GFM Network News


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


Members of the East Olds Dairy Farmers group were recognized for starting the Breakfast on the Dairy Farm event. From left are Larry Arvay, Theo Van der Gun, Martien Huyzer, Miranda Verhoef, Arie Van den Broek and presenter Lorrie Jespersen.

Breakfast on the Dairy Farm an award-winning idea

Over 3,400 people have attended the annual summer event

A group of Olds-area dairy farmers who developed an innovative consumer outreach program are this year’s winner of Award of Distinction for Communication from Alberta Farm Animal Care. “Six years ago the East Olds Dairy Farmers group, which is made up of several dairy farm families, developed the idea to host a breakfast for their […] Read more

Get the lowdown on plant growth regulators and crop varieties

PGR fact sheet looks at lodging and staging while crop fact sheets examine performance in Alberta

New fact sheets on plant growth regulators and crop varieties are now available. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are synthetic compounds that can modify plant growth and development by altering plant hormonal activity. While PGRs are popular in other regions of the world like Western Europe, their use in Western Canada is relatively new. “The plant […] Read more


Small-plot trials are designed to account for different variables, but producers put more trust in field-scale testing. Researchers are now developing protocols for conducting field-scale trials to see if they bear out the results from small-plot studies.

Scaling up: How to take small-size research from plot to field

Many farmers are skeptical of small-plot research results, 
but proper protocols are needed to scale up to a field level

Farmers are making some pretty big decisions off test strips — and that scares JP Pettyjohn. “We could flip a coin and pretty much come up with the same answer,” said Pettyjohn, a crop technology instructor at Lakeland College. “I don’t want an answer. I want the right answer.” Small-plot trials have been widely used […] Read more

New animal health clinic almost ready

Construction of a new animal health clinic at Lakeland College’s Vermilion campus should be completed by March, with the animal health technology and veterinary medical assistant programs set to move into the $8.2-million, 15,000-square-foot facility by September. The clinic has a larger lab space, separate cat and dog wards, a dental lab, a new surgical […] Read more