GFM Network News


Berith and Bernd Klänhammer see a bright farming future for son Jonas, but in today’s Germany, their land-buying days may be over.

The German question

Now that they’ve recovered from communism, these East German farms worry about the excesses of democracy

The fall of the iron curtain in l989 brought democracy to the former East Germany (DDR). For farmers like Bernd Klänhammer at Penkun, an hour and a half northeast of Berlin, it also brought, for the first time in their careers, the freedom to make their own decisions. Of course, Klänhammer wasn’t the only one […] Read more

‘Piggy’ greets visitors at the entrance to Mogens and Bente Dall’s property in southern Denmark.

The two sides of Denmark

They share so much, but under it all the Peterson and Dall farms have made some very different choices

Two farmers; two philosophies. Jorgen Popp Peterson and Mogens Dall are hog farmers in southern Denmark. Both are 55 years old. Each has adult children, both wives work off-farm, and each man is also heavily involved in politics, and on agricultural councils as well. But amid the similarities, there is this great difference. One farms […] Read more


The de Jonge farm.

Land at $75,000 per acre

Balancing the need for high yields and sustainability — farming a Dutch polder

The newest province of the Netherlands, Flevoland, is flatter than the Canadian Prairies. There isn’t a tree, building or windmill older than 40 years. And while in Canada our farmland was won from the bush, here in the Netherlands it’s wrung from the sea and called polders. Fabulously fertile, furiously high priced and fragile, this […] Read more

“If you don’t even bother to weigh the pros and cons, you have a big ego,” Davies says. When you hear new ideas, “you should always be picking their brains.”

Me, myself and I

Yes, it takes self-confidence to run a farm. But every farmer also knows a neighbour whose ego is always getting in the way. Could it be you?

The business of farming is a constant battle with weather, prices, weeds, diseases and much more. It means identifying the risks, learning how to measure them, learning about all the tools to counteract them… and maybe it should also involve buying a mirror. Ego by itself is neither good nor bad. It’s simply a Latin […] Read more


An intense focus on on-farm research, plus a busy program sending staff to top educational programs means Agricost excels at adopting new technology.

Europe’s biggest farm

On an island in the Danube, the Agricost farm is 145,000 acres, which its owners say makes it truly sustainable

Here on the Great Island of Braila in the middle of the Danube River in Romania, the summer day is hot and dry, perfect for the beginning of the barley harvest. On the Agricost farm, 20,000 acres of barley wait for the combine. The crop looks good; conditions have been ideal. Agricost farms 145,000 of […] Read more

A farm in Tuscany

Could you make a success of an Italian farm?

Behind them lies the whole grandeur of the Tuscan countryside. Before them is Casanova, the farm that is the pride of them all. They stand there, three generations of Conte men; grandfather Santo, current owner Bartolo, and grandson Raphael who is preparing for a future on the farm. There will be no shortage of challenges […] Read more


Six tips to successful land rental

This title to the old Russian folk tale by Leo Tolstoy hasn’t lost any of its significance.* It’s a question farmers ponder today, as land and land rent prices continue to rise to levels never seen before. Despite lower commodity prices, the cost of land is still rising dramatically in the Westlock, Alta. area (about[...]
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Since 2011, German farmer Norbert Mayer has grown all his crops for bioenergy.

German bioenergy generates quandary

German biogas producers produce as much electricity as two nuclear power stations. If that sounds like a great success, try talking to the farmers who grow the crops

It’s a perfect picture on a perfect day. A Claas chopper sends a steady stream of green rye into a tractor trailer while overhead, the main overland power line hangs in the blue sky. It’s perfect too as a representation of the Mayer Energy Farm in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where Norbert Mayer grows all his crops[...]
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With views of the Mediterranean, I Cianelli finds a way to value add with its stony ground.

The olive groves and vineyards of Liguria

Italy’s tiny farms are clinging to life as tenaciously as they cling to their hillsides. Now it appears they may have found their road to success

The road to the farm called I Cianelli runs out of the seaside resort of Andora, Italy, through the basil fields behind it. Narrow at first, the road curves up the stony hillside to a ledge overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, for it is here, from an impressive limestone house surrounded by native brush and olive[...]
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Jessy Mpupulwa, above, symbolizes the whole country, growing bigger crops that he still must harvest by hand.

Farming in landlocked Africa

Zambia is an optimistic but also a heartbreaking study in what might be — but isn’t — achievable in African agriculture

The long driveway into Lilayi Farm, just south of Lusaka, Zambia, is lined with large shade trees. Cattle graze in knee-deep grass, and halfway along the lane I find the building I have been told to look for. It is the new polo clubhouse, where an international polo tournament will be hosted this weekend. Alan[...]
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