GFM Network News


Owen Fijala of Manitoba was only 16 years old when he set his sights on dairy farming.

Early days

How young is too young to make major farm decisions? Meet Owen Fijala, and get ready to rethink your assumptions

Just like any farm kid, Owen Fijala grew up helping out on the family grain farm near Manitou in south-central Manitoba. Things got a bit different, though, when he got a part-time job helping out a neighbouring beef farmer and he began to get interested in livestock production as well. He’d kept his eyes open, […] 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


Straw prices soar, piling pressure on N.Europe livestock farmers

In some areas straw now more expensive than grains

Hamburg | London | Reuters – Livestock and dairy farmers across northern Europe are paying soaring prices for straw used in food and bedding for cattle, as hot, dry weather across the region reduces crops. The higher bills put further pressure on farmers already facing one of their toughest summers ever; many have had to […] Read more

Dairy organizations partner to manage risk

A partnership among Canadian dairy service provider organizations should help position Canadian producers to take advantage of rapidly changing technology and make the sector more efficient, the groups say. Why does it matter? The number of Canadian dairy farmers continues to drop and the need for more efficient services is growing as the price of […] Read more


The Brousseau family of St. Paul, Alta.

Finding a way to say ‘Yes’

Saying ‘no’ to a multi-generation corporation has helped Richard and Nicole Brousseau find their own route toward succession, with a clear focus on family

The road to farm succession can have many twists and turns. And every farm is unique, so it can be easy to lose your way in all the options, or to fall into somebody else’s cookie-cutter solution. Yet being true to your own business and family needs should always come first, as the Brousseau family […] Read more

Cattle disease outbreak under control: New Zealand ministry

Wellington / Reuters – New Zealand’s first outbreak of a serious bacterial cattle disease was well under control, the Primary Industries ministry said on Friday, with stock movement restrictions in place and testing continuing. News of the discovery of mycoplasma bovis earlier this week on a single farm in the world’s largest dairy exporter briefly […] Read more


More dairy producers are trying to get their hands on Jersey calves for their higher production of butterfat.

Jersey cattle numbers on the rise in Manitoba

Butter and cheese are back as part of a healthy diet, and so is the interest in Jerseys

Moo-ve over Holsteins, the little brown cow is gaining ground. Not since our nation’s centennial have so many Jersey calves been registered in Canada, says Steven Smith of Clanwilliam, president of the Manitoba Jersey Cattle Club. He says the breed came just shy of 10,000 registrations last year, breaking the record set in 1967. “The […] Read more



Working together as brother and sister might be even easier than making a partnership between two brothers work, Mark and Melinda think. But it still requires a balance of trusting each other to be there for the farm, but giving them enough space to be their own people.

The brother and sister advantage: Melinda Foster-Marshall and Mark Foster of Jockbrae Farms

Just because they’re siblings doesn’t mean Melinda and Mark instantly agree on everything. But they have a system for finding common ground, and once they’ve found it, they commit

Mark Foster and his sister Melinda Foster-Marshall never thought they’d be farming together. They had different personalities and routes through high school, but they have created roles and responsibilities and processes that are allowing their individual strengths to create a successful farming business. Melinda has a degree in geological sciences from Queen’s University and was […] Read more

Brother and sister Tom and Suzanne Pettit didn’t grow up thinking they’d farm together, but once they hit their 20s, they started seeing how well it might work. Today, they are consistently hitting their quality and financial targets, and they have learned how to help each other perform at the top of their game.

The brother and sister advantage: Tom and Suzanne Pettit of Misty Glen Holsteins

There can be a kind of magic in a brother-sister relationship that helps them run a better farm business

A small but growing number of brother-and-sister farms across Canada are rewriting the rules on how families farm together in a new spirit of gender equality. Even more than that, though, they’re showing the rest of the industry how to step up their productivity with new management strategies that let every member of the team […] Read more