GFM Network News


Collecting and using data will drive the agriculture of the future, says a professor at Ohio State University.

Into the future

Celebrated ag tech guru Scott Shearer sees a profitable path ahead, together with some potential bumps

While it’s not exactly as futuristic as 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s no longer such a big stretch to imagine the day when a single operator anywhere in the world can remotely control 25 to 30 tractors, and when our crops effectively send us emails letting us know what they need. As professor and chair […] Read more

Social financing

Helping investors offer low-risk loans for farm projects that big lenders won’t take seriously

A new fund is being developed in Ontario to help farmers and small food processors obtain local financing to grow their businesses. “Better access to capital comes up all the time when we ask our members what they would like us to do for them,” says Sally Miller, project manager with Local Food and Farm […] Read more


Many agricultural technology companies say the information they collect is the property of the farmer, but they don’t have transparent explanations as to what that actually means.

Our data road map

Is the ADT initiative in the U.S. the right way to put Canada’s farmers in control of their data too?

Canada is awash in agricultural data that’s not being used to its full potential by farmers, researchers, or the government. Now, work has begun to try and improve that situation. “There’s a lot of information that exists electronically, but we need to give farmers control of their data so they can use it and flow […] Read more

You have to learn about customers — what they want — and figure out what success will look like.” – Gary Morton.

Got what it takes?

Cutting out the ‘middleman’ sounds like an obvious way to increase farm profitability. And sometimes, that’s exactly how it works out

Maybe there really isn’t anything new under the sun. For generations, farmers have looked at the yawning gap between what they get paid for their crops and livestock versus what consumers pay in the grocery store, and thought there’s got to be a way to capture more of the consumer dollar for the farm. No […] Read more


When it comes to data in the agricultural sector, privacy and access issues are potentially at odds.

It’s YOUR farm data

… but it’s the companies you deal with that are creating an income stream from it

Long before the social media scandal that rocked Facebook and bankrupted Cambridge Analytica, Kelly Bronson was looking into how data is collected, who uses it and how they are benefitting from it in Canada’s agri-food sector. “For a couple of years, I’ve been doing qualitative research into the social scientific aspect of data collection in […] Read more

Though public spending in agricultural research has decreased, private companies are investing in food products, genetics and varietal development – especially in crops such as soybeans, corn and canola.

Where are investments in Canadian agricultural research headed?

2018 has been a great year with agriculture attracting acclaim as an economic powerhouse in Canada. But is there enough money in research to score on the opportunity?

“Sunny today but with clouds on the horizon” is how Serge Buy describes Canadian government investment in agricultural research. “There was more willingness for the federal government to invest in budgets 2016 and 2017, and some of the provinces are following suit,” says Buy, who’s the CEO of the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC). “That’s […] Read more


The damage that over-tillage does is plain to see in soil quality.

The news on soil health

This time, will farmers finally break the “build-up then burn-out” cycle of soil management? The Ontario Soil Network thinks the answer may be yes

Don Lobb takes a very dim view of how mankind has treated soil over the millennia, but he is slightly more hopeful for this generation, due both to our constantly growing body of knowledge about soils, and to farmers who are not only willing to experiment with better ways to take care of the soil, […] Read more

There are so many producers who have great products but can’t get them from point A to point B, especially at volume,” Ferguson says.

The Farm Network takes farm food products beyond local

The Farm Network is pioneering a new category of food business, helping farmers grow their sales of local products to reach commercial scale

When Tyler Ferguson found a distinct gap in Canada’s local food system, he decided to fill it by starting his own sales, marketing and distribution company focused on getting more food products from the farm into retail. That was the first step. But only the first step. “I noticed that a lot of local food […] Read more


Marcia Woods

Uber-stores for food

Businesses like Marcia Woods’ FreshSpoke are figuring out how to connect Canadian farmers with the consumers looking for ways to buy from them

Marcia Woods’ frustration at not being able to buy the high-quality food that she knew was being grown right down the road evolved into an online business that not only connects farmers with wholesalers, but also solves their transportation and cash-flow headaches. Coming from a long line of Oxford County farmers in Ontario, Woods, who’s […] Read more

Dr. Viliam Zvalo.

Making ethnic markets pay

In Toronto alone, consumers are buying $400 million a year of imported ethnic vegetables. Could it make sense to grow them here?

Edamame, okra, bitter melon, quinoa, Chinese long eggplant — all these are edible crops that you’d have had a hard time finding on the country’s store shelves 50 years ago, let alone growing in Canadian fields and greenhouses. They’re still crops that few Canadian farmers know about, and that even fewer have considered growing. But […] Read more