GFM Network News


Workers in the JBS beef plant at Brooks shown in a 2018 corporate video.

Is there a better way? How COVID-19 might transform packing plants

The pandemic has demonstrated the need for change, but that won’t be an easy or cheap process, say experts

It’s become a nightmare scenario. Thousands of workers at meat-packing facilities across North America, including Alberta’s three beef plants, have contracted COVID-19 — and the resulting closures and production slowdowns have created a crisis for livestock producers. But is there any way out? “This will renew calls for more packing capacity in Canada,” said Mike […] Read more

Where will all the cattle go?

The cattle sector is facing an unprecedented crisis as COVID-19 forces packing plants to temporarily close or slow down production. Alberta’s two big cattle facilities, which process nearly three-quarters of Canada’s beef, have both been hit hard by the pandemic and that’s already created a backlog. Producers who direct market beef — such as Grazed […] Read more


Beef demand soars as consumers ‘aggressively’ stock up

Surge in sales accompanied by a jump in people looking online for recipes

Canada’s beef demand has been strong during the pandemic. “Unlike previous disease outbreak issues, COVID-19 has not been about food safety or consumer confidence or issues with food products,” Canada Beef president Michael Young said during a recent online town hall. “Beef demand at retail is up 50 to 70 per cent. Consumers have aggressively […] Read more

A woman samples a plant-based meat product by Whole Perfect Food (a Chinese competitor to Beyond Meat) at the VeggieWorld fair in Beijing in November. Plant-based foods are on the rise but so is meat in the world’s most populous regions, says food trend guru David Hughes.

Expect to hear a lot more about fake meat, eco-foods, and urban consumers

It’s a fast-changing world but Prairie farmers are in a good spot, says food trend guru

More focus on the environment, more plant-based meat alternatives and more scrutiny of food production. That’s what lies in the crystal ball of David Hughes, an international speaker on global food industry trends. At a recent event hosted by the Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta, Hughes laid out a number of points that could be […] Read more


Rance: Sustainability isn’t a burden, but an opportunity

It didn’t take long for a young cattle rancher from Saskatchewan to capture the audience’s attention at the recent Canada 2020 National Forum on Agri-Food in Ottawa. “For me, the word ‘sustainability’ is synonymous with McDonald’s,” said Adrienne Ivey, who is part of a family corporation managing 3,000 beef cattle on a 10,000-acre spread near […] Read more

New beef website answers consumer questions

Canada Beef has created a new website — raisingcdnbeef.ca — aimed at answering “the most common questions about Canadian beef production.” The website has five sections and each has a series of slides accompanied by a brief text. The various sections contain numerous facts (such as typical weaning weights, days in a feedlot, testing protocols […] Read more


Ian Murray — the 2018 winner of Alberta Beef Producers’ Environmental Stewardship award — talked about his environmental efforts and how he raises cattle at Shoestring Ranch. On the left and right are two députés of France’s national assembly (Philippe Bolo and Nicolas Turquois)
with Yannick Dheilly (from the Canadian Embassy in France) and Ty Murray.

C’est bon: French politicians check out Alberta cattle ranch

Bringing European officials to cattle country is part of a multi-pronged effort to sell beef to the EU

It’s not every day you see a group of politicians from France’s Assemblée nationale trooping around an Alberta ranch in plastic booties. But that was the case earlier this month at Shoestring Ranch near Acme as Ian and Carman Murray played host to three députés (France’s version of MPs), a pair of officials from Canada’s […] Read more

Austin Allred stands in front of the BioFiltro system installed on his 5,000-cow dairy in Washington state. The system, the first in North America, treats waste water in a matter of hours.

Waste not, want not — a different way to treat farm effluent

Chilean biowaste filtering system is an alternative to lagoons in treating liquid waste from dairies

Farmers know that earthworms are good for the soil — now they’re being used to process liquid waste from dairies, hog operations, and slaughterhouses. The process not only provides faster treatment than using lagoons, but also significantly reduces concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and therefore the need for as much farmland to dispose of […] Read more



This is part of a publication on hormones put out by Alberta Beef Producers. It says, for example, that the amount of estrogen in a serving of beef is slightly less than the same-size serving of chicken or pork — and much less than a glass of beer or milk. But the message isn’t getting through to many consumers.

Even in Feedlot Alley, consumers don’t trust hormone use

The beef sector has long said hormone implants are safe, but most Lethbridge residents aren’t convinced

It’s a pretty disheartening finding: Nearly two-thirds of residents of Lethbridge — located in Feedlot Alley — oppose the use of growth hormones in cattle, according to a recent survey. “I would suspect that a lot of people don’t understand,” said Roland Cailliau, a cow-calf producer from Valleyview. “They don’t read and they don’t understand […] Read more