GFM Network News


Genome editing will not only revolutionize plant breeding, it will offer advances with wide public benefits such as making crops more resilient in the face of climate change, says Stacy Singer, a forage breeder and biotechnologist at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Singer is shown here with sainfoin plants, a bloat-free type of alfalfa. Her colleague, Surya Acharya, bred a more hardy variety of the forage using conventional methods but the breeding process took many years.

The next frontier of plant breeding

Advocates say game-changing genome editing is completely different from genetic engineering — but will the public agree?

Farmers need to get in front of the messaging about genome editing technology — or risk seeing it suffer the same fate as GMOs in the court of public opinion. That’s the warning from the chair of Alberta Wheat’s research committee, who is one of many who fears genome editing is going to get lumped […] Read more

It is estimated that 96 per cent of corn varieties have already been lost.

Encouraging seed diversity is essential for the future

We should mourn the loss of diversity in older crop varieties 
and the concentration of seed ownership

One of the wonders of travel and of food is the vast varieties of plants that beautify our world. Many have medicinal and nutritional qualities and have been used for food or healing for thousands of years. Others are new hybrids that beautify the plate and add colour to our meal. They all have ancient […] Read more


Farming is not a one-size-fits-all business

There is room for organic, conventional, and GM technology because each of them offers different benefits

I continue to witness arguments over different methods of farming. But considering the variety of farms around the world, and that most of them are very small compared to the Canadian average, combative conversation is really rather unwarranted and, in many cases, an uneducated dialogue. When one disparages farms that are organic or ones that […] Read more

Brent Reese

Counties say GM alfalfa not wanted here

Councillors and forage industry members concerned about potential loss of markets if GM alfalfa allowed in Alberta

Councillors from counties across the province have voted to keep genetically modified alfalfa out of Alberta until international markets become more accepting of the crop. At a meeting of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) earlier this month, 59 per cent of Alberta’s county councillors voted to keep the province free of […] Read more


Alberta is the largest producer of alfalfa seed, but growers’ overseas customers have a 
zero-GM tolerance policy.

GM alfalfa may already be in Alberta

Accidental contamination of foundation seed heightens fears that forage 
and hay markets worth hundreds of millions are in peril

Genetically modified alfalfa has somehow made its way into Alberta — raising fears that western Canadian forage seed growers and hay exporters could be shut out of markets worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Alberta Farmer recently learned that a batch of foundation seed contaminated with Roundup Ready alfalfa was sent to a forage seed […] Read more

Consumers aren’t that interested in the facts about GMOs, says geneticist 
Sean Myles.

These aren’t your grandmother’s GMOs

FarmTech: Scientists used to use a scattergun approach to genetically modify plants, but modern methods are extremely precise, says professor

Of all the tools that plant breeders have at their disposal, a compelling story is perhaps the most important — and the most challenging to find. “That’s one of the things in the modern breeders’ tool kit that needs improvement — our message out to the public and how it’s going to come across,” said […] Read more



Ethicist says consumers have a right to labelling of GM foods

Despite scientific consensus that genetically modified foods are safe, 
consumers are understandably concerned

Consumer concern about genetically modified food may not be science based, but it’s a natural reaction and farmers have to get used to it, says an agricultural ethicist. Andrew Kernohan pointed to an early (although never commercialized) example of GM food — a tomato modified with a flounder gene in order to give it increased […] Read more