GFM Network News


The Fraser River in British Columbia.

What do you want your fresh water used for?

Each of us needs to think about the sustainability of the limited supply of this most precious resource

It all began with industrious engineers who understood hydrology and the importance of water. They built dams and created wetlands throughout Canada, and in doing so had a system in place for water preservation and purification. Then the felt hat became fashionable, and those engineers ended up as pelts on long canoes for shipment to […] Read more

These goats at Frank Lake are owned by Baah’d Plant Management 
& Reclamation, based in Calgary.

Goats and beetles used to fight invasive species

Leafy spurge is found across Alberta and its creeping root system makes it very difficult to control

Pull, mow, burn, and spray. These are common ways that Ducks Unlimited Canada manages invasive plant species on projects located on agricultural land. But there’s a new management tool in the mix now being used by the organization. It has started using goats and flea beetles to help combat leafy spurge at its Frank Lake […] Read more


If you had low yields, you may be able to cut back a bit on fertilizer for 2018, but only a soil test will tell you for sure.

Balance your soil nutrient budget this fall through soil testing

Nitrogen prices have reached lows not seen in over a decade

Your soil keeps a budget for nutrients, and how much you will need next year depends on how much you took out this year. “Most of the time when it comes to assessing what soil nutrient levels might be like, typically what you can do is look at your yields,” said provincial crop specialist Mark […] Read more

Perennial sow-thistle.

Perennial sow thistle costs farmers across Alberta

Noxious Weeds: Perennial sow thistle causes yield loss and acts as a host for pests

Often found in high densities across Alberta, perennial sow thistle seems to be a noxious weed that doesn’t quit. Not only does this pest cause significant yield loss in many crops, but it’s a host for several plant pests that attack economically important crops such as alfalfa, winter wheat and canola — just to name […] Read more


‘Public trust’ conference aims to find ways to win back consumers

The popularity of campaigns attacking conventional agriculture shows that the industry needs to do more, says organizer

Public trust is eroding in Canada, and farmers — along with others in the value chain — need to fight back, says the head of a new ag organization aimed at winning back confused consumers. “The whole industry needs to know a whole bunch more about consumers,” said Kim McConnell, an Okotoks-based marketing expert and […] Read more

Adrienne Herron (left), has worked closely with Red Deer County’s Ken Lewis to make ‘ecosystem services’ work for her land.

Stewardship program ‘putting our money where our mouth is’

For producers involved with the ALUS program, ecosystem services become a type of production like any other

The poplars ringing Adrienne Herron’s wetland stopped growing where her cattle and horses were grazing, and just wouldn’t rebound. That was a real wake-up call for the Innisfail-area rancher. “I was concerned by the impact I was having on this ephemeral wetland with the cows and horses keeping the grass down as much as they […] Read more


Alberta producers aren’t sold on sustainability certification programs

Only 30 per cent of farmers believe sustainability certification 
will be part of doing business in the next five years

Alberta producers don’t know much about sustainability certification programs — but they don’t think it matters much anyway. Those were the key findings of a survey of 400 Alberta producers who were asked about sustainability practices on their farms. While producers are making headway on adopting sustainable production practices, they’re not yet sold on the […] Read more

Common buckthorn, which has been found in two Alberta locations, can easily outcompete native species.

This tree is also a noxious weed

Common buckthorn, otherwise known as European buckthorn, has been found in two locations in Alberta — in Edmonton along the North Saskatchewan River and in Stettler County. It was originally brought to North America from Eurasia as an ornamental, but soon spread throughout the continent. High seed production and excellent tolerance to Canada’s climate allow […] Read more


Biofuels are one of our greatest environmental blunders

Proponents of biofuels are simply refusing to count their true environmental cost

Are biofuels really greener than the fossil fuels they displace? In a recent column I pointed out that electric cars are only as green as the fuel used to generate the electricity they consume. For internal-combustion-powered vehicles, much of the focus has been on trying to reduce carbon emissions by adding ethanol to gasoline and […] Read more