GFM Network News


Fifty provincial agriculture ministry staff get layoff notices

Many of those losing their jobs are scientists and their work greatly benefited farmers, says a retired researcher

In the second week of December, about 50 staff at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry got a pre-Christmas delivery no one would want — they were laid off. Details have not been released but among those affected are engineers, agrologists, and managers. “This is just another example of where they have taken some significant steps backwards,” […] Read more

John Guelly tweeted this photo during this year’s harvest with the warning: “When ur out swathing, spraying or harvesting, keep an eye out 4 patches that look brown & dead like this.” Although clubroot wasn’t the cause in this case, taking a proactive approach is critical to managing the disease, which is continuing its relentless march across the province.

The Year That Was: Clubroot continued its deadly march in 2019

The disease didn't make the headlines in 2019 but its assault on Alberta continued

The rapid spread of clubroot in the last decade will continue in the coming one if canola growers don’t start to get ahead of the disease. “The resistance is being overcome already, and some of those cases are pretty significant and serious infestations,” said Dan Orchard, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. “In […] Read more


Rain has greatly boosted prospects in the north and central areas, but much of the south and Peace are bone dry.

Rain turns fortunes around for many, but not all

In the north and central regions, crops are looking very good, but the south and Peace are suffering

Some much-needed moisture during the month of June may have turned this year’s crop prospects around — at least in some parts of the province. “It’s been an interesting growing season so far — from a very dry May to the central areas getting quite a bit of precipitation in June,” provincial crop specialist Mark […] Read more

Botaneco — a Calgary company that extracts oils from oilseeds sourced from the Prairies — is being held up as an example of what value-added processing could do for the oilseed sector.

Protein supercluster backs Calgary oilseed processor

Industry will match PIC's $4 million

A Calgary company that has developed a unique way to process oil from canola, hemp, sunflower, and safflower seeds is the first recipient of funding from a protein ‘supercluster.’ Protein Industries Canada, one of five federally backed research and innovation superclusters, is putting in $4 million to commercialize plant protein processing technology developed by Botaneco […] Read more


A clean source of drinking water is even more valuable in dry years. If you’re relying on dugouts, sulphates and blue-green algae 
are two serious threats.

Less rain equals more danger for cattle on your ranch

Polioencephalomalacia, fog fever, blue-green algae, and vitamin A deficiency. Those are just four potential health threats to cattle when conditions are extremely dry. “The biggest problem we have on the Prairies is water that is high in sulphates,” said Dr. John Campbell, professor in the department large animal clinical sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. […] Read more

What you need to know about workers’ compensation in Alberta

The new provincial government plans to allow third-party coverage but for now, the old rules remain in place

For now at least, farm employers still have to have insurance from the Workers Compensation Board of Alberta. But there are benefits that come from WCB coverage, an official with the company told attendees at a recent Alberta Beef Producers meeting. That includes no-fault insurance, said Boris Makale, an insurance specialist with WCB, which is […] Read more


HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready technology is gaining ground in Eastern Canada, but there are no plans to bring it west yet.

Does genetically engineered alfalfa have a place in Alberta?

There are advantages to GE alfalfa — but for most Alberta producers, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks

Genetically engineered alfalfa is gaining traction in Ontario — but don’t expect to see it in Alberta any time soon. During its June board meeting, the Alberta Forage Industry Network reaffirmed its 2016 position that Alberta should remain GE alfalfa free. That decision was an easy one, said Strathmore-area hay grower and marketer John Bland. […] Read more

From left to right: This year’s Outstanding Young Farmers finalists Roelof and Mary van Benthem; 
winning couple Jinel and Craig Ference; and Celeste and Craig Christensen.

Outstanding Young Farmer got an early start

Giving young people a chance to learn and grow has become a tradition on Double F Farms

Passing the torch to the next generation is often the greatest challenge faced by farm families. But the way the Ference family met that challenge is a big reason why Craig and Jinel Ference were recently named co-winners of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer award. “It was such an interesting group because we’re all in different […] Read more


CFIA says a proposed new program would adopt a risk-based approach by targeting horses when/if they commingle.

Proposed EIA testing policy yields mixed views

Some fear mandatory testing for equine infectious anemia will be too costly for smaller equine events

New federal rules on horse movement and testing for equine infectious anemia could be challenging for some horse shows. “At that point, we can no longer feasibly budget a show at any kind of venue that would hold a larger group of horses,” said Cain Quam, owner and trainer at Quam Performance Horses in Kendal, Sask. […] Read more

CFIA has done the DNA studies on GM wheat found in an Alberta ditch but is no closer to answering how it got there.

Where did GM wheat found in Alberta come from?

So far, there seems to be no logical explanation on how the GM wheat came to exist

The mystery over how seven plants of genetically modified wheat wound up growing next to an Alberta field access road will take some time to unravel. This high-tech whodunit has regulators scratching their heads to figure out how a known glyphosate-resistance gene from Monsanto got into an unknown variety of wheat hundreds of kilometres from […] Read more