GFM Network News


It’s recommended that well owners do a bacteriological analysis up to four times per year and a chemical analysis every three to five years.

Spring is the time for testing your farm’s water supply

Testing for every possible contaminant is expensive — here’s what should be at the top of the checklist

It’s up to rural landowners to keep their water safe — and spring is the ideal time to get that job done, says a water quality expert. “Winter can accumulate pollutants, then spring thaw and run-off carries the previous six months’ worth of pollutants down to groundwater and sideways towards surface supplies,” said Mitch Golay, […] Read more

AgSafe Alberta has a series of guides to help producers review hazards on their farm and start dealing with them.

Safety is getting its turn in the spotlight

With new workplace regs in effect, there’s a lineup of producers wanting to make their farms safer

After a bit of a slow start, farmers are increasingly turning to AgSafe Alberta for help in reducing the risk of an accident on their operation. “It’s actually really busy — it’s gone from being very quiet to a wave,” said Jody Wacowich, the executive director of the non-profit society created by farm groups in […] Read more


The number of farm fatalities is going down, but much of that is due to safer equipment. And experts say 
the danger is increasing as aging boomers continue to farm, often using older, less safe equipment.

Canadian farms are getting safer — but not fast enough

Safer machinery is saving lives, but farms remain dangerous places to work, says expert

Farms across Canada are becoming safer, but danger still abounds. “We are seeing fewer entanglement injuries and fewer deaths from rollovers — that’s where the big gains are on the technology and engineering side,” said Don Voaklander, director of the University of Alberta’s Injury Prevention Centre. “The other stuff is kind of the same. Falls […] Read more

This illustration shows how CRISPR-Cas9 technology could be used to genomically edit a species of the streptococcus bacterium. The Cas9 nuclease protein (in blue) uses a guide RNA sequence (purple) to cut DNA (green) at a complementary site.

Where are the Canadian genome-editing startups?

Looser regulations give the U.S. an edge in GE product development, but Canadians are working on gene editing, too

Genome editing has made some major strides in the past year. Minnesota-based Calyxt struck a deal with a processor to make oil from its GE soybeans, in which the genes responsible for trans fats have been ‘turned off.’ And SU Canola (a sulfonyurea herbicide-resistant variety) was given its Canadian commercial release a year ago by […] Read more


Canadian plant approval process lengthy but worthwhile

In Canada, plant varieties with traits that are new to the environment and have the potential to impact human and environmental health are called “novel traits” and are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. They must be approved by the CFIA as well as Health Canada (in the case of food products) prior to […] Read more

From left to right: This year’s Outstanding Young Farmers finalists Roelof and Mary van Benthem; 
winning couple Jinel and Craig Ference; and Celeste and Craig Christensen.

Outstanding Young Farmer got an early start

Giving young people a chance to learn and grow has become a tradition on Double F Farms

Passing the torch to the next generation is often the greatest challenge faced by farm families. But the way the Ference family met that challenge is a big reason why Craig and Jinel Ference were recently named co-winners of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer award. “It was such an interesting group because we’re all in different […] Read more


A CN train hauling grain cars circles the loop at GrainsConnect’s Maymont, Sask loop-track/power-on terminal. The locomotive never has to be detached from the train when loading or unloading, which cuts the time it spends at an elevator by up to half compared to conventional grain terminals.

Loop tracks set to revolutionize grain transport

If you never decouple the locomotive, you never lose braking pressure — and that’s huge

The loop-track/power-on grain terminals popping up throughout the Prairies are kind of like the marines — no rail car gets left behind. That’s one example of how these terminals improve efficiency in Canada’s grain transportation system, said Warren Stow, president of GrainsConnect Canada, whose company is currently building two such facilities in Vegreville and Huxley […] Read more

There’s no shortage of data on today’s farms but the most important number — profit per acre — is not easy to determine.

The search for a ‘win-win’ solution to unprofitable acres

Precision agriculture meets precision conservation in ongoing profitability mapping research

Farming and farmland conservation sometimes seem at odds with each other — a win for one is seen as a loss for the other. After all, taking land out of production for conservation purposes is seen as a loss of productive farmland, while the ecological community sometimes views intensive ag production as a threat to […] Read more


Walmart cited the contamination of romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona (pictured in this file photo) with E. coli when announcing its leafy greens suppliers will soon have to participate in a blockchain system. 
The contaminated lettuce from the Yuma area sickened more than 200 consumers in three dozen states this spring, and is blamed for five deaths. It took days to trace the lettuce back to the farms that grew it.

The brave new world of blockchain

Digital traceability has suddenly been thrust into the food sector

If there was ever any doubt that agriculture would someday run headlong into the blockchain space, it was quashed on Sept. 24. That was the day Walmart announced its leafy green suppliers would be required (in a year’s time) to participate in a blockchain-driven system providing full-chain traceability of their produce. In recent years, Bitcoin […] Read more

The Heritage Ranch Rodeo will be held in the evening for the first time in many years. This event features ranchers demonstrating practical skills such as wild cow milking, team sorting, and stray gathering.

Things to know and things to do at Farmfair 2018

The show offers something new or different every year

[UPDATED: Nov. 2, 2018] The 45th Farmfair International — an agricultural show focused on showing and selling top-quality livestock — is set to go at the Edmonton EXPO Centre Nov. 7-11. Every year Farmfair organizers add new events or change the focus of existing ones to better meet the needs of the show’s audience. Here […] Read more