GFM Network News


Graphic from a 2010 AAFC publication by the Indian Head Shelterbelt Centre, showing how a shelterbelt can reduce wind speed for over 100 metres.

Farming every acre doesn’t pay when the wind is howling

Producers are being urged to ‘rethink’ shelterbelts and how they preserve moisture and protect soil

Alberta farmers are being urged to “rethink” shelterbelts — and soil conservation experts agree. Zero till hasn’t made shelterbelts obsolete and this year’s dry conditions have shown the value of having something to disrupt the flow of hot winds blowing over fields, said Toso Bozic, Alberta Agriculture’s agro-forestry specialist. “Planting new windbreaks needs to be […] Read more

Don Ruzicka, shown here in an eco-buffer, has planted 100,000 trees and shrubs on his farm.

‘Eco-buffer’ boosts pasture productivity for Alberta producer

Letting nature do its job got Don Ruzicka off a treadmill of 
clearing trees, draining wetlands, and poor returns

Some people look for signs — other people just find them. For producer Don Ruzicka of Killam, the motivation behind the past three decades of land management on his farm was quite literally a sign. Before he purchased his grandparents’ farm in 1983, Ruzicka worked in the logging industry. “The first day I flew into […] Read more


Planting directly underneath a power line means you’ll be doing a lot of pruning, which is also harmful for the trees.

Want to plant a shelterbelt? Here are some tips

A windbreak designed for your farm site is well worth the investment, but mistakes can cause years of headaches

It pays to think ahead when planting a shelterbelt. The first step is site selection, said Jeff Renton of the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society, a joint venture of government, industry, and conservation agencies that promotes stewardship and offers extension services. The site needs proper setbacks from homes, roads, crops, and utilities. “Know where the […] Read more

Rural property owners who lost yard or shelterbelt trees to mountain pine beetles can 
get grants from Tree Canada.

Funding for trees lost to beetles or floods

Application deadline is July 30

Rural landowners in Alberta are eligible for two tree-replacement programs offered by Tree Canada. Under the mountain pine beetle ReLeaf program, landowners who have shelterbelt trees or landscape trees around their yard killed by mountain pine beetle can apply for tree seedlings or potted trees (up to a five-gallon pot size) to a maximum amount […] Read more


Long rows of saskatoons act as a shelterbelt and U-pick.

Doors still open for Alberta Shelterbelt Program

Shelterbelts can lower your heating bill, trap snow, foster biodiversity and provide wildlife habitat

There is a misconception making the rounds that the demise of the PFRA shelterbelt program means the Alberta Shelterbelt Program has also closed. Not so — in fact, the program will be shipping more plants than ever because of the demise of the federal program, said Alyssa DeGray of the Alberta Nurseries in Bowden. With […] Read more