GFM Network News


Ward Middleton, an organic grain and oilseed farmer from Morinville, was one of the farmers who joined the participatory plant-breeding trials, selecting wheat grown on his farm for breeding.

Hands-on plant breeding: Farmers help select new plant lines

Since 2011, organic farmers from across Canada have been making their own breeding selections

You might call it DIY cereal breeding. Since 2011, plant-breeding researchers have collaborated with organic farmers in a breeding program in which the producers select lines from trials on their own farms. Normally, a breeder goes through a plot, and selects the best spikes, heads or plants according to their breeding goals. “The participatory plant-breeding […] Read more

Marleny Saldaña, an associate professor of food and bioengineering processing at the University of Alberta, is part of a team that has created a cling wrap made from canola.

From farm to fridge? Making cling wrap from canola straw

University of Alberta researchers have found a way to make a food wrap that’s biodegradable

As people try to reduce their use of plastic products, there is a need for items created from environmentally friendly products. Researchers at the University of Alberta may have come up with part of the solution — cling wrap made from canola straw. The product is the only one of its kind in the world, […] Read more



Beef Industry Conference returns to Calgary in 2019

Hockey and junk science are among the items on the menu at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, which is returning to Calgary this year. Timothy Caulfield, a University of Alberta professor well known for debunking unfounded health claims, will be one of the keynote speakers. The other is Karl Subban, who grew up in Jamaica […] Read more


Chris Williams (in blue cap) and Erin Cherlet are part of a team of researchers who have been measuring the impact of wildfires on run-off.

More wildfires and changes in run-off a challenge for irrigation district

A lack of tree cover can boost run-off volumes but they come sooner and with much more sediment

As wildfire experts peer into the future, they see more — and more severe — forest fires because of a changing climate. But some are also looking to the past and measuring the impact that forest fires have on the quantity and quality of run-off — two factors that could have major implications for Alberta’s […] Read more

A big scholarship and a helping hand

They’ve already won a $20,000 scholarship and now the four winners — two from Alberta — of a prestigious 4-H award have a mentor to help them achieve their career goals. The mentorship program is a key part of Leadership Excellence Awards of Distinction scholarships. Emmett Sawyer, who grew up on a mixed farm near […] Read more


The number of farm fatalities is going down, but much of that is due to safer equipment. And experts say 
the danger is increasing as aging boomers continue to farm, often using older, less safe equipment.

Canadian farms are getting safer — but not fast enough

Safer machinery is saving lives, but farms remain dangerous places to work, says expert

Farms across Canada are becoming safer, but danger still abounds. “We are seeing fewer entanglement injuries and fewer deaths from rollovers — that’s where the big gains are on the technology and engineering side,” said Don Voaklander, director of the University of Alberta’s Injury Prevention Centre. “The other stuff is kind of the same. Falls […] Read more

Order your heritage chickens

The University of Alberta Heritage Chicken program is again offering small flock enthusiasts the chance to order heritage chicks until supply sells out. “Heritage chicks are vaccinated and hatched at the U of A’s Poultry Research Centre,” says Dawn Hage, program co-ordinator. “This year, we’re offering Brown Leghorn, Light Sussex, Plymouth Barred Rock, Random Bred […] Read more


A new research chair at the University of Alberta will take a whole-farm 
approach on boosting yields and crop quality.

New cropping systems research chair to focus on the big picture

U of A scientist will focus on interactions between plants, soils, management, and environment

Western Grains Research Foundation is putting up $3 million for a research chair in cropping systems at the University of Alberta to study interactions between plants, soils, crop management, and the environment. The position will allow a dedicated scientist to work on farm-level management systems such as interdisciplinary considerations of crop, water and input use […] Read more

Joy Agnew is the new director of applied research at Olds College.

A new age of ag education is underway, says Olds College research director

Joy Agnew says ‘digital ag’ is revolutionizing how students are being trained in agriculture

Joy Agnew says her first few days at her new job were totally overwhelming — in a good way. After a nearly 10-year stint at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute, Agnew began her new job as director of applied research at Olds College in early January and hit the ground running. “The shift to digital […] Read more