GFM Network News


Local, diverse veggie varieties part of food security, says seed group

SeedChange promoting wider use of local vegetable varieties, including in home gardens

SeedChange, a non-profit that works with farmers in Canada and around the world to save seeds and grow food sustainably, is launching a campaign for a more resilient post-pandemic food supply. “It’s no secret that the coronavirus is impacting Canada’s food supply,” said Jane Rabinowicz, executive director of SeedChange. “COVID-19 has revealed the importance of […] Read more

This map, created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, shows the dominant agricultural systems around the world. (The dark-green areas are forests and the grey is desert.)

The complicated calculus of climate change

While Canadian farmers may see a longer growing season, there may be more pests and less rain

Farming and food production will be changed as a result of climate change — but the how is a complicated question. “Agriculture is a unique sector,” University of B.C. Professor Navin Ramankutty said earlier this month during this year’s edition of the Bentley Lecture in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Alberta. “Agriculture is a […] Read more


Consumers don’t understand the practices of crop farmers, but want to know they are sustainable, said Ted Menzies, chair of the committee developing a code of practices for sustainable crops.

Consumers want proof that crop farming is sustainable

Code of practice expected to be released for feedback this summer, says industry veteran Ted Menzies

Crop producers are practising sustainable farming, but consumers want proof — and that’s why a code of practice is needed, says a veteran industry leader. Consumers don’t understand that crop practices in Canada are sustainable, Ted Menzies said at the recent AGM of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture. “Maybe they don’t need to understand that,” […] 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



Soil scientist David Lobb has criss-crossed the country to talk about soil health, but the issue isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves, says the University of Manitoba professor.

Soil degradation the forgotten issue

Reducing tillage and summerfallow hasn’t fixed a problem that is costing farmers billions every year

Soil degradation in Canada is causing a huge economic loss — but few people are paying attention. That includes farmers, even though degraded soil is significantly reducing their yields, according to University of Manitoba soil scientist David Lobb. “Soil erosion accounts for a loss of about 10 per cent,” he said. “Farmers are only getting […] Read more


A good rule of thumb is to look for yields that are six to eight per cent above the check variety in cereals and more than 12 to 15 per cent in oilseeds, says crop specialist Harry Brook.

Crop expert offers tips for a successful hunt for new varieties

Yield gets all the attention but bigger may not be better when it comes to your farm

New crop varieties and variety tables are now available, so how do you pick ones best suited to your land? The first step is to analyze all the information in the variety tables, said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “The tables are structured with yield potential as the main criteria,” said Brook. “It takes into […] Read more

A variety of crop types can add to the health of your soil.

Make a difference with good crop rotation

Benefits include lower disease control and fertilizer costs

One of the best tools to improve the bottom line, reduce future grief, and lower the risks of pests, disease and weeds is by using a diverse crop rotation. “A good crop rotation is one where there is an adequate variety of crops grown so that any one type of crop is grown only once […] Read more


Dwayne Beck is a frequent visitor to Alberta and while he has seen some progress over the years, the soil health guru says the province’s farmers face a looming disaster if they don’t change their approach.

Stop fighting Mother Nature — because you’re going to lose

Most farmers in Alberta still love tractors more than biology and are heading for big trouble, says Dwayne Beck

Like a voice crying in the wilderness, Dwayne Beck has been beating the drum of soil defence as the foundation for a healthier farming system for decades. To some, the longtime research manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm is a wise prophet and caretaker. For others, his message is radical and uncomfortable — something […] Read more

Greg Paranich of Performance Seeds in Blackfalds describes some of the advantages of cover crops.

Clearwater County aims to cook up successful cover crop recipes

Cover crops offer many benefits but what’s the right mix of grasses, brassicas, and legumes?

Clearwater County has started experimenting with cover crops, and outlined some of their benefits during its recent West County Ag Tour. “It’s a great year to talk about cover crops because in order to maintain our moisture in the soil, we are going to need organic matter, which cover crops build. We are going to […] Read more