GFM Network News


Historical data shows big and sometimes ‘remarkable’ changes in Alberta’s climate have already occurred, says retired provincial oilseed specialist Murray Hartman.

Like it or not, climate change will change your farm, say two experts

The growing season is already longer and extremes more common, say climatologist and crop specialist

Canada’s best-known climatologist always knows when he’s lost a crowd of producers he’s presenting to. It’s usually right around the time he starts talking about climate change. But he gets it. “Farmers have been beat up a lot — they’ve been accused of causing climate change,” said David Phillips, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s senior […] Read more

Irrigation, like this system near Taber, is a common sight in parts of southern Alberta. But there are predictions there will be an expansion of irrigated acres in central and northern areas of the province.

Interest in irrigation in Alberta heads north

While the lion’s share of irrigation is in the south, some expect a major expansion as far north as the Peace

From the highway, the sign seems out of place. “Now open, Southern Irrigation,” it declares. Down Lethbridge way, it might not be unusual to see a yard full of irrigation pipes and reels of tubing. But Red Deer isn’t exactly the epicentre of irrigation in the province. But that may slowly be starting to change, […] Read more


In a new documentary, Mickenzie Plemel-Stronks says grasslands are a disappearing ecosystem that urgently need to be protected — and that cattle are the way to do that.

Ducks Unlimited Canada goes all in to support cattle grazing

Conservation group wants public to know that cattle are key to saving grasslands

Even though they don’t walk like a duck or quack like one, the country’s leading duck organization is pretty fond of cows. “For years, the backbone of conservation in Western Canada has been our cattle-producing partners because of the need for them to have good grass and good water,” said Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Mickenzie Plemel-Stronks, […] Read more

Kochia has taken over this abandoned well site and stands nearly as tall as Kevin Serfas. The Turin farmer says his calls to the energy companies that own several dozen similar sites on his family’s farming operation go unanswered. And managing the weeds would require “a full-time guy,” he said.

Farmers lose — and weeds win — when energy companies walk away

When well sites are abandoned, the rent cheques 
often stop while the noxious weeds flourish

“Kochia six feet tall and completely covering the whole leases. We have many that look like this. When I phone, no one even answers the phones.” This tweet from Lethbridge-area farmer Kevin Serfas in August likely could have been written by any one of hundreds of Alberta producers with abandoned well sites on their farms. […] Read more


Dispose of old pesticides and livestock meds

Twenty-six locations named across the province

Cleanfarms is collecting old, unwanted agricultural pesticides and livestock/equine medications in six locations in the Peace region from Oct. 16-18 and at 20 locations in northern Alberta from Oct. 7-11. Materials accepted in the Cleanfarms program include old or unwanted agricultural pesticides (identified with a Pest Control Product number on the label) and livestock/equine medications […] Read more

The benefits that cattle provide the 
environment and the health benefits 
of beef need to be promoted, Ryley 
Mappin says in his prizewinning speech.

We need to let people know that raising cattle is a good thing

Junior winner in Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture competition wants to 'bust a myth'

Ryley Mappin, 14, of Byemoor was the junior winner in the Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture competition at the Calgary Stampede. He chose the topic: ‘Bust a myth in Canadian agriculture.’ “Oh give me a home, where the buffaloes roam, Where the deer and the antelope play,     Where seldom is heard, a discouraging […] Read more


Fish habitat clause sent swimming

Senate amendments to the recently passed Fisheries Act repealed the ‘Deeming Habitat’ provision opposed by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. The provision would have greatly expanded what could be deemed fish habitat to include any watercourse or water body with water flows able to sustain fish ecosystems.  It would have meant virtually all water bodies could […] Read more

The release of carbon dioxide is increasing in tandem with a wide number of other human activities and there is little evidence that agriculture is a major culprit.

Many sources of greenhouse gases are being ignored

Agriculture is singled out while major contributors receive little or no attention in climate change debate

As the discussion on climate change heats up, I find myself defaulting to facts that may surprise you. Climate change is not a new phenomenon. The definition is basically changes in wind patterns, temperature and precipitation that stretches over several decades. With that definition in mind, climate change has been an ongoing challenge for farmers […] Read more


A year ago, ALUS Canada invited officials from Alberta’s Agriculture and Environment ministries, and stewardship groups to Parkland County to see four flood and drought mitigation projects covering 650 acres — work funded by a $720,000 provincial grant. Last month, Manitoba raised the bar on funding this sort of work by setting up a $52-million endowment fund.

Manitoba puts $52 million in stewardship program — should Alberta be next?

More government funds for farms providing eco-services would be welcomed here — and put to good use

Is the idea of paying farmers for ‘ecological services’ finally ready for prime time? The Manitoba government is winning praise for setting up a $52-million endowment fund to create a province-wide version of a program that pays farmers for stewardship efforts such as protecting riparian areas and habitat restoration. The program will be based on […] 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