GFM Network News


This summer was bad for bees because they fly — and forage — less when the weather is cool. Many Alberta beekeepers are reporting their honey production is down by half this year.

Cool weather, price drop hits Alberta honey producers

A poor honey crop and low prices spell bad times for the province’s beekeepers

This summer’s cool weather didn’t just have a negative impact on grain crops — it meant honeybees weren’t flying. And that has some commercial beekeepers in the province facing a dire economic situation. Most producers have substantially lower honey yields this year, said Connie Phillips, executive director of the Alberta Beekeepers Commission. That was borne […] Read more

More than 140,000 seed packets have been given out through the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er initiative.

Bees benefit from 4-H Canada pollinator program

It’s been another banner year for the the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er initiative. The 2018 edition of the program saw 135 4-H clubs from across the country participating and about 15,000 seed packets distributed. “It is wonderful each year to see the level of excitement and engagement our members have with this initiative,” said […] Read more


Richard Ozero of Good Morning Honey shows some of his equipment during a media event aimed at encouraging more producers to participate in Alberta Open Farm Days.

Open Farm Days a sweet deal for everyone, says new participant

Honey producers meet lots of their customers at farmers’ markets but are excited about hosting farm visitors

Richard and Amber Ozero have never been part of Open Farm Days before — but can’t wait to participate this year. Operators of any sort of farm are being encouraged to sign up for the Aug. 18-19 event, and for the Ozeros, it was an opportunity to introduce their honey business to a new audience. […] Read more

A book on raising bees is one of Alberta Agriculture’s suggestions for a stocking stuffer this Christmas.

Christmas gift suggestions for green thumbs (and bee lovers)

A comprehensive how-to guide might be an ideal gift for someone keen on gardening, beekeeping, or starting a sideline enterprise

Know someone interested in commercial production? These Alberta Agriculture and Forestry books might be a perfect gift. Commercial Vegetable Production on the Prairies ($20 plus GST): A comprehensive 300-page resource and reference tool suitable for new and experienced vegetable growers at all scales of commercial production. Key topics included planning for vegetable production, seeding, transplanting, […] Read more


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

The Beekeeping Cost of Production Survey looks at costs and returns to generate benchmark data and business performance indicators such as Return to Equity.

Province updating survey on beekeeping costs and returns

The four-decade-old survey is periodically updated to give producers benchmark data

The province is conducting its latest survey on the cost of production for beekeeping in Alberta. “The main purpose of the 2016 Beekeeping Cost of Production Survey is to monitor the current costs and returns of beekeeping in Alberta,” said Emmanuel Laate, senior crop economist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We have periodically monitored the […] Read more


A focus on improved management has allowed Alberta beekeepers to put the “dark days” of massive winterkill behind them, says provincial apiculturist Medhat Nasr.

A close call averted for Alberta beekeepers

A decade ago, winterkill was up to 40 per cent annually — a rate that could have ravaged the beekeeping sector

The good news is Alberta’s bee populations are currently strong and healthy. The deeper story is just how close the province came to losing this priceless resource. Medhat Nasr, provincial apiculturist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, has been closely involved in the challenges and comeback of the province’s bees in recent years. “Over the past […] Read more

Award recognizes producers who help pollinators

Nominations open until August 12

Nominations are being sought for the 2016 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. Individuals or families in Canada currently implementing pollinator protection measures on their farm or ranch are encouraged to apply. The award recognizes farmers and ranchers who have made significant efforts in conserving natural ecosystems, fostering additional pollinator habitat, and protecting pollinators. It is […] Read more


Don Ruzicka, shown here in an eco-buffer, has planted 100,000 trees and shrubs on his farm.

‘Eco-buffer’ boosts pasture productivity for Alberta producer

Letting nature do its job got Don Ruzicka off a treadmill of 
clearing trees, draining wetlands, and poor returns

Some people look for signs — other people just find them. For producer Don Ruzicka of Killam, the motivation behind the past three decades of land management on his farm was quite literally a sign. Before he purchased his grandparents’ farm in 1983, Ruzicka worked in the logging industry. “The first day I flew into […] Read more

Alberta is home to nearly half of the honeybee colonies in Canada.

Alberta honeybees are busy — but not well understood

Researcher says there’s a lot to learn about how honeybees could be used to further boost canola yields

Having bees around your canola field might be good for your yield, but the exact details of how and why are not known yet. That’s where people like Shelley Hoover, apiculture researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Lethbridge, comes in. Hoover’s research deals with bee health, bee pollination, and the impacts bees have on […] Read more