GFM Network News


Austin Allred stands in front of the BioFiltro system installed on his 5,000-cow dairy in Washington state. The system, the first in North America, treats waste water in a matter of hours.

Waste not, want not — a different way to treat farm effluent

Chilean biowaste filtering system is an alternative to lagoons in treating liquid waste from dairies

Farmers know that earthworms are good for the soil — now they’re being used to process liquid waste from dairies, hog operations, and slaughterhouses. The process not only provides faster treatment than using lagoons, but also significantly reduces concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and therefore the need for as much farmland to dispose of […] Read more

Mortise and tenon carpentry is a specialized form of building construction where large timbers are fit together. Recycled, large timbers from demolished grain elevators are a perfect resource for this building style.

Gone from the skyline, parts of Prairie sentinels live on

More than 5,000 wooden elevators are gone but some of their beautiful old-growth timbers survive

They’re mostly gone now, but parts of some of them will live on. Alberta’s first wooden grain elevator was constructed in 1895 and at the peak in the 1930s, there were nearly 1,800 of them. Today, there are only 88 left, more falling victim to demolition every year. More than 5,000 wooden grain elevators across […] Read more


Farmers, particularly in the northern half of Alberta are experiencing a significant dieback of white poplar.

Alberta’s most abundant tree species under threat

The reasons aren’t known for certain but the widespread loss of poplars has significant implications for farming

Have you noticed that the poplar trees in your yard and in your bush are dying? You’re not alone. Alberta is experiencing a significant dieback of one of its most abundant species, and while some landowners are skeptical of the cause, evidence points to climate change as one possible contributor. A massive poplar dieback is […] Read more

Will Vohs has sawmilled timbers as large as 12x12 inch from his woodlot. Rather than converting all his land to pasture, he kept a half section as a woodlot, and is now reaping the benefits of an extra income by sawing custom wood products.

Timber is a winner for Caroline cattle producer

Custom milling trees from his woodlot pays better than just selling raw logs, says Will Vohs

Cruise the countryside in certain parts of Alberta, and there are bright-yellow signs stapled to power poles advertising that someone is ‘Looking For Wood.’ After reading what Caroline-area farmer Will Vohs has discovered, landowners may want to think twice before signing over their woodlots too quickly. That’s because Vohs says he can manufacture a 12-inch […] Read more


Donna and Alex von Hauff have learned from experience that not all wood shavings are made equal when it comes to animal bedding, 
and they’ve leveraged that knowledge into a successful, international business.

Alberta duo spots opportunity lying beneath their (horses’) feet

Wood shavings isn’t the most exciting product but horses love it and Alberta produces it in abundance

A Sherwood Park-area mother and son knew horses love wood shavings for bedding, and when they discovered that Alberta sawmills generate an abundant supply, they saw an opportunity to play matchmaker. Donna and Alex von Hauff, who operate Strathcona Ventures, have since expanded into a variety of health, dust control, and non-wood-related products for both […] Read more



Nick Savidov (left) and Marc Legault used a bioreactor to convert poultry manure to fertilizer in three weeks.

Alberta project turns manure into liquid gold

Researcher says liquid composting of manure is a viable on-farm process whose time has come

Nick Savidov doesn’t mince words when he talks about relying solely on synthetic fertilizer to feed the planet. “The fact is that if we don’t learn how to recycle nutrients and water, we are doomed,” said the senior research scientist at the Bio-industrial Opportunities Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We will start dying off […] Read more

Mylar- and Kevlar-reinforced tanks house the micro-algae used to clean up GHG emissions. Liquefied poultry manure helps the micro-algae grow.

Call it a win-win: Curbing pollution with chicken manure

Scientists have found a type of micro-algae that gobbles up greenhouse 
gas emissions — and it has a taste for nutrient-rich chicken manure, too

Poultry manure and that annoying green slime which grows in our lakes each summer could hold the key to helping the province’s oilsands mining companies and coal-fired power plants clean up their act, while producing a valuable commodity in the process. Researchers have discovered a strain of naturally occurring micro-algae that can scrub 100 per […] Read more


Open-pen feedlot manure is collected from Highland Feeders for use in anaerobic digesters to produce biogas at the neighbouring 
Hairy Hill facility.

Patents boost Alberta biogas company’s plans for expansion

Himark BioGas can now let potential clients independently 
assess the engineering of its leading-edge technology


It’s been in the works for about a decade, but North American and international patents have been issued to Alberta-based Himark BioGas International for its unique biogas production technology. It’s a major step for the company, which was created to find a way to use manure from Highland Feeders as a biogas feedstock. “It’s part […] Read more

Test plots at the Alberta Newsprint Company plant. The plot on the left had an application of five centimetres of sludge and the one on the right had one centimetre of sludge applied.  

Sludge a success story for Whitecourt-area farmers

They say great ideas start with the planting of a seed — and that’s precisely what happened after employees at Alberta Newsprint Company noticed tomato plants growing in a pile of pulp sludge. The result is a ‘superfertilizer’ that area farmers can’t get enough of. The phone at the Whitecourt plant rings off the hook […] Read more