GFM Network News


Owen Fijala of Manitoba was only 16 years old when he set his sights on dairy farming.

Early days

How young is too young to make major farm decisions? Meet Owen Fijala, and get ready to rethink your assumptions

Just like any farm kid, Owen Fijala grew up helping out on the family grain farm near Manitou in south-central Manitoba. Things got a bit different, though, when he got a part-time job helping out a neighbouring beef farmer and he began to get interested in livestock production as well. He’d kept his eyes open, […] Read more

“Not having family members that were farming made some things more difficult,” Lydia Carpenter says. “In other ways, it was an asset to us.”

The way it happens

How do new farmers get a start in Canada? Every story is unique, but so often it starts, as here, with the right people somehow getting together

If, as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet,” Lydia Carpenter and Wian Prinsloo are the living embodiment of it. They have always had an interest in food production, yet neither had grown up on a farm, and when they set out to follow their passion in their […] Read more


One study found that low soil temperature caused slower emergence in the spring, but it did not affect yield later in the season.

Check the calendar, or the thermometer when deciding to plant soybeans?

Selecting the right soybean variety for the area is the best strategy for avoiding frost damage at either end of the season

In the space of a few years, soybeans on the eastern Prairies have gone from an experimental crop to a standard in the rotation, but there’s still that lingering thought that soybeans are a sensitive short-season crop and you need to get them in early to avoid fall frost. But how early? And what about […] Read more

In a farm family context, the Goal Tree can help parents explain their decisions to the next generation.

The Goal Tree

Big corporations use this decision-making system. Should you too?

We all know what it’s like to sit at the kitchen table with the whole family and to ask yourself, “Should I bring it up now? We’re all together… is this the right time to talk about the next big step for the farm?” Agriculture prides itself on its family foundations. But sometimes, those family […] Read more


George Meggison with his Japanese host family.

Want to travel? Here’s how

‘Opportunities are out there,’ says 4-H’s Melina Found. It’s a case of saying yes to them

As is clear from the photograph above, George Meggison loves travelling and learning about different people and places. Plus, with plans to study agriculture at university and then return to the family farm, he wants to see as much of the world as he can while he is young. “I think it’s very important to […] Read more

Help wanted

If the door is open for more women to take on more farm roles, it’s because we need them

Undoubtedly, some of the momentum that’s creating more opportunities for more women on Canada’s farms can be traced to various women’s movements over the past century. But not all of it. Not surprisingly, we should be praising the generations of farm parents who have provided great role models too. And yes, let’s admit that some […] Read more


Farmer Barbie is one of over 200 “Barbie Career Dolls” from toy maker Mattel.

Farmer Barbie?

Is Farmer Barbie just another way to keep our daughters out of the business of farming, or is something more serious going on?

Next time you check out the toy aisle you might be surprised to find a Farmer Barbie doll on the shelves. She comes ready to farm dressed in a plaid shirt, denim overalls and rubber boots, with a red tractor, pink trailer, and an assortment of farm animals. Farmer Barbie is one of a line […] Read more

Travel plans

They farm better because they travel, say Alex and Kelty and Jordan and Alyson McKay. Besides, it makes life so much richer

After catching the travel bug before they were old enough to drive, Alex and Jordan McKay made seeing the world a priority during their early 20s and 30s. With the encouragement of their parents, they took every opportunity to travel they could. There had to be compromises, naturally. With a thriving farm business to run […] Read more


Seven steps to a learning plan

Learning never stops on the farm. There’s always something new to wrap your head around, whether it’s a business or management strategy, human resources, marketing tools, production techniques, farm equipment technology, on-farm food safety and traceability protocols — the list is endless. Indeed, the learning goes on even when you’re not aware of it. It[...]
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View of Inis Mor from summer pastures of Padraic O Falithearta Aran Islands Sept. 2018.

AranLIFE

World-famous for their mix of Irish culture and nature, the Aran Islands are learning just how much they owe to agriculture, and how much they may have to pay to keep it

In Galway Bay just off the coast of Ireland, a new five-year project called AranLIFE aims to help preserve both a unique farming system and also the cultural and ecologically important landscapes that depend on it. It’s a project that started with the same question that more Canadian farmers and non-farmers are also asking. Is[...]
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