GFM Network News


DUC program to convert cropland to forages

DUC program to convert cropland to forages

Reading Time: < 1 minute A new $5-million program aims to return 125,000 acres of Prairie cropland to grass and pasture over the next three years. The Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) program, with funding from McDonald’s Canada and Cargill, will offer farmers discounted seed and technical support to help establish forages on their land. Converting 125,000 acres of cropland to […] Read more

The new $70-million grasslands conservation effort will allow hundreds of Prairie ranchers to do projects on their land, says Tamara Carter, a Saskatchewan producer recently hired as the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s director of prairie grassland conservation.

Grasslands conservation effort gets $70-million boost

Major grasslands initiative to fund 800 stewardship projects across the Prairies

Reading Time: 4 minutes There have been a lot of grasslands conservation efforts, but none as large as the Weston Family Prairie Grasslands Initiative. Five organizations are being given nearly $25 million by the Weston Family Foundation for what may be the largest grasslands conservation effort ever in Canada. And each of the five groups will be committing additional […] Read more


Native grass prairies and sunset

Grasslands Conservation Guide available

Reading Time: < 1 minute Birds Canada has produced a 69-page guide to help landowners learn more about financial incentive programs available to preserve, enhance, or restore grasslands and important prairie habitats. The guide outlines available programs, including ones available in Alberta. Some offer funding for projects while others offer assistance in protecting habitat and species that rely on grasslands. […] Read more

Pasture management is a mix of art and science, but having “some hard numbers on what your pastures are capable of” is a big help, says Tara Mulhern Davidson.

Carrying capacity: You gotta know if it can hold ’em

Overgrazing can really hurt productivity, so it pays to know how many cows you can put on a pasture

Reading Time: 3 minutes Struggling with finding the right amount of cattle to graze on a pasture or not sure how many cattle a new rented pasture will hold? The Beef Cattle Research Council now has a calculator to help you with that. There are four basic principles of range management: Balancing forage supply and demand; managing for uniform […] Read more


“What is good for birds is good for us,” states the 2019 State of Canada’s Birds report. It urges Canadians to “support sustainable range-fed beef,” but is critical of cropping native grasslands and draining wetlands.

Protect grasslands — and buy range-fed beef — says bird report

Two-thirds of birds that breed and winter in grasslands have been lost, says State of Canada’s Birds report

Reading Time: 2 minutes A new State of Canada’s Birds report shows the beef sector plays a critical role in protecting the country’s highly threatened grassland bird species, says the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “The CCA has long advocated for enhanced protection of the Great Northern Plains, an endangered grasslands ecosystem, from further encroachment,” the cattle organization said in its […] Read more

This map shows the Bighorn Country proposals. There would be one large provincial park (Bighorn Wildland) along with three smaller ones (David Thompson, Ya Ha Tinda, and North Saskatchewan River). The largest area on the map is the proposed West Country Public Land Use Zone. A second such zone, Kiska/Willson, already exists but would have enlarged boundaries. Within the Kiska/Willson zone would be four provincial recreation areas: Bighorn Dam, Snow Creek, and Shunda (in the upper part of the zone) and Hummingbird in the middle.

Alberta Beef Producer’s view on Bighorn Country proposals

Cattle group supports conservation of sensitive lands, but the details raise concerns

Reading Time: 3 minutes Editor’s note: This is a condensed version of an ABP briefing note. The full PDF version can be found at the Alberta Beef Producers website. The Bighorn Country proposal by Alberta Environment and Parks consists of four provincial parks, four recreation areas, and two Public Land Use Zones (PLUZs). There are several beef producers who […] Read more


A small mound of alfalfa seeds on a white background

Forage seed rebate offered for cropland conversion

Reading Time: < 1 minute Discounts on forage seed are once again being offered to producers who convert cropland to pasture. The 2019 forage program from Ducks Unlimited Canada and Nutrien Ag Solutions offers a $100 rebate on a 50-pound bag of Proven Seed forage varieties for farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Manitoba producers receive a rebate of $50 for every new forage […] Read more

Glenbow Ranch, located between Cochrane and Calgary, became a provincial park after the Harvie family sold more than 3,200 acres to the province in 2006 for less than market value.

Learning about grasslands at Glenbow Ranch

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta Beef Producers has partnered with the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation on a program that gives school kids a chance to learn about native grasslands and the role cattle play in these threatened ecosystems. The Explore Grasslands Program is open to elementary and high school classes, and includes a half-day program for Grade 4 students […] Read more


Sylvia and John Walters at the 1,500-acre Ferrier property donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Donation preserves central Alberta wetlands and grasslands

Reading Time: 2 minutes A central Alberta farm family has gifted 1,467 acres on the northwest shore of Gough Lake to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The Ferrier property, located 125 kilometres east of Red Deer, has 256 acres of wetlands and shoreline habitat that is home to deer, grassland birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Several species considered at risk […] Read more

Taking a bit of time to create a grazing plan will pay good dividends for years, says rangeland specialist Pete Deal 
(centre in cowboy hat).

It pays to have a plan before turning your cattle out on pasture

Bountiful, nutritious forage doesn’t happen by accident — 
here’s how to plan for success on your ranch

Reading Time: 3 minutes A grazing plan might save you more than you think. Whether it’s a simple or detailed plan, a few key components will not only save your grass, but maybe save you a few dollars in the long run. Adjusting your stocking rate will allow you to get good-quality forage and vigorous regrowth. “Managing the amount […] Read more