GFM Network News


This sable antelope has an impressive set of horns, but check out the ear tag. Wildlife ranching now rivals cattle production in South Africa.

South African ranchers are ‘game’ for raising wildlife

The country’s 12,000 wildlife ranches cover 20 million hectares and the sector is growing by leaps and bounds

You may think it is strange to go to an auction to pick up a wildebeest or a zebra, but ranching wildlife is just an innovative way of making money for South African farmers. It’s similar to Canadian bison, deer, or elk ranching and can add a lot of value for producers. “In South Africa, […] Read more

Preserving wildlife habitat on his Milk River ranch has been a win-win, says John Ross.

Fifteen years later, conservation program is an overnight sensation

Almost no one wanted to sign up for the wildlife habitat restoration 
project when it started, but now there’s a waiting list

John Ross was the first rancher to sign on to the MULTISAR (Multiple Species At Risk) program 15 years ago, when no one else wanted to sign up to the conservation initiative. Now, there’s a waiting list of ranchers signed up to make their grazing land more suitable for wildlife and native species. “We worked […] Read more


Keeping land in grass has a side benefit

Young beef producers need affordable access to grassland 
if the industry is going to grow

The beef industry has been struggling to retain and attract new producers while the average age of farmers, at 54, keeps creeping up. The next generation of cattle producers might be looking for something different. The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) released the National Beef Sustainability Assessment and Strategy this fall. The industry garnered […] Read more

Reno and Corine Welsch wanted to preserve their land 
for future generations.

Couple protects picturesque Porcupine Hills ranch

Reno and Corine Welsch have ensured their 3,034-acre ranch in the Porcupine Hills won’t be turned into a subdivision or see its native cropland put to the plow. The couple recently finalized a conservation agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “This conservation agreement gives me the freedom to run the ranch the way I […] Read more


An influx of gophers is ripping up the land and making holes at Ian Murray’s place near Acme.

It’s not your imagination — there are more gophers this year

Sadly, there aren’t many control methods that can reduce the large gopher population

If you think you’ve got more gophers than usual, you’re probably right. The gopher problem is particularly bad this year, particularly in central and east-central Alberta. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ian Murray, a cattle rancher who lives near Acme. “It’s absolutely astounding.” Last year, the gophers flourished near Murray’s canola fields and […] Read more

Protecting habitat for species at risk, as well as common species such as the red-tailed hawks, comes with an added benefit of pest control.

Environmental farm plans to cover species at risk

A new online tool will include technical tips and best management practices for protecting species at risk and habitat

The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is adding a species-at-risk component. A $200,000 federal grant will be used to create an online tool to help producers learn about opportunities to conserve species at risk on their farms and find out whether they meet sustainable sourcing standards. Last summer, the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of […] Read more


This bioacoustic unit attached to an aspen tree continuously records the sounds of wildlife.

Listening to the sounds of nature 24-7

A University of Alberta researcher is using bioacoustics technology to record the soundscapes of Alberta wildlife. “Technology has changed the way we survey for wildlife,” said Erin Bayne, associate professor of biological sciences. “If it makes a sound, we can count it. This is giving us a whole new insight to animal behaviour.” Bayne and […] Read more

What to do when the bats come home to roost

Bats in your belfry? Or rather, your barn or attic? “If you know that you have bats in your house, chances are it’s because there is not a good habitat for them somewhere else,” says conservation technician Lisa Card. “Most species would rather not be there, but their habitat has been altered and for whatever […] Read more


Preventing conflicts with bears before they start

It doesn’t matter where you are in the province — Alberta is bear country. Bears prefer to be left alone, but tragedies do happen. It was the death of a woman attacked by a grizzly bear in Canmore in 2005 that led to the creation of the Bearsmart program. The voluntary program is a partnership […] Read more

It ain’t pretty but it works. This old cement mixer is now composting deadstock on Marty Winchell’s operation.

Could a cement mixer have a place on your operation?

Composting deadstock is no different than garden waste — 
except you need a really big composter

If you’re in a wildlife corridor, the last thing you want to do is attract predators to your place. But that’s not easy if, like Marty Winchell, you’re raising sheep, pigs, laying hens and bees, as well as custom grazing cattle. Which is why there’s an old cement mixer sitting in his yard. His mixer […] Read more