GFM Network News


While recent rains have helped some and raised hopes of a decent harvest, many Alberta producers are struggling financially. Experts say every producer should understand their options, whether that’s increasing their operating loan, deferring debt payments, taking a cash advance, or having AgriInsurance and AgriStability coverage.

Struggling with cash flow? Take a second look at these farm lending programs

Giving yourself some financial breathing room can make your operation stronger — and reduce your stress

Hammered by dry weather and trade upheaval, many Alberta producers are struggling with cash flow. And more will be in the months ahead. But there is help out there. “It’s important for producers to know that there are more options out there than they may realize,” said Don Anderson, Farm Credit Canada’s senior vice-president of […] Read more

Raised Right Human-Grade Pet Food is a family affair for the Ruuds — (from left to right), Austin, Braeden, Mary Ann, and Larry.

Vermilion family creates pet food fit for a king — and other people

Raised Right’s pet food for cats and dogs uses traceable ingredients and food-grade safety standards

It all started when Braeden Ruud nearly ate some food meant for the family farm dog. He had just walked into the kitchen after school in search of something to eat. And there on the counter was some freshly cooked food that looked delicious and smelled even better. Ignoring the family rule of sitting down […] Read more


A year ago, ALUS Canada invited officials from Alberta’s Agriculture and Environment ministries, and stewardship groups to Parkland County to see four flood and drought mitigation projects covering 650 acres — work funded by a $720,000 provincial grant. Last month, Manitoba raised the bar on funding this sort of work by setting up a $52-million endowment fund.

Manitoba puts $52 million in stewardship program — should Alberta be next?

More government funds for farms providing eco-services would be welcomed here — and put to good use

Is the idea of paying farmers for ‘ecological services’ finally ready for prime time? The Manitoba government is winning praise for setting up a $52-million endowment fund to create a province-wide version of a program that pays farmers for stewardship efforts such as protecting riparian areas and habitat restoration. The program will be based on […] Read more

Canfax and the Beef Cattle Research Council recently examined the uptake of beneficial practices in the cow-calf sector.

There’s progress but best practices often ignored

A deep dive into 
uptake of recommended cow-calf practices shows ‘there’s room for improvement’

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ seems to be the common thread among cow-calf producers who haven’t yet adopted recommended practices on their own operations. “Producers are happy with the performance and productivity that they’ve been getting, so they see no reason to change,” said Brenna Grant, manager of Canfax Research Services. “That can […] Read more


HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready technology is gaining ground in Eastern Canada, but there are no plans to bring it west yet.

Does genetically engineered alfalfa have a place in Alberta?

There are advantages to GE alfalfa — but for most Alberta producers, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks

Genetically engineered alfalfa is gaining traction in Ontario — but don’t expect to see it in Alberta any time soon. During its June board meeting, the Alberta Forage Industry Network reaffirmed its 2016 position that Alberta should remain GE alfalfa free. That decision was an easy one, said Strathmore-area hay grower and marketer John Bland. […] Read more

Margaret and Tom Towers have been on a different path for more than three decades. Today, three other families have joined them at Tamara Ranch — pictured in this 2015 photo with the Towers are Mike Kozlowski (left) and Blake and Angela Hall (with their then-infant son Hawksley).

Land stewardship for the long term

“Regenerating the land is a step ahead of sustaining it,”
 says one Alberta producer

Tom Towers grew up on stories of plenty and lack. As a boy, his grandfather would tell him about a time when you could take a boat from the family farmstead into town — and in the next breath, about a time it was so dry, you could drop a crowbar down the cracks in […] Read more


The new UCP government will act on farmers’ wishes when it replaces existing workplace safety legislation and sets research priorities, says Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen.

New provincial government will ‘stick up’ for farmers, says ag minister

Defending modern agriculture, workplace safety, and research funding are top priorities, says Devin Dreeshen

Alberta’s new agriculture minister is ready for a fight. “Standing up for modern Canadian agriculture is something that was a theme during the campaign,” said Devin Dreeshen. “There are elements out there that attack Alberta’s energy sector, modern agriculture, and the forestry industry, and I think it’s something we heard loud and clear during the […] Read more

Muddy fields and pastures have been the norm in much 
of the U.S. grain belt this year.

Fears of a global grain glut on the rise

China’s pig herd has been decimated — and that’s bad news for feed grains and oilseeds, says economist


If you had asked Richard Gray last month whether global grain supply would outstrip demand coming into this growing season, his answer would have been a resounding yes. But now? It’s anyone’s guess. “A few weeks ago, it would have been very clear that global production was going to exceed demand,” said Gray, a veteran […] Read more


Thirteen-year-old Liam Christian developed a biodigester that can convert horse manure into enough energy to power an electric horse fence.

Innisfail-area teen gives new meaning to ‘horsepower’

4-H Science Fair project generates renewable energy

One Innisfail-area teen has turned horse manure into horsepower, thanks to an innovative 4-H Science Fair project of his own design. “I wanted to see if the average daily manure produced by one horse would be enough to power electric horse fencing using a biodigester,” said 13-year-old Liam Christian. “I found out that, yes, actually, […] Read more

This photo was taken on May 27 just after 9 — but in the evening, not the morning — and nearly 90 minutes before sunset. Once harvested, the crops from these test plots at the Mackenzie Applied Research Association farm at Fort Vermilion will have their protein, starch, and oil content analyzed and compared to crops grown in southern Alberta. At 58 degrees of latitude, the sun rises 40 minutes earlier and sets an hour later at this time of year in Fort Vermilion compared to Lethbridge.

Do crops really grow better in the north?

Study aims to show processors and investors that northern vigour produces superior crops

Some call it northern vigour. Others call it the northern advantage. And now, one group of Alberta researchers are setting out to prove what some farmers have been saying all along — that crops really do grow better up north. “In this part of Alberta, we have 19 hours of daily sunlight in the summer, […] Read more