GFM Network News


Red Shed Malting adds value to the farm’s barley by producing premium-quality base malts, plus lightly kilned and roasted specialty malts made from them.

Why marketing is the test, no matter how great your idea

“It’s a mind-shift,” says value-add pro Gary Morton. Success takes groundwork, strategic planning… and money

Reading Time: 3 minutes Branding that identifies you as the producer and connects buyers to your farm product is a key strategy for adding value to farm products, says Halifax-based business consultant Gary Morton with Morton Horticultural Associates. “You are kind of in a sea of sameness,” says Morton, who has worked with all types of farms, not only […] Read more

David and Paul Waldner of Clear Lake Hutterite Colony.

Alberta Hutterite colony bottles water to diversify

Clear Lake Colony is challenging the definition of “value-added” with bottled water production

Reading Time: 8 minutes Across the West, Hutterite colonies are successfully diversifying into other business ventures, but this is a unique story at the very rural Clear Lake Hutterite Colony, an hour and a half southeast of Calgary. Clear Lake, it turns out, is home to a natural spring well — and to a group of very forward-thinking farmers, […] Read more


A full-sized Silverado made out of LEGO blocks was built by school students to help publicize the Silverado and “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.”

Affecting attitudes

GM takes to TV and the movies to get you to buy the new Silverado pickup

Reading Time: 6 minutes One of the most interesting press releases to drop into my inbox this year has come from General Motors. “Chevrolet debuts all-new Silverado marketing campaign,” was the headline. It revealed how The General (as car guys have called the brand for years) plans to convince consumers to take a second look at the updated pickups […] Read more

Today, food branding often focuses on Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD).

Oh FUD!

This new anti-farm marketing strategy makes even farmers feel like swearing. But here’s a better way to fight back

Reading Time: 6 minutes The food industry used to market food products on the basis of nutrition, quality and value. Companies spoke of the care farmers took to provide the healthiest, safest, best food in the world. Oh, how times have changed. Today, food branding often focuses on Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD). The nutritional label is overshadowed by […] Read more


When processors began investing in overseas pineapple production, the writing was on the wall for Hawaii’s island industry.

Is Hawaii the canary in the cornfield?

There is a lesson for us to learn from the island paradise, so get ready for some uncomfortable reading

Reading Time: 7 minutes Since 2012, U.S. grain prices have trended down significantly. Canadian farmers have been somewhat shielded from the price drop by a corresponding slump in the Canadian dollar. However, current prices combined with last year’s weather-related yield and quality losses are resulting in negative margins for many producers. Coffee shop analysts are quick to assign blame […] 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?

Reading Time: 6 minutes 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


Each interaction you have can either advance or destroy your narrative, especially when it comes to social media.

Use science to be a better agvocate

To capture someone’s interest you need to find a way to connect on an emotional level

Reading Time: 3 minutes As a farmer, you use science every day. On a day like today you might even use it to calculate how much snow load your barn can withstand, or to improve the success of your agvocacy efforts. Research shows that to build successful farmer-consumer relationships, we need to connect with people emotionally by telling our […] Read more

A recent Ontario study found that farmers’ markets are seen as as a trusted source for fresh local food.

Growth markets

Sales at farmers markets across Canada are rushing toward $1.5 billion, and their farmers have plans for much, much more

Reading Time: 9 minutes Situated on the south edge of Winnipeg, the farmers market at Le marché St. Norbert was bustling on the chilly Saturday morning in late October when I visited. A fiddler entertained inside the market’s new 11,700 square-foot canvas canopy, and vendors with a range of local products for sale were busy engaging with the crowd. […] Read more


Trying to disprove myths can actually have the opposite effect ­— the ‘backfire’ effect.”

Get the story right

Why it’s so hard to debunk myths (and the secret to doing it)

Reading Time: 3 minutes The expression “mud sticks” doesn’t just refer to the aggravation you experience during spring planting. It also means that misinformation seems to have an uncanny knack for settling in and never letting go. Take, for instance, these gems that persist despite (or perhaps because of) an online world of information at our fingertips: bovine flatulence […] Read more

One Dutch pork producer is preparing to implement a blockchain initiative to make its production chain more transparent.

Blockchain essentials

At last, here’s a clear explanation of what the blockchain fuss is all about, and why it may be such a winner for agriculture

Reading Time: 4 minutes Traceability, food safety and fighting food fraud are issues of significant importance to food producers around the world. In fact, with supply chains getting more complex and ever-more global, and with consumers becoming increasingly both more curious and more wary about how and from where food gets to their plate, these issues may never have […] Read more