GFM Network News


Operation Pollinator encourages producers to set aside one or two marginal acres for pollinator habitat.

Producers encouraged to create pollinator habitat

A program that helps producers create pollinator habitat and refuges is coming to Alberta. To enrol in the Operation Pollinator program, producers agree to convert one to two acres of lower-productivity land to establish a pollinator habitat. In exchange for dedicating the land, producers receive a provision of high-quality, pollinator-friendly wildflower seed, agronomic advice, and […] Read more

Operation Pollinator to create friendly spaces for bees and other pollinators on the Prairies

Syngenta Canada and the Soil Conversation Council of Canada have signed on to a multi-year partnership to promote the dedicated spaces for pollinators on the Prairies. Under the program, farmers can sign up to establish Operation Pollinator sites on their farms. In exchange for converting one to two acres of lower productivity land, the farmer […] Read more


Farmer-led research groups shine spotlight on soil health

Improving soil is the key to successful farming, say groups 
behind the Soil Health Applied Research Alliance

Declaring ‘soil is bigger than oil,’ two Alberta farmer-led research organizations are teaming up to increase the focus on soil health. “Soil health is the foundation of successful farming — if we can maintain and improve the health of our soils, we will be successful farmers,” said Ian Murray, an Acme rancher and chair of […] Read more

Farming Smarter cancels spring crop walks

Producer-run research organization urges farmers to lobby new government for 
more dollars

A funding shortfall has prompted Farming Smarter to cancel its spring crop walks for 2015. The shortfall resulted from cutbacks by the outgoing Progressive Conservative government, said Ken Coles, general manager of the farmer-run research organization based in Lethbridge. “Even if the new provincial government decides to keep or improve the AOF (Agriculture Opportunities Fund) […] Read more


“There are some groups that are in a lot better position than others to weather this storm, but I do know that there are others that are having serious financial challenges.” – Ian Murray

Budget cuts have applied research associations reeling

Election 2015: Producer-run research groups raised salaries and upped spending when funding doubled, but now that extra money has been taken away


Alberta’s applied research organizations are facing a financial crisis following the government’s “clawback” of two funds earmarked for research and innovation. “We realize that with the drop in oil prices and the model that the government is funded under, everything had to take a hit,” said Ian Murray, chair of the Agricultural Research and Extension […] Read more

Farmer-driven research in Alberta

When it comes to activities, the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) runs the gamut. “We do everything from annual crop research, to variety, fertility and silage trials,” said Janette McDonald, executive director of ARECA. “We then go into perennial crops and special crops. At least 50 to 60 per cent of our […] Read more


Lakeland newest member of ARECA

The Lakeland Applied Research Association (LARA) has become a member of the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA). “LARA has a long history in conducting applied research and extension in northeast Alberta,” says Bill Gaugler, ARECA chair. “It’s great to have LARA on the ARECA team.” LARA conducts local not-for-profit research, demonstrations, and […] Read more