GFM Network News


A producer tends to his pigs inside a barn. A recent poll found consumers love farmers and like agriculture but are unsure about industry practices.

New programs aim to educate and reassure consumers about agriculture

The province is giving out $10 million for education, building public trust, and ‘sustainability assurances’

Reading Time: 3 minutes [UPDATE: Aug. 22, 2018]* The next wave of agricultural funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is open and includes a trio of programs with goals that appear quite different than its predecessor, Growing Forward 2. The federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories, has allocated $3 billion over the next five years to […] Read more

A display at Banack's Homestead during Open Farm Days.

Alberta Open Farm Days hosts wanted

Registration deadline is May 31

Reading Time: < 1 minute Farmers and ranchers are invited to share stories, educate, and expand their markets as hosts for Alberta Open Farm Days, which takes place on Aug. 18-19. Alberta Open Farm Days is a province-wide, two-day event that showcases agriculture, local food, and ag-tourism by inviting the public to come out and directly experience the farm. Alberta […] Read more


The www.whatsinthefield.com website offers people more information on crops and livestock they see in Alberta farm country.

‘What’s in the field?’ program adds new component

Reading Time: < 1 minute Agriculture for Life is enhancing its ‘What’s in the field?’ program to give consumers more information on what they see when driving by fields and pastures. The program, which is entering its third year, provides signs (at no cost to producers) that identify the crop being grown in a field or the breed of livestock […] Read more

Talk to family, friends about farming

This holiday season Melodie Chan wants producers to avoid what she calls the “spiral of silence,” which can happen around the dinner table, over beers or even in the gentle lull between turkey and pie if farmers don’t speak up when they hear misinformation about agriculture. “What are we afraid of?” asked Chan, speaking at […] Read more


Lost in the crowd? One of the lessons from eye-tracking studies done in garden centres is that more is actually less — when there’s too many plants on a display bench, the eyes tend to quickly scan instead of lingering on an item.

The ‘eyes’ have it — the key to better sales, that is

High-tech eye tracking technology literally gives insights into the buying decisions of consumers

Reading Time: 3 minutes Want to get more customers in the door? Get rid of potholes in the parking lot and put an inverted V-shaped canopy over the entrance. Want to boost sales? Put fewer items on the shelf and lower the height of display benches. That was some of the advice offered to Alberta garden centre owners by […] Read more

Greig: Food fraud a challenge to whole food supply chain

Farmers are used to the conversation about how to manage trust with consumers. Food companies are learning it too, and finding food fraud to be a significant concern. Food fraud “comes back to trust,” according to Renata McGuire of NSF Consulting and Technical Services. “Do I trust this brand?” McGuire, along with Sylvain Charlebois, dean […] Read more


Millennials, boomers, and new Canadians all present marketing challenges for the Canadian beef industry, says Doug Lacombe.

Canada has changed — and the beef industry must, too, says marketer

Newcomers don’t celebrate over roast beef dinners, millennials 
want cheap and convenient, and boomers are big on healthy eating

Reading Time: 2 minutes If you want to sell beef, you’re going to have to learn about the new Canada, says a digital marketing expert. “They’re not the same people as before — these are not your grandpa’s target markets, by any stretch,” Doug Lacombe, president of Calgary-based Communicatto, said at the recent Alberta Beef Industry Conference. “Most of […] Read more

This is the picture — mountains in the background and a landscape made for ranching — that comes to mind 
when consumers here and abroad think about Canadian beef.

Accentuate the positive — consumers want a happy beef story

Canada Beef research finds consumers already in love with the product, the lifestyle, and the brand

Reading Time: 2 minutes Talk about Canadian beef in a positive way, and consumers will buy and eat more beef. That was a key finding of in-depth research by Canada Beef — and something that surprised marketing officials who figured today’s consumers are fixated on topics such as antibiotics and animal welfare. “Consumers wanted to hear about producers; they […] Read more


Market to the people who already love your beef, says expert

Beef hedonists, ranching romantics, and true patriots are the biggest fans of Canadian beef

Reading Time: 2 minutes Why would you try pursuing someone who doesn’t like you? That’s the key to romance — and to marketing beef. “As an industry, we have been starting with the logic perspective for a very long time,” James Bradbury, Canada Beef’s brand officer, said at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference. “We need to start coming across […] Read more

Tweeting about your local produce and sustainable practices ticks a lot of boxes for millennials.

Millennials — how to cater to the new majority

The age cohort now in their late teens to early 30s will be the majority by 2050

Reading Time: 2 minutes When it comes to targeting millennials, emphasize sustainability and ethical business practices, as well as convenience and flavour variety. In 2015, there were 9.5 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 34 years old. “As a group, they’re more ethnically diverse and well educated than any previous generation,” said Ava Duering, a competitiveness analyst […] Read more