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

Fresh dairy milk in glass and bottle

After milk quotas

French dairy farmers look for a way ahead after Brussels gives up the European supply management system

French dairy farms are in turmoil. France is the second-largest dairy producer in the European Union, and for the past 30 years, governments there had used quota to tie milk production to assigned farm regions. But then Brussels pulled the plug on the EU quota system in 2015, and now decisions about where and how […] Read more


At 27 years old, Baptiste, Jean-Marie Guinchard’s son, intends to take over the family farm and continue the Comté tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages.

Setting their own quota

Milk After Quotas: Milk producers find more success with cheese

Jean-Marie Guinchard looks across his ancestral farm located at la Sommette, a hamlet near the Swiss border. “We are cheese producers before being milk producers,” he tells me. “That’s saved us because we get a much higher return than conventional milk.” With his herd of 160 milking cows of the Montbéliarde breed, the 58 year […] Read more

You don’t have to always agree, say Graham and Mary Ann, but you do have to understand each other as individuals.

The ‘insight’ bonus

More brothers and sisters: Knowing each other’s characters so well means this family is ready for almost any challenge

Brothers and sisters are working together on more farms all the time. More and more too, there are multiple siblings on these farms, not just one of each. To outsiders, it can seem like so many more chances for family to get in the way, and so many chances for old rivalries to flare up. […] Read more


Nicolaas and Wilma Zeldenrijk operate one of the most technologically advanced farms in Canada, with automated feeding, milking and bedding.

Deciding about technology

Why do some farms leap ahead in technology while others wait? The reasons aren’t what you think

Four robots at New Galma Dairy near Ingersoll, Ont., milk the cows while a second automated system finds its way around the barn feeding cows and heifers by itself and a third machine beds the cows without human intervention. Calves can decide when they want milk from a machine that identifies them and gives them […] Read more

Dairy services organizations create partnership

Three major service providers in Canadian dairy farming have formed a partnership that will result in one company supplying herd management and genetic services to Canadian dairy farmers. The partnership, including CanWest DHI, Valacta and the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN), still has to be approved by farmer-members of the organizations. CanWest DHI provides on-farm testing […] Read more


Forage fed vs. corn silage in dairy cattle

Quebec researcher says that since dairy farmers are paid based on components, forage-fed cattle can outperform those fed on corn silage

Corn silage use is trending on Quebec’s large dairy farms, but Valacta’s Robert Berthiaume argues farmers who run against the herd can bulk up their bottom line with perennial forages. “If you make the best use you can of perennial forages, you can make a lot of money, at least as much or more than […] 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

You have to look at what makes sense ahead of you,” says Joan. “Life is full of so many changes, some you’re ready for, and some are unexpected.”

Dairy producer takes the next big step

Change Makers: As a couple, the Craigs’ decision to transform their farm and leverage new opportunities has opened up a new future

Today’s farmers are change makers. Re-inventing our farms has become normal.  So Country Guide asked top ag journalists from across the country to interview farmers who excel at change, taking their farms in very different directions with an eye to finding their best opportunities. Their stories start with our January 2017 issue and will continue through […] Read more