GFM Network News


Farmers on a committee dealing with workplace safety regulations argued that wearing a seatbelt while operating farm equipment doesn’t make sense much of the time. But the committee is recommending making buckling up mandatory.

Buckle up — workplace safety rules may be in for a rough ride

Mandatory seatbelt use is among several ‘pretty big’ regulations that don’t make sense, 
says the AgCoalition

Over the objections of its farmer members, a committee has recommended the province make seatbelt use mandatory in tractors, combines, and other farm equipment. Forcing farmers to buckle up is just one — although likely the most controversial — of 142 recommendations from four “technical working groups” established to turn Bill 6 into actual occupational […] Read more

Feedlots topped the list for injury claims to the Workers Compensation Board in the first half of the year.

Workplace compensation claims on farms jump sharply

But the claims offer an opportunity for finding ways to make farms and ranches safer for everyone, says farm leader

Alberta farm employee injury claims have more than doubled since workplace compensation coverage became mandatory for farms on Jan. 1, even though the number of workers being covered is only up by two-thirds. During the first six months of the year, 395 claims were filed by farm workers and 356 claims were accepted by the […] Read more


“We all want our employees to be going home at night safe and in the same condition that they came to work in,” says Kevin Serfas.

Moving past the Bill 6 rhetoric

AgCoalition meetings focus on creating sensible workplace safety rules

The Alberta government’s town halls on Bill 6 last winter were explosive, but recent industry-led meetings didn’t produce similar fireworks. “I thought the meeting went very well. There were lots of ideas thrown around between farmers and the facilitators,” said Turin-area farmer Kevin Serfas, who attended AgCoalition’s producer meeting in Lethbridge on June 22. “The […] Read more

Alberta ag minister promises to work with farm groups

But coalition of farm organizations still waiting to hear details of its role in shaping new workplace regulations

The governmental gears are grinding over who will be at the table for upcoming Bill 6 consultations, but a coalition of farm groups is stuck in “wait and see” mode over what role they’ll play in the shaping of workplace safety regulations. “We had over 50 nomination forms come to the coalition office to be […] Read more


Bill 6 controversy flares again

The province plans to hand-pick who it will consult with

A coalition of Alberta farm groups wants the provincial government to put the brakes on its proposed Bill 6 consultation model. In mid-February, the province held a two-week nomination process to gather names for six separate working groups to consult on Bill 6, the controversial Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. The problem […] Read more

“We want a process, we want it in writing, and we want a report coming out of that process showing that we told them these things and that they understand what we’re asking for.”  – Kent Erickson

Farm leaders aren’t happy, but willing to try again

The last round of farm safety ‘consultations’ wasn’t meaningful, but farm reps say 
they’re cautiously hopeful the next round will be

As far as Alberta farm leaders are concerned, “all bets are off” on whether producer groups will be consulted on farm safety regulations following the passing of the controversial Bill 6. “We were told right from the get-go with the new NDP government that they wanted to consult with us, and I guess that means […] Read more


Terry Banack asked her Open Farm Days visitors what is made from the little black seeds in her hand. Their curiosity about modern farming was ‘refreshing,’ she said.

Open Farm Days: This is how you connect with consumers

Yes, there were questions about GMOs and hormones in meat, 
but the farm visitors were just ‘amazed’ by what they saw and learned

As farm leaders, Humphrey Banack and Kent Erickson are well aware that consumers are increasingly critical about how their food is produced. So they were expecting tough questions when they put up the ‘Come On In’ sign for this year’s edition of Alberta Open Farm Days. But that’s not what happened. “They were amazed at […] Read more

Want to be part of Open Farm Days? Here’s some tips

Show the link between farm and fork, line up the equipment in the yard, and take people’s breath away by talking technology

Organizers of Alberta Open Farm Days are always looking for more farm families to participate. But what can you offer visitors if you have, as Kent Erickson puts it, a “boring old conventional grain farm” or ranch? Here are some of the things conventional producers did this year. Terry Banack created a display using common […] Read more


Latest rail bill highlights the need for change, says farm leader

The $1.3-billion tab for moving last year’s crop shows 
‘there will never be an open market,’ says Alberta Wheat chair

The final tally is in and Prairie farmers spent more than $1.3 billion on rail transportation in the last crop year. The average bill was $33.69 a tonne for the 2013-14 crop year (a drop of 30 cents per tonne from the previous year) and the total cost was almost exactly what’s allowed under federal […] Read more

Following the money: Farm leaders say it’s well spent

Saskatchewan and Manitoba aiming to keep admin costs below 15 per cent of spending —
but their Alberta counterparts aren’t sure it can be done

Do Alberta’s wheat and barley commissions have a spending problem? The chair of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission suggested as much when he took a shot at GrainsWest, a magazine published quarterly by the Alberta Barley Commission and Alberta Wheat Commission. “You’ll not see us putting out a great big glossy magazine,” Bill Gehl said […] Read more