GFM Network News


Tighter regulations take effect for B.C. farmland reserve

Local governments' expanded role to take effect this fall

New regulations governing how — or if — changes can be made to land’s status within British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) are now in force, but local governments get more prep time for their expanded role. The province on Thursday announced amendments to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) Act — having received royal assent […] Read more

Grassland bird species provide a lot of value to livestock producers, say grassland habitat experts Curtis Hullick (left) and Christian Artuso.

The birds and the beef: The facts of grasslands conservation

Grassland bird populations down dramatically, but farmers often don’t appreciate their value

Birds are struggling to survive on Prairie grasslands — but they’re not the only ones in trouble. “The biggest species at risk in Manitoba is beef producers,” said Curtis Hullick, field manager for the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. “It’s important to have large blocks of habitat for the birds. But with the economic pressures of […] Read more


Alberta’s big cities have an insatiable appetite for nearby farmland.

Do more to save farmland, say two new reports

U of A study says hundreds of thousands of acres have been lost while Senate committee calls for help for young farmers

A pair of new reports are urging government to do more to save good farmland from being lost to agriculture. And there’s a lot that has been lost already, according to researchers at the University of Alberta. “Analysis of satellite imagery shows that between 1984 and 2013, the amount of land in urban uses in […] Read more

Zimbabwe to give white farmers 99-year leases

Harare | Reuters — Zimbabwe will issue 99-year leases to white farmers, according to a government circular, after new President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he would end discrimination along racial lines in agriculture. Fewer than 400 white farmers are still operating in the southern African nation, after former president Robert Mugabe’s government evicted more than 4,000 […] Read more


Ukraine’s parliament extends ban on farmland sales

Kiev | Reuters — The Ukrainian parliament voted on Thursday to extend a ban on the sale of agricultural land by one year, delaying what financial backers say is a key reform essential to Ukraine’s long-term economic growth. The bill was backed by 236 lawmakers, narrowly over the 226 required to pass. Currently Ukraine’s more […] Read more

Alberta farmland value growth second highest in Canada

Taber and Lethbridge held the highest average farmland values in 2016, reaching over $5,800 per acre


While the rate of increase appears to be slowing, average farmland values in Alberta continue to rise. “Farmland values rose rapidly in the 1970s but were met with a substantial decline in the 1980s,” says Aaron Lawson, program assistant, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). “For the most part, prices recovered by the mid-’90s, and farmland […] Read more


Grazing makes for healthier grasslands, which means more carbon capture and plant biodiversity.

Grazing grasslands is good for the environment, study finds

A research team conducted a study on 114 sites throughout Alberta and 
found that long-term grazing can have a positive impact on grasslands

Cattle are often demonized as environmental polluters, but grazing them can have a positive impact on grasslands. “Grasslands store a lot of carbon and we should be proactively thinking about the value of that carbon, not to mention all the environmental goods and services they provide,” said Edward Bork, professor of rangeland ecology at the […] Read more

Controlled traffic farming system can improve soil moisture levels

Once it’s in, a controlled traffic farming system can save time and money, improve yields, and reduce soil compaction

In dry years, every little bit of water in the soil helps — and that’s tough to find in heavily compacted soils. That’s where controlled traffic farming comes in. “The idea was to address the detrimental effects of compaction. We know our equipment keeps getting heavier and heavier, and we know we cover a fair […] Read more


Australia tightens rules over foreign buying of farmland

Sydney | Reuters –– Australia tightened rules on Wednesday over foreign ownership of its agricultural land amid concerns that it is losing control of its own food security, slashing the amount beyond which land purchases would require regulatory approval. From March 1, foreign purchases of agricultural land over A$15 million (C$14.51 million) will be subject […] Read more