GFM Network News


“In Canada, we have a lot of opportunity because so many people own their own land,” says Phil Loring. It gives us an edge over other countries. But will we exploit it?

How are Canada’s top conservation farmers faring through COVID-19?

It's a tough question, but an associate professor at the University of Guelph is asking it

Reading Time: 5 minutes Phil Loring, associate professor and Arrell Chair in Food, Policy, and Society at the University of Guelph has his eye on a question that’s been getting little attention so far, but may turn out to be crucial in shaping the direction of our agriculture over the next decade. Loring wants to know: How are the […] Read more

Canada’s soils still degrading, albeit more slowly

Reading Time: 4 minutes The rate of degradation of soils in Canada has slowed, but it still is happening at a significant rate and there is still a lot to learn. There are no soil-perfect systems yet for crop production, attendees at the Summit on Canadian Soil Health held recently in Guelph heard repeatedly. No-till farming has declined in […] Read more


More than 100,000 farmers and ranchers have attended Ray Archuleta’s soil-health talks, which start with two clumps of soil dropped into columns of water.

It’s not soil ‘quality’…

Terminology can make a difference, and using ‘health’ rather than ‘quality’ is helping bring together different interests to a common cause

Reading Time: 6 minutes For three weeks every month, Ray Archuleta captivates audiences with a few handfuls of soil. He begins with two clumps, dropping them into water. The soil from a farm where the soil isn’t tilled holds together, while the tilled soil immediately disperses, indicating poor soil structure. Next, volunteers from the audience — mostly farmers and […] Read more

Manitoba Agriculture soil specialist is working with a Canadian Foodgrains Bank conservation agriculture (CA) project in Kenya. The hand at top is holding soil from a CA field while the soil in hand at bottom is from a non-CA field immediately adjacent. The CA field has been in CA practice for three years, or six cropping cycles. The CA soil has more aggregation and is darker, indicating more organic matter.

Going beyond NPK in your fertilizer program

New tests get closer to helping producers build soil health

Reading Time: 5 minutes What’s involved in a soil health assessment? And what makes soil “healthy” in the first place? Researchers at the Chinook Applied Research Association (CARA) in Oyen, Alta., are keen to answer these questions for western Canadian producers. The association is launching a new lab in the CARA facilities that will collect and analyze soil samples […] Read more


FBC editorial chief wins major international awards

Reading Time: < 1 minute Laura Rance, editorial director of Farm Business Communications and editor of the Manitoba Co-operator, has won two major international awards for her work on African agriculture. Rance won the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Star Prize for ‘Africa’s Hunger Games,’ published in the Winnipeg Free Press in April 2015. The same piece was awarded […] Read more

At first glance, the vegetation still looks green and lush, but Trenia Arana knows that the land’s moisture is evaporating.

Growing concerns for a world in flux

In Central America, where so many Canadian farmers vacation in winter, a changing climate means its farmers need more than tourist dollars

Reading Time: 9 minutes Trenia Arana speaks of the knot she feels in the back of her neck, caused by the tension of trying to figure out what to do about her family’s situation in the midst of a drought dragging through its second year in western Nicaragua. For the past decade, Arana has been farming full time, but […] Read more


Conservation tillage is supposed to save soil, preserve yields and increase farm profitability. So why has the global move toward no till stalled so far short of the goal?

Increase in conservation agriculture ‘has to happen’

Only 7.1 per cent of the world’s arable land is farmed no till, and there are many reasons to adopt practices

Reading Time: 4 minutes If conservation agriculture is so great, why aren’t more farmers doing it? It’s a question that surfaced repeatedly during panel discussions at the recent World Congress on Conservation Agriculture in Winnipeg. Presenters from countries spanning the alphabet from Australia to Zambia left little doubt that conservation agriculture is a worldwide movement. Zero tillage is growing […] Read more

Howard G Buffett speaking during a press conference held by the United Nations World Food Programme.

Day of reckoning coming for U.S. farmers

How long can the U.S. compete in a world where other countries are working much more effectively at sustainability?

Reading Time: 4 minutes American farmers are getting beaten badly by the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Australia. All those countries are far outpacing the U.S. rate for adopting conservation farm strategies, says Howard G. Buffett, and he believes a day of reckoning for the U.S. may come sooner rather than later. It won’t be pretty, Buffett told the […] Read more