GFM Network News


Is there really any need to brand cattle anymore?

The reasons have largely disappeared

Reading Time: 4 minutes I hope everyone will seriously question if we need to brand — and if we do, how best to do it. I have heard several veterinarians and animal welfare scientists discuss if branding in its original form is even needed today. Lots has changed from the days of the wide-open range where cattle were mixed […] Read more

Consumers are hungry for information and the best way to get to them is to talk about shared values, says Crystal Mackay, executive director of Farm and Food Care.

‘Start with your heart’ in order to win the trust of consumers

People want the facts on how their food is produced, but they 
want them from sources they know and trust, says expert

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s better to talk about the shared values that you have with a consumer than to start spouting facts. “We are not going to advertise our way to public trust,” Crystal Mackay of Guelph-based Farm and Food Care told an audience of ranchers, food executives and beef industry officials at the Global Conference on Sustainable […] Read more


Face the facts — trust trumps science for many consumers

And the key to building trust, says expert Charlie Arnot, is to show that farmers are transparent and share the same values as consumers

Reading Time: 4 minutes When it comes to talking about agriculture, a “just the facts” approach doesn’t cut it anymore. Attitudes towards the food industry have changed and those in agriculture have to adopt new tactics to reach out to consumers, said Charlie Arnot of the Center for Food Integrity. “People are fundamentally more skeptical about food than ever […] Read more

Food animals are entrusted to our care and how we treat them is part of our social licence.

The cattle industry hasn’t fully embraced animal welfare

The cattle sector has come a long way but there are still 
areas to be addressed and it should be leading the way

Reading Time: 3 minutes The children and I have a map marked with every road I drove in the 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s I spent speaking about animal welfare in Canada. There were a few empty spots, but those travels included hundreds of farm stops and thousands of participants. It was my mission to bring the […] Read more


U.S. timber industry a cautionary tale for Canadian agriculture

Consumers are beginning to reject agriculture’s social 
licence to operate, and producers are paying the price

Reading Time: 2 minutes It’s called social licence — and farmers will pay a steep price if they lose it. It happened to American logger Bruce Vincent, who offered his story as a cautionary tale to a rapt audience of beef producers at the recent Alberta Beef Industry Conference. “Our social licence to operate was rejected by the public,” […] Read more