demand in March, caused by the pandemic, led to a surplus of milk in March. But a total production cut of about five per cent – comprised of a three per cent cut in quota […] Read more

Hershey, a bottle-fed calf, has become a regular on the virtual farm tours that Charlotte Wasylik began making last month.

A virtual farm walk spreads joy far and wide

A little project that started as a way for a family farm to communicate with friends and relatives has become a way to showcase agriculture to the world. Charlotte Wasylik of Chatsworth Farm near Vermilion, made a livestream video tour of her family farm on Facebook Live near the end of March. “We were originally […] Read more


Meat-processing plants across North America have had to temporarily close because workers have contracted COVID-19. But the Canadian beef sector is particularly vulnerable because two Alberta plants process nearly 75 per cent of the country’s cattle.

Alberta’s cattle sector takes a direct hit from pandemic

Packing plant closures create a backlog that quickly affects the entire production chain

It’s going to be painful, but hopefully COVID-19 in packing plants won’t turn into a nightmare scenario, say the president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and a leading food industry expert. Alberta’s two big facilities — Cargill’s High River plant and JBS’s Brooks plant — process nearly 75 per cent of the country’s beef. Combined, […] Read more

Supply chain working but canola groups have concerns

Federal field trials need to continue and growers need protective equipment, they say

There have been no issues so far with supplies of inputs and parts, transportation or oilseed processing during the pandemic, canola industry officials report. “We’ve been really focused on making sure farmers have access to inputs and resources to get the 2020 crop in the ground,” Canola Council of Canada president Jim Everson said during […] Read more


The biggest issue at North Peace Applied Research Association’s field tour last August was “the ferocious mosquitoes.” This year is an entirely different story.

It’s a whole new ball game for research associations this spring

Pandemic isn’t having a big impact on field trials but crop walks are very much up in the air

Field trials will go ahead — but showing them off to farmers will all depend, say the province’s research organizations. “There’s been a backing off of group activities,” said Allan Hall, executive director of the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta, the umbrella group for six research and two forage associations. “In terms of […] Read more

Plummeting french fry sales has potato growers re-evaluating

Restaurant closures have slashed demand although ‘chip sales have been great,’ says official

French fry sales are down across North America as tens of thousands of restaurants have closed during COVID-19, which means the potato industry has to adapt quickly. Companies that turn potatoes into french fries, wedges and hash browns are slowing down, because there isn’t enough space to store all the frozen product. In Alberta and […] Read more