GFM Network News


Big brown bats are one of nine bat species in Alberta.

The interconnections between species are deep and interwoven

COVID-19 has put bats into the spotlight, and research shows how deeply everything is connected

In the last column I introduced the concept of systems change for the benefit of human and animal health. Fortunately, there is an avenue to work with human and animal doctors, scientists and experts towards a healthy world and it is called One Health. One Health is defined as a “collaborative, multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach […] Read more

Dwayne Beck is a frequent visitor to Alberta and while he has seen some progress over the years, the soil health guru says the province’s farmers face a looming disaster if they don’t change their approach.

Stop fighting Mother Nature — because you’re going to lose

Most farmers in Alberta still love tractors more than biology and are heading for big trouble, says Dwayne Beck

Like a voice crying in the wilderness, Dwayne Beck has been beating the drum of soil defence as the foundation for a healthier farming system for decades. To some, the longtime research manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm is a wise prophet and caretaker. For others, his message is radical and uncomfortable — something […] Read more


Getting more out of fewer acres while lowering risk prompted Ryan Boyd, pictured with daughter Piper, 
to try regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture: A better way to farm?

Modern version of mixed farming model is attracting producers focused on ‘the long game’

Twelve years ago, Ryan Boyd faced a wreck that changed the way he farms today. “I had big plans,” said Boyd, who farms with his wife and parents north of Brandon, Man. “We had a nice crop coming, and then the weather went against us and the markets dropped. “The long and short of it […] Read more

Using your smartphone is now an option for reporting poaching or suspicious incidents.

You can now report poachers online

The 1-800 Report A Poacher hotline is the best option when immediate action is needed

You can now report suspicious hunting or fishing activity online. Until now, the only way to report poaching activity, dangerous wildlife or public land abuse was to phone the Report A Poacher hotline. There is now a Report A Poacher website to fill out a form and submit it online. The report goes to fish […] Read more


Devil’s trumpet — also known as jimsonweed, hell’s bells, loco-weed, and devil’s cucumber — is easily identified by either sight or smell.

Devil’s trumpet is a potentially deadly invader

Noxious Weeds: Jimsonweed

Although its exact origin is unknown, devil’s trumpet — otherwise known as jimsonweed — is found in many countries around the world in both agricultural and ornamental settings. Introduced to this province as a contaminant of agricultural seed, this smelly weed is under review by the provincial Agriculture Ministry and it has been recommended to […] 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


A ‘mystery syndrome’ is stunting canola buds, and Alberta researchers still aren’t sure what’s causing it.

‘Mystery’ canola attacker stumps scientists

Researchers have been trying to solve this ‘whodunit’ for years but so far, no one has been able to crack the case

It’s a classic ‘whodunit’ — the Case of the Confounding Canola Killer. And Alberta researchers are still scratching their heads over it 15 years later. “Since 2002, we’ve been finding this ‘mystery syndrome,’ and I don’t have a cause for it,” said provincial oilseed specialist Murray Hartman. “We get one nice flower that turns into […] Read more

“This kind of growth and recognition can only occur with community leadership. Right out of the gate in Alberta, the program was championed and embraced by various counties.” – Bryan Gilvesy

Program that rewards stewards of the land is taking off in Alberta

More than 100 Alberta farmers have signed up for ALUS, and that number is expected to grow rapidly

The movement to pay farmers for being good stewards of the land is gathering steam, with 10 counties in Alberta now having a local ALUS program. ALUS — short for Alternative Land Use Services and pronounced ‘Alice’ — is expanding across Canada and recently became a national, registered not-for-profit. “This kind of growth and recognition […] Read more


Before and after: In the summer of 2012, cattle were still drinking from a drainage channel that ran through Tomahawk Cattle Ranch. Fencing off the area produced a dramatic change by September 2015.  PHOTOS: PARKLAND COUNTY

Ecological services program catching fire in Alberta

ALUS grew slowly after arriving in Alberta in 2010, but it’s taken off in the 
past year and now 10 counties are on board

The notice in the county newsletter about funding for environmental projects immediately caught the attention of Gerry Taillieu. “I thought, ‘This is something I need to look into’ because it was offering financial assistance to do something we were already going to do,” said the manager of Tomahawk Cattle Ranch, a 14,000-acre operation in Parkland […] Read more

DUC’s Janine Paly, Lakeland instructor Peter Walsh, student Jenna Sahulka, DUC’s Bryon Wolters, and students Nathan Glassford and Kris Cavulchik.

Initiative aims to showcase the benefits of growing winter wheat

Ducks Unlimited Canada teams up with Lakeland ag students to explore winter wheat’s potential

To many agricultural producers, winter wheat is an unknown and untried commodity. But a new project by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is intended to show winter wheat can add to a producer’s pocketbook, the land’s productivity, and nature’s ecological balance. This fall, DUC conservation specialist Bryon Wolters invited Lakeland’s crop technology students to take part in […] Read more