GFM Network News


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

General Mills and Cargill Canada have both announced programs aimed at regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture hits the mainstream

Big Ag is getting on the bandwagon, but market premiums still aren’t on the table

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you’re a cattle producer, you may already have heard the term “regenerative agriculture.” If you’re a grain producer, maybe not. But that’s about to change. This spring, General Mills announced a plan to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland in the U.S. and Canada by 2030, and Cargill Canada announced […] Read more


“If we stay together as a unit and focus on that common vision of where we can get to, we will eventually get there,” says Brett Israel, here with grandfather Carl and father Jamie.

Definitely the road less travelled

Taking to organic in crops and in hogs takes trust, vision and teamwork

Reading Time: 7 minutes Brett Israel is looked upon as a young, entrepreneurial producer with one eye firmly fixed on the road ahead, while honouring and respecting those who have come before him. It can be a bit of a tightrope walk for Israel, whose family has been farming on the same concession in Wellington County for six generations. […] Read more

“If you don’t get out and see what the other guy is doing, you won’t know if you’re behind them or beside them or in front.

Stretch your horizons

Here’s why taking an agri-tourist vacation might be your business’ best investment all year

Reading Time: 4 minutes Many farmers — because they prefer being busy, productive, active and physical — steer clear of the beachy, all-relaxation style of vacation, knowing it will leave them feeling more frustrated than rejuvenated. But don’t let yourself off the hook so fast. Not going on a beach vacation is one thing. Not going on a vacation […] Read more


Organic food and beverage markets totalled $4.4 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2012, COTA estimates. Exports for 2017 were predicted to reach $607 million.

Room to grow organic

Farmers are upping their organic output, but they’re still a long way from meeting the demand of the two-thirds of Canadians who sometimes or always shop for organic

Reading Time: 5 minutes Led by Millennial buyers, demand for organic food across Canada is growing robustly. Demand is surging ahead of domestic production, which has been growing but not nearly fast enough to keep up. “Demand is definitely outpacing supply,” says Jill Guerra, research and special projects co-ordinator for Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA). “We need more producers […] Read more

Organic soybeans are used in Japan for natto, a traditional fermented food often served with rice, soy sauce, mustard and bunching onion.

The power of whole farm co-design

A research project brings farmers together to share results and discuss what works and what doesn’t

Reading Time: 4 minutes Let’s say you’re a soybean producer in Manitoba. You’re growing conventional varieties and doing well — selling into a ready market, getting a decent price. Then one day in the coffee shop you overhear a guy talk about the price he’s getting for organic soybeans — pretty much double what you’re getting — and you […] Read more


Isaiah Swidersky says resistant varieties are one organic defence against late blight, but these varieties aren’t always the ones in highest consumer demand.

Growing potatoes without chemicals

Organic potato production on a commercial scale is a challenge, but one Ontario grower is meeting it

Reading Time: 4 minutes Isaiah Swidersky offers a careful answer when asked if organic potato production is a risk worth taking. “To some degree it is, but there’s a reason I haven’t expanded it to 200 or 300 acres,” Swidersky says. “It’s a challenge to grow organic potatoes. But I’m optimistic. It’s a good challenge.” Swidersky’s operation, Rose Mountain […] Read more

German coalition deal sets no timetable to end glyphosate use

Reading Time: 2 minutes Hamburg | Reuters –– Germany’s draft coalition government deal includes a goal of ending use of glyphosate herbicide within the country, but gives no time frame, after Berlin swung a vote in November extending its use across the European Union. The timing of an end to glyphosate use has been highly controversial in Europe amid […] Read more


Audette’s experience with commercial grain production proved a big help as the four Agri-Fusion farmers transitioned to organic.

Large, commercial… and organic

Agri-Fusion says its choice to go organic is a business no-brainer, with a collaborative new management design to make sure it pays

Reading Time: 6 minutes Agri-Fusion’s four owners of Quebec largest organic farm never looked back at their choice to go organic. Whether it’s wheat, corn, soybeans, beans or peas, organic crops earn them twice as much per acre as conventional crops, and they cost much less to produce. It’s a point I heard again from 67-year-old Gilles Audette, one […] Read more

Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Been south yet?

Work-life balance isn’t just a matter of giving yourself and your family a treat. It’s a proven strategy to improve profitability, and to help generate more objective plans for your future

Reading Time: 2 minutes The two emails almost crashed into each other on their way into my in-box. The first was from columnist Gerald Pilger. “Check out my new ride,” Gerald said, and attached was a photo showing him about to climb onto a camel in North Africa. Gerald farms near Edmonton, but is an “expedition” type of traveller, […] Read more