GFM Network News


A new consortium has been given nearly $50 million in federal funding to find ways to bring cutting-edge technology to Canadian farms. Among the tech being focused on is self-driving equipment (pictured is DOT Technology’s autonomous platform), robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytic, hyperspectral imaging, traceability systems, and “smart farms.”

Feds back $108-million push to automate farming

A consortium of groups, including three from Alberta, want to usher in a new era of advanced ag technology

It may not seem a priority given the weather and trade challenges farmers are facing — but now is the time to launch a new era of smart farms, AI, and robotics, say backers of a new $108-million tech fund. Ottawa is giving $49.5 million to the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN), and […] Read more

Lakeland College’s new 14,000-square-foot animal health clinic is modelled after a functioning vet clinic, giving students the hands-on training they need to enter the work world.

Student-managed farms at Lakeland College work to reflect the industries they serve

No ivory towers when students are running the show

Students are running the show at Lakeland College, and that’s just how they — and their prospective employers — like it. “Our student-led model has really been our big success at the college,” said Geoff Brown, associate dean of agricultural sciences. “On our student-managed farms, we really try to mimic the industries we’re in. We’re […] Read more


Roy Kubica, sitting next to Lakeland College president Alice Wainwright-Stewart, says he knows the value of hands-on learning.

Donation helps college expand its student-managed farm

When Roy Kubica retired from farming, he thought of his alma mater. Earlier this month, the Class of 1966 Lakeland College alumnus donated $500,000 to buy land for the college’s student-managed farm. “I have put it in my mind that I am giving away a farm,” said Kubica, who retired from farming with his brother […] Read more

Enrolment in Lakeland College’s ag sciences program has almost tripled since Josie Van Lent (seen with former student Sheena McKelvie, top picture) became dean 10 years ago.

The future looks bright for today’s agriculture grads

A decade and a half ago, ag programs were struggling to attract students — that’s changed dramatically

Alot of young people — and their parents — weren’t so keen on farming’s prospects 15 years ago. “Fifteen years ago, enrolments were low in ag programs across Canada,” said Josie Van Lent, dean of agricultural sciences at Lakeland College. “Farmers didn’t want to send their sons or daughters into agriculture because they thought there […] Read more


Lakeland College gets VBP+ certification

Lakeland College is the first post-secondary institution in Alberta to attain Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) certification. Having the school’s herd of 220 beef cattle fall under this certification makes it “an example for future producers,” said Melissa Downing, Alberta VBP+ co-ordinator. “We can help influence students going through the program so they can become familiar […] Read more

Lakeland College uses the GrowSafe system to measure feed efficiency in the animals it tests.

Bull test changes a sign of the times

Bull testing has changed — shifting from selecting for size to selecting for feed efficiency

Manitoba’s lone multi-breed bull test station is the last of a dying breed. In its early days, the Manitoba Bull Test Station was a way for cattle producers to evaluate their genetics before genetic testing became de rigueur in the livestock industry. Opened in 1963 near Douglas, just east of Brandon, the Sire Indexing Centre […] Read more


Accompanied by her grandson Spencer Boles (front row, far left), Judy Sweet (front row, second from the left) presents her donation to Josie Van Lent, dean of Lakeland’s School of Agricultural Sciences, and Geoff Brown, associate dean. In the rear (from left to right) are: Ethan Winsnes (sheep unit manager), Hannah Olsen (students’ association president), Brantley Wasmuth (crops assistant manager), Connor English (research unit manager), Jonathan Lange (dairy unit manager), Colton Nickipelo (general manager), Jarrett Hargrave (purebred beef unit manager), and Erica Horner (commercial beef unit manager).

Donation to aid Lakeland College farmland expansion

A $500,000 donation will allow Lakeland College to buy more land for its farm operations. The donation came from Judy Sweet, who had previously donated funds to modernize and expand the G.N. Sweet Livestock Research Facility, which officially opened two years ago. Sweet and her late husband, Garth Sweet, raised purebred simmental cattle for more […] Read more



Enrolment in Lakeland College’s agriculture sciences program has almost tripled since Josie Van Lent (r) (seen here with former student Sheena McKelvie) became dean in 2007.


The jobs are waiting for ag program graduates

Enrolment has soared in the past decade — and so has the number of unfilled jobs in the agriculture sector

A career in agriculture just wasn’t an option for Julie Mitchell when she was growing up. Or at least that’s what she thought. “I was really passionate about agriculture, but I didn’t think you could have a career in ag beyond being a farmer,” said Mitchell, who grew up on a cattle operation in Manitoba. […] Read more

A province-wide vote on the non-refundable checkoff could be held as early as this fall.

End of refundable checkoff may be near

If successful, most of the $2 million refunded each year would go towards the creation of an industry development fund

The province has given the nod to a long-sought request for a plebiscite to make the cattle checkoff non-refundable. It’s hoped a province-wide vote on the contentious issue will be held this autumn, said Rich Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers. “It’s a very positive step towards us being able to have a plebiscite […] Read more