GFM Network News


Solar panels lose a little bit of efficiency each year but the irrigation district’s arrays come with a guarantee of 80 per cent output in 25 years’ time.

Inspired by farmers, irrigation district aims for ‘net zero’

St. Mary River Irrigation District moves a lot of water and has a big electric bill — but that’s about to change

The St. Mary River Irrigation District is putting the sun to work providing water to its users. Solar arrays at two large pump stations have the district in a position to achieve net zero electrical use — and potentially save hundreds of thousands in electricity costs down the road. The inspiration to look at solar came […] Read more

FCC to offer flexibility in hurricane-battered areas

Farm Credit Canada says it plans to help its farmer clients in Atlantic Canada work around financial pressures following Hurricane Dorian’s passage through the region over the weekend. “We won’t know the full extent of damage for some time, but we’ve already heard that some customers will likely be facing some financial hardship as a […] Read more



Your best bang for your energy buck might not be a solar array but some cheap and easy fixes that reduce power or fuel usage, says Lyle Lawrence, an energy outreach officer with the province.

Quick steps to better energy efficiency

Energy expert offers some ‘low-hanging fruit’ that can help producers save money on their power or fuel bill

Maximizing energy efficiency on farms and ranches saves money, and who likes to spend money when they don’t have to? But there are only so many hours in the day and only so many dollars for these sorts of projects. So the real question for many farmers is: Where to start? What are the ‘low-hanging […] Read more



This image from a 2SaveEnergy promotional video shows how a light-defusing plastic film is incorporated into the greenhouse structure. However, things such as anti-reflective coatings can improve light capture in existing greenhouses, says provincial horticulture specialist Dustin Morton.

Greenhouse advances saving operators big dollars

New state-of-the-art designs are halving energy costs, but even ‘simple things’ make a difference

Improved construction materials and design are making greenhouses more efficient and cheaper to operate, says a provincial horticulture specialist. “Greenhouses have traditionally been energy-intensive operations, but with increasing scrutiny and slowly shrinking margins, producers need to find ways of trimming costs wherever possible,” said Dustin Morton. For example, research by Silke Hemming of Wageningen University […] Read more


Small ‘tie-in’ solar installations, like this one in Gladstone Valley, 
are popping up across Alberta.

Alberta producers asking big questions about solar power

There’s huge interest in this technology and issues such as payback, 
fixed costs, and government programs are top of mind

There’s no doubt that the government of Alberta is betting big on renewable energy. The goal is to get 30 per cent of Alberta’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030, and it earmarked $5.5 million last year to help farms and municipalities develop solar power projects. With that kind of big money comes big […] Read more

Can producers make money as solar power providers?

The province is currently consulting stakeholders on a framework that could help farmers do this

In many places, farmers are allowed to turn a profit by tying their solar power systems into the electrical grid. Albertans can export solar electricity to the grid — but there are currently no programs allowing system sizes larger than those that meet on-site electrical requirements. “Alberta’s micro-generation law was crafted for homeowners, business owners, […] Read more


Ontario budget seeks tax flexibility for on-farm processing

The Ontario government has balanced its budget for the first time in since 2008 — but Thursday’s budget contained little news for agriculture and rural Ontario. Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s budget mostly highlighted agriculture programs that had already been announced, and maintains $100 million in funding for the provincial Risk Management Program, which helps offsets […] Read more

Cattle grazer Steve Kenyon and wife Amber Kenyon have gone almost completely off-grid with a solar system purchased on the online classified site Kijiji.

The solar power math is starting to add up

A steep drop in solar prices is giving a new meaning to ‘green’ power — 
and giving Alberta farmers a way to cut energy costs

Cory Nelson isn’t what you might call a ‘tree hugger.’ But the Grassy Lake-area farmer is a businessman, and to him, solar energy just makes good financial sense. “We view it as an investment,” said Nelson, who grows a variety of crops under irrigation on his southern Alberta farm. “Our best math said it was […] Read more