GFM Network News


Preserving what remains of natural grasslands is a top priority for Tom Lynch-Staunton, who recently left Alberta Beef Producers to head up Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Alberta operation.

Moving from cows to conservation a natural fit

Stewardship is at the heart of both, says the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s top official in Alberta

Conservation has always been a passion for Tom Lynch-Staunton, and he’s found a new way to pursue that goal — moving from the beef sector to an environmental protection group. “I’m passionate about conservation and stewardship, that’s why I am in this role,” said Lynch-Staunton, who became the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s new Alberta vice-president […] Read more

Rod and Shelley Bradshaw, along with sons Kurt and Brent, farm near Innisfail and want to keep the quality of the land and water there high for future generations.

Stewardship projects getting ‘ticked off the to-do list’

ALUS Canada has seen a jump in interest in its conservation programs during the pandemic

The pandemic hasn’t just prompted more housebound urbanites to undertake property improvements — more farmers are also looking at conservation projects. ALUS Canada — which helps fund projects such as fencing riparian areas or protecting wildlife habitat — has seen more applications since COVID-19 struck, said Christine Campbell, ALUS Canada’s western hub manager. “We’ve actually […] Read more


The Waldron ranch is an example of how having cattle on the landscape can protect grasslands.

Conservation groups rally behind beef sector

If pandemic forces ranchers to exit sector, grasslands will suffer, say conservationists

Government needs to step up its support for the cattle sector — not just for ranchers, but to save the country’s most endangered habitat, say a coalition of conservation groups. Very little of Canada’s grasslands remain and the cattle sector is essential to preserving what’s left, conservation organizations told the federal environment minister in a […] Read more

Saving a jewel — and the setting it’s placed in

Easement protects pristine valley — and the farmland above it

There’s a little slice of paradise nestled in the Rosebud River Valley. Along its craggy cliffsides, golden eagles and peregrine falcons nest, while moose and deer leave their own marks on the native grassland that surrounds the river’s edge. But these lands are home to more than just the wildlife. On top of the river […] Read more


Scott Proudfoot took advantage of a forage seed rebate program to rejuvenate 
110 acres on his operation near Youngstown.

Fostering forage and grasslands in the Special Areas

The region has been hit hard by a multi-year drought so rejuvenating forage stands is a challenge

It’s a bitterly cold day with the wind blowing hard from the north and few trees to hide behind. Scott Proudfoot, though, has grown to cherish the wide-open spaces in the Special Areas of southeastern Alberta. “I’ve fallen in love with it out here. It’s one of the last places in the world you can […] Read more

Ranchers prefer conservation management agreements

Ranchers and farmers in Western Canada prefer conservation management agreements when it comes to protecting habitat, a survey of 200 producers by the University of Waterloo has found. These agreements are usually made with a conservation organization to undertake practices that benefit wildlife. Annual payments for habitat management were the preferred incentive. Market certification (having […] Read more


Ben Campbell, a rancher from Black Diamond, appears in “Guardians of the Grasslands,” which was filmed at the Waldron Ranch.

Film celebrates not just grass, but a special, overlooked habitat

Documentary shines a spotlight on grasslands and why they need to be protected and cherished

Not all superheroes wear capes — some put on work clothes and graze cows. Ranchers are the stars of a new mini-documentary called “Guardians of the Grasslands” and their mission is to protect this fast-disappearing habitat. Three-quarters of the country’s native grasslands have already been lost, and cattle are key to protecting those that remain […] Read more

Ducks Unlimited Canada sees first hand “the steps that the beef industry has taken to be a leader in sustainability,” Mickenzie Plemel-Stronks, the organization’s cattle industry liaison, said in announcing a three-year deal to work with Alberta Beef Producers on public awareness campaigns. She is pictured here with ABP’s Tom Lynch-Staunton.

Agreement shows how ‘cattle and conservation work together’

Ducks Unlimited Canada and Alberta Beef Producers to work together to raise public awareness

Ducks Unlimited Canada and Alberta Beef Producers have signed a three-year agreement to work together to “help Albertans gain a better understanding of how cattle and conservation work together.” The deal to work on joint public awareness campaigns is an acknowledgment their work on issues such as conservation, the environment and sustainable practices is complementary […] Read more


Shane and Laurel Hansen wanted to maintain a working ranch while ensuring it would be protected from development.

Preserving the land for future generations

Family wanted their operation to be a working ranch while preserving some key natural habitats

It wasn’t prime real estate a century ago, but the Hansen Ranch near Waterton Lakes National Park certainly is now. “When my family first came to this area in the 1920s, this was one of the last places people wanted to settle down,” said Shane Hansen, the third generation to work the land. “The snowfall […] 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