GFM Network News


EU flags in front of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. (Jorisvo/iStock/Getty Images)

EU countries approve deal to overhaul farming subsidies

Subsidies to focus on sustainability, 'eco-schemes'

Reading Time: 2 minutes Brussels | Reuters — European Union countries on Monday gave the green light to reforms of the bloc’s huge farming subsidy program, after a three-year battle over rules to make it greener and support smaller farms. Negotiators representing the EU’s 27 countries and European Parliament struck the deal on Friday to reform the Common Agricultural […] Read more

File photo of domestic hogs on a German farm. (FooTToo/iStock/Getty Images)

EU farmers could get cash to curb emissions from belching livestock

Reading Time: 2 minutes Brussels | Reuters — Farmers should get European Union funding to reduce methane emissions from livestock or increase organic farmland, the European Commission said on Thursday, under plans to make agriculture greener. The EU is nearing the end of a two-year battle to overhaul its massive farming subsidies scheme, to attempt to align the agriculture […] Read more


Small grains like rye are the focus of a pilot project to encourage growers to lengthen their rotations with cereals.

Building interest for small grain cereals

This new initiative hopes to grow demand for small grains by recognizing their environmental benefits

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s everything growers could ask for. Imagine market demand that’s driven by acknowledging the healthfulness of the crops you grow and their environmental and sustainability benefits, plus a premium return on investment so you can afford to plant even more. How many times have growers wanted this kind of market pull in exchange for excellence […] Read more

Cover crops can get as complex as you want but the best advice is always to start slow and simple.

New directions in cover crops

Today, factors like microbial interactions and soil quality are influencing choices and practices

Reading Time: 6 minutes In the midst of a renaissance in soil health, researchers, agronomists and extension personnel have been pushing the message that everything a grower does in a field is connected to everything else. Fertility is linked to planting depth, just as mycorrhizal fungi are connected to weed management. Nothing happens on its own without some effect […] Read more


EU flags in front of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. (Jorisvo/iStock/Getty Images)

EU plans to halve pesticide use, expand organic farming

Reading Time: 2 minutes Brussels | Reuters — The European Commission said on Wednesday it planned to increase organic farming and cut agricultural chemical use to protect the environment, proposals welcomed by green groups but which farmers said would make them less flexible. Agriculture is a contributor to climate change – producing around 10 per cent of EU greenhouse […] Read more

Sheep indoors at Frain’s farm.

Salty business

Canada might hope climate change will force Europe to import more food. European farmers say we shouldn’t hold our breath

Reading Time: 5 minutes Here in Canada, we’re used to talking about the rise in extreme weather that comes with climate change, and we debate how it will affect crop and livestock production. In Europe, the debate has another twist. There, farmers are also worried about rising ocean levels. Why? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) […] Read more


Researcher Prem Pokharel found that wheat yield was higher in soil with added biochar made from manure and wood chips rather than from the untreated products.

Harnessing the power of the rhizosphere

Biochar — heat-treated organic material — can give the root zone a boost

Reading Time: 3 minutes Have you ever noticed how lush the crabgrass can get around an old firepit? It’s a small yet compelling example of the benefit that burnt wood residue can have on plant growth. But there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye in that interchange between plant, charcoal, soil and air, and Prem Pokharel […] Read more

New Hampshire farmers Dorn and Sarah Cox.

The open source farmer

For Dorn and Sarah Cox, building an ag internet will bring the power back in farmer’s hands

Reading Time: 7 minutes About 10 years ago, New Hampshire farmer Dorn Cox was thinking how agriculture will need new ways of tackling such huge challenges as climate change, biodiversity loss and depleted agricultural soils. In the past, the collaborative approach had always saved agriculture. Farmers have pooled their ideas, shared their results and found big solutions much faster […] Read more


“I believe we can reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides by bio-based fertilizers and pesticides.” – Dr. Ze-Chun Yuan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The next green revolution

In this Ontario lab, bacteria are working to drive nutrient uptake and accelerate crop growth

Reading Time: 4 minutes Scientists are delving deeper into the soil in hope of finding that next innovation to boost yields while enhancing soil health and reducing pollution concerns. And it seems they’re onto something. Or, better yet, some things. In particular, a scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has looked inside decomposing corn roots in southern Ontario […] Read more

A researcher and soon-to-be author wanted to know what’s getting in the way of healthier soil. What she heard from farmers, industry and academia is it’s not a lack of technology but a lack of political will and financial support.

Where Ontario’s soil health strategy falls short

Farmers understand the crucial role of soil health for feeding the world. So why is it such a struggle to get support for that goal?

Reading Time: 6 minutes Last fall, Dr. Sarah Rotz, then working at the University of Guelph, wrote an article with Guelph crop scientist Dr. Ralph Martin and York University agri-food policy researcher Dr. Rod MacRae to draw attention to what they perceive as shortcomings in the Ontario government’s Soil Health Strategy. It’s a topic Rotz had been studying for […] Read more