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 Badiou family is well into the process of transitioning the family farm to the next generation.

Impressing Mom and Dad

There’s more reason than ever for farm kids to prove to Mom and Dad that they’ve got what it takes to be trusted with the farm. Question is: do the kids realize it?

Transitioning the family farm to the next generation is never easy. But how much harder when the parents have their doubts whether their next generation has the skills or the personality to manage the operation? On more and more farms, the wise thing would be for the kids to set out to prove to Mom […] Read more


Alexis Wagner and Cameron Olson have two different approaches about the future of food.

The youth solution for feeding the world

Young aggies like Cameron Olson and Alexis Wagner know that feeding a hungry planet will be the challenge of their lifetimes, which is why they’re so ready to listen even to those with seemingly unfriendly views

More than 1,000 18- to 25-year-olds from 95 countries submitted essays to qualify for the third Youth-Ag Summit held this past October in Belgium, with 100 delegates actually getting a ticket. Among them were four young Canadians. Sponsored by Bayer, the summit gave youth an opportunity to discuss one of the most pressing questions the […] Read more

Young and farming

The ag census says young people are flocking back to the farm. Are they really?

There’s been a lot of chatter about the new farmers coming back to the sector. Across the country, enrolment numbers have ballooned at ag colleges. Even the 2016 Census of Agriculture showed a real, albeit small, increase. Saskatchewan is no exception. In 2016, the number of farm operators under the age of 35 hit 9.7 […] Read more


Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek of Fresh Roots Farm.

Five years on: Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek

Country Guide revisits Fresh Roots Farm and its focus on direct-marketing

Back in 2012, Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek’s biggest goal was to quit their off-farm jobs and farm full time. It’s something that Stozek has more or less managed to do, although Schram still works part-time at her parents’ ranch supply store. Schram and Stozek originally established Fresh Roots Farm as a Community Supported Agriculture […] Read more

After five years, Lee-Anne and Riley are convinced they made the right move. In fact, they’re more enthusiastic than ever about the future for new farmers.

Five years on: Riley and Lee-Anne Kemp

Country Guide revisits two Manitoba beef producers building their future

In the five years since Country Guide last caught up with Riley and Lee-Anne Kemp, their lives have become even more hectic. For starters, their family has grown to three children — six-year-old Lexi, three-year-old Elliot and Halle, who just turned six months old. Riley still works off farm as a teacher at the local […] Read more


“There was no particular time when I realized we were going to be successful,” Wayne says. “We just kept making incremental progress.”

Five years on: Wayne and Maria McDonald

Country Guide revisits the livestock operation of McDonald Farm

Wayne McDonald has never had a job off the farm and admits that he has no idea what nine-to-five is all about. That’s the way he likes it. Now, thanks to some hard work and their very dedicated focus, he and wife Maria have managed to achieve one of the key goals they set themselves […] Read more

With their Lakeland background, students like Craig de Jong return home having already managed farm operations. “You want to make it the best year they’ve had,” Craig says.

A lesson in farming

At Lakeland College, an innovative student-managed farm is turning out business-minded young farmers ready for the job ahead

Nearly 10 years ago, April Thomi faced the same dilemma as many high school students the world over. She was trying to decide where to go to college. April knew she wanted to farm. She had grown up on the Stanko family farm in southern Alberta, where her family had raised cattle and still grew […] Read more


Tom Towers (l) was looking to retire, but wanted to ensure their farm would live on. Blake Hall wanted to farm, but didn’t have the equity. With the help of legal agreements, an outside facilitator, and a commitment to open communication, each is reaching their goal.

Taking the farm beyond the family

It takes smarts and determination to use your farm to help a new farmer get their start, but the rewards can be deeply satisfying

Four years ago, Tom and Margaret Towers were facing a dilemma that’s becoming increasingly common for farm couples as they move into what are politely called their senior years. The Towers knew they couldn’t continue to manage alone forever, and they also knew they wouldn’t want to leave the farm near Red Deer, which they’d […] Read more

For Krystal and Eric, love and commitment mean more than a marriage certificate, but they also worked out the legal details.

Living together, farming together

Common-law is the choice for more and more young farming couples

As Eric Walker tells me about his farm, there’s lots of talk about complex business structures and about his ambitious plans. And there’s lots of talk, too, about family, hope and love. “It’s been a constant whirlwind of expansion, a blur of building, and three babies… that’s on top of the three we already had,” […] Read more