GFM Network News


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

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


Tories’ climate plan focused on green investment

The federal Conservatives’ proposed replacement for the Liberal government’s framework on climate change offers several shout-outs to farmers, in a document focused on green investment rather than current consumption patterns. The lead opposition party’s plan, launched Wednesday by leader Andrew Scheer, proposes to scrap the Trudeau government’s current carbon pricing plan, which imposes levies on […] Read more



Red Deer County's rainfall simulator shows how much runoff and water infiltration can be expected from different management practices.

Rain, rain don’t go away: How to capture more moisture on your land

When it comes to retaining rainfall, seeing is believing — and new infiltration tool does just that

Drought is a four-letter word in Alberta right now — but also proof that it’s critical to make the most of any moisture we get. “If we’re getting the types of rain we normally get, water infiltration probably isn’t that big of a deal,” said Ken Lewis, conservation co-ordinator with Red Deer County. “But in […] Read more



This photo from the website of ALUS Canada shows a road washout in the 
Modeste subwatershed in August 2016.

Eco-services group to capture flood waters on farms and ranches

ALUS Canada has been given a $720,000 grant from Alberta Environment and Parks’ Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program for flood-prevention work. “We are excited to start putting this funding to good use on the ground in the Modeste subwatershed,” said Lara Ellis, the organization’s director of strategic initiatives. “ALUS will quickly establish new natural infrastructure […] Read more

One-stop shop for eco-services programs

Looking for an ecosystem services program that fits your operation? Alberta Beef Producers has created a seven-page fact sheet of several dozen programs. These include programs focused on conservation; wetland protection and management; and offsets. The fact sheet also breaks out several programs from Ducks Unlimited Canada, projects funded under Growing Forward 2, and Alternative […] Read more


David Bissett (r), and ALUS Canada CEO Bryan Gilvesy announced a $500,000 donation for conservation projects in southern Alta. on Aug. 29.

Donation will spark conservation projects across southern Alberta

A $500,000 gift from philanthropist David Bissett will fund 186 projects on 39 farms and ranches

A$500,000 donation will create almost 1,000 additional acres of conservation land in southern Alberta. “This funding pretty clearly identifies ALUS’s niche,” said Bryan Gilvesy, CEO of ALUS Canada, the organization receiving the donation. “This program isn’t about the traditional environmental ethics of protecting existing features. This harnesses the skills and energy of farmers and ranchers […] Read more

Adrienne Herron (left), has worked closely with Red Deer County’s Ken Lewis to make ‘ecosystem services’ work for her land.

Stewardship program ‘putting our money where our mouth is’

For producers involved with the ALUS program, ecosystem services become a type of production like any other

The poplars ringing Adrienne Herron’s wetland stopped growing where her cattle and horses were grazing, and just wouldn’t rebound. That was a real wake-up call for the Innisfail-area rancher. “I was concerned by the impact I was having on this ephemeral wetland with the cows and horses keeping the grass down as much as they […] Read more