GFM Network News


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

In Quebec, a healthy agriculture is the cornerstone of its rural sustainability policy, and a big part of the reason it will spend an extra $15 billion on farms and related businesses by 2025.

Different in Quebec

History makes Quebec unique. But it takes more than history to account for its approach to ag policy and why that approach is being studied by farmers across the country and around the world

Reading Time: 9 minutes For centuries, agriculture has been a major contributor to the economic engine of Quebec and to the vitality of its rural regions. In 2016, the GDP of Quebec’s bio-food industry was 7.4 per cent, totalled $23.4 billion, and created 12 per cent of jobs in the province. From 2013 to 2016, the GDP of the […] Read more


“I want farmers to better understand the land they’re working, that’s their baseline,” Angela Bedard-Haughn says. “To manage soils effectively, you have to understand them.”

The power of knowing your soil

Much of Saskatchewan’s soil has been studied at least once over the decades. A WGRF-sponsored project puts all the results in one location available to everyone

Reading Time: 4 minutes Have you ever wondered why crops don’t seem to do well on a certain bit of land and it’s not always obvious why? Angela Bedard-Haughn is here to help you figure that out. The professor of soil science in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan is leading the Saskatchewan Soil […] Read more

Tillage is the number one soil-degrading process, says one University of Manitoba professor.

Tillage erosion costing farmers billions

The pressure to get an early start on newer crops such as corn and soybeans encourages tillage practices which may not be sustainable

Reading Time: 5 minutes This past spring was one of the worst on record for so-called “snirt,” or dirty snow, in ditches across the Prairies — a sign that wind is moving loose topsoil to the margins of fields. While snirt is an indication that fields are susceptible to wind erosion, however, University of Manitoba soil science professor David […] Read more


New chief acclaimed for national cattle producer group

Reading Time: 2 minutes A former president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association is the new president of the national cattle producers’ body. David Haywood-Farmer was elected by acclamation as president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association at the group’s annual general meeting last week in Ottawa. Haywood-Farmer, a cow-calf producer at Savona, B.C., about 40 km west of Kamloops, was […] Read more

Students work at seeding the lysimeters by hand at the Elora Research Station.

The crop rotation effect

At last, scientists hope to explain exactly why rotations are such a good practice

Reading Time: 7 minutes It’s one thing to know the benefits of a practice, it’s another to understand the “why,” especially when it comes to biological functions where the road to understanding can be anything but simple. In cropping terms, science has known about the benefits of longer rotations for years, but not about the exact reasons why. This […] Read more


Setting the operation up for year-round grazing also gives the Finns opportunities for off-farm work.

Environmental success

Alberta’s Graeme Finn combines his business and his environmental farm plans, and comes up with a paying strategy

Reading Time: 7 minutes Peer out from Graeme Finn’s back door and of course you’ll be struck by the Rocky Mountains in the distance, but it’s the rolling hills covered in diverse pastures of mixed grasses and legumes that are the real attraction at Southern Cross Livestock near Madden, Alta. It’s all part of the philosophy that the operation […] Read more

One of the monitoring stations used for the Upper Medway Creek Priority Subwatershed Study (PSP).

From field to stream

Conservation authorities are working more closely with agriculture on watershed management. Have they found a model that will work?

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s no secret that agriculture is focused more than ever on the management of soil fertility as well as on balancing inputs with crop demand, which means keeping nutrients where they belong. Phosphorus usage in particular has become a favourite topic of discussion, both on conference agendas and around the tailgates of pickups on the […] Read more


What isn’t known for now is the cost and administration levels that will affect farmers as well as drainage contractors.

Endangered species versus drainage

Farmers, contractors and municipalities are trying to cope with Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act

Reading Time: 7 minutes From time to time, farmers can find themselves caught by a development or issue that sneaks up on them. At first, it can seem trivial, even ridiculous. But it’s like ignoring a train in the distance: before you know it, it’s speeding up on you and it’s too late to react. Changes to Ontario’s Endangered […] Read more

The Cellulosic Sugar Producers Co-operative will do all the mowing, baling and transportation for the co-op members.

Cellulosic sugars co-op offer improves, hosting baling demos

First demonstration takes place on Nov. 14 in Watford, Ont.

Reading Time: 2 minutes Farmers continue to sign up for an Ontario co-operative that will pay them for their corn stover and wheat straw. Brian Cofell, general manager of the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Co-operative (CSPC) says that the co-op has about 40 per cent of the acres committed that it needs by next fall, when it plans to harvest […] Read more