GFM Network News


As meat plant infections rise, Canada lets packers choose when to close

Beef plants at heart of Alberta's largest COVID-19 community outbreaks

Reading Time: 3 minutes Winnipeg | Reuters — In Cargill’s High River, Alta. plant, supplier of more than one-third of Canada’s beef, 391 workers were sick with COVID-19 when the company suspended operations, according to provincial health officials. But Maple Leaf Foods decided to idle a poultry plant for eight days, in Brampton, Ont., after just three workers were […] Read more

Klassen: Yearling prices stay sluggish, calves hold value

Reading Time: 2 minutes Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling prices were steady to $4 lower; calves and grass cattle were relatively unchanged. Early in the week, the mood was quite depressing; yearlings were under pressure with feedlot buyers on the sidelines. By Friday, the market appeared to be well established. Backgrounding operators have been active sellers over […] Read more



Prairie cash wheat: Durum holds steady, other spring wheats down

Reading Time: 2 minutes MarketsFarm — Wheat bids in Western Canada were mostly lower for the week ended Thursday, due to declines in U.S. markets. Support came from a weaker Canadian dollar. Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheats were lower, while Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD) was steady to higher. Average CWRS (13.5 […] Read more


Ag industry a potential ‘bright spot,’ post-pandemic

Agriculture could lead economic rebuild, ATB official says

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta’s ag sector will be key in rebuilding the province’s economy once the pandemic is over, says the director of research for economics at ATB Financial. “Overall, I think one of the bright spots in a really dark economic situation in the province is our agriculture and agri-food sector,” Rob Roach said. “It’s still producing. […] Read more

Third major Alberta beef plant confirms COVID-19 cases

JBS in Brooks is the latest with infected workers, but will continue operations

Reading Time: 3 minutes UPDATED, April 17 — Cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed at three of Alberta’s major beef packing plants. Three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Wednesday at the JBS beef packing plant in Brooks, said Tom Hesse, Local 401 president with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada. JBS Canada spokesman Cameron Bruett confirmed some […] Read more


Klassen: Weaker fed cattle prices weigh on feeder market

Reading Time: 2 minutes It appears finishing feedlots and cattle buyers are coming to terms with the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic may last longer than earlier anticipated. The “hope” factor that this environment will be short-lived has evaporated. Compared to last week, western Canadian feeder cattle markets traded $3 to as much as $10 lower, with yearlings absorbing […] Read more

Cargill halts second shift at High River beef plant

'Additional safety measures' also in place, company says

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cargill is temporarily idling its second shift at one of Canada’s biggest beef packing plants to “minimize the impact” of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The company announced Monday it would reduce shifts at its High River, Alta. beef plant, about 40 km south of Calgary, effective that day and until further notice. “Our goal is to […] Read more


Alberta, Ontario open online portals for domestic ag work

Canadian senators call for support for domestic ag workers

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Alberta and Ontario governments hope to set up “land armies” of available domestic workers to deploy on their provinces’ farms, in the event that seasonal and temporary foreign workers are unavailable. Both provinces this week announced they have set up online portals where residents can connect with farmers in need of workers. Such jobs […] Read more

Burnett on Markets: Weather woes span the Prairies

Reading Time: 2 minutes The weather during the last half of March provided some optimism about a normal start to spring. Farmers across the Prairies were preparing equipment, taking delivery of seed and fertilizer and looking forward to getting out into the field. Then the weather in early April dropped significant amounts of rain and snow across northern and […] Read more