GFM Network News


This calf was one of 90 born on Graeme Rice’s Lacombe-area ranch by the end of March with “another 55 to go.” Across Alberta farm country, everyday scenes like these are reminders that the business of growing and raising food is continuing despite the massive disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Thrust into the spotlight, the farm sector shines during pandemic

Food supply chain does something extraordinary in unprecedented crisis — keeps things running ‘mostly normally’

Never in our lifetimes has the ordinary been so extraordinary. Take, for example, the simple act of delivering a load of grain. The whole business of receiving, grading, and getting the paperwork to the farmer or truck driver is hands-on work, usually done in close quarters. So you not only have to be fastidious about […] Read more

Foremost in our thoughts at the Alberta Farmer during the COVID-19 pandemic will be those on the front line — the medical personnel treating the victims and the myriad of people trying to slow and contain the outbreak.

In the face of this crisis, we will all carry on

Those on the front lines will be in our thoughts but so too will be farmers

As our March 23 edition of Alberta Farmer was being prepared — the paper was printed on March 17 — the COVID-19 situation was changing by the hour. Like everyone on the planet, those who grow and raise food will be wondering how this pandemic will change their lives. So readers may be struck by […] Read more


Alberta farm groups propose new research model

A ‘white paper’ by crop and livestock groups calls for a new way of doing things

The provincial government should “play a role” but needs to work closely with the ag sector to develop a new research funding model, say Alberta farm groups. “Both Agriculture Minister (Devin) Dreeshen and Premier (Jason) Kenney have been vocal about the need to put research back in the hands of producers,” Alberta Wheat and Alberta […] Read more

Take a closer look at this photo and you’ll see a 1.6-mile-long grain train being filled at Paterson Grain’s new high-throughput terminal at Bowden — one example of the sort of investment that underpins Alberta’s robust agriculture sector.

2019 was a difficult year — but also one of great progress

Lots of things didn’t go right in 2019, but there are many reasons why Alberta is a great place to farm

It could have been so much better. If China hadn’t got mad at us. If there hadn’t been a trade war. If PED hadn’t arrived. If the weather had been a bit more co-operative. But the past year was also a reminder that efforts to make things better do pay off. Look no further than […] Read more


A slide is pictured behind members of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during a news conference on the Special Report on Climate Change and Land after IPCC's 50th session in Geneva on Aug. 8, 2019.

UN report on livestock and climate change gets lost in translation

Panel of climate change experts say meat production must be sustainable — but few noted that distinction

“Eat less meat” was the phrase of choice for describing a new report from the United Nations’ climate change panel. Those three words appeared in headlines in publications such as Time magazine, the National Post, and the Times of London. But the report itself said something different, said the science director of the Beef Cattle […] Read more

Big is better — and faster is better yet — at Paterson Grain’s Foothills Terminal at Bowden. The facility recently loaded the single largest grain train ever seen in Alberta. The train had 147 new high-capacity hopper cars while the Bowden terminal is one of a growing number of facilities with new loop-track/power-on setups.

One mighty big grain train rolls out of Alberta

With nearly 15,000 tonnes of grain on board, this train was like nothing seen before

In the years ahead, you may find yourself stuck at a rail crossing a little longer as a grain train rumbles by. And you might want to use that extra time to say thanks for modern technology. Paterson Grain recently set a new record when it loaded 147 new high-capacity hopper cars with a whopping […] Read more


For the third year running, Viterra is providing land at Stettler and two other Alberta terminals for growing projects.

Long-running growing project finds land at last moment

It was a close call, but one of the country’s longest-running Canadian Foodgrains Bank growing projects has successfully seeded its 24th crop. “We did not secure this 70 acres until May 6, which is very late,” Doug Maas, a member of the Central Alberta Growing Project committee, said in an email. “Our committee was looking […] Read more

What’s in a number? It could be a lot if it’s a favourable falling number. The results of this test (done in Cigi’s Winnipeg lab) are very high — numbers above 300 are considered good while those below 300 aren’t. Alberta Wheat argues farmers should be paid for a good falling number even if a visual inspection results in a lower grade.

Could a wheat sample test put money in your pocket?

Buyers are increasingly using falling number to determine wheat’s value — but farmers don’t get paid for that

Alberta Wheat is hailing a move by the Canadian Grain Commission to consider making tests for falling number and deoxynivalenol official grain-grading factors. “We want the grain commission to make a whole bunch of changes,” said chair Gary Stanford. “We think the grain should be sold by falling numbers… Everybody wants to sell at Grade […] Read more


Court ruling alone won’t fix ‘orphan’ well crisis

There are now more than 3,000 abandoned wells in Alberta, and many more that are no longer active

A Supreme Court ruling that puts cleanup ahead of creditors is a step forward — but won’t “make too much difference” to landowners with abandoned wells, says a director with the Alberta Surface Rights Federation. “The landowners are still going to be in a situation where they have to deal with contaminated land for maybe […] Read more

No herbicide even comes close to glyphosate’s popularity — or the controversy it generates.

No ordinary herbicide — glyphosate keeps making headlines

The world’s most widely used herbicide will continue to be one of agriculture’s biggest newsmakers

Two things happened to glyphosate over the past 15 years — it got a lot more popular and a lot more unpopular at the same time. There’s no question that most farmers love it. Although the most recent estimates are a few years old, farm use of glyphosate soared in this century. A major European […] Read more