GFM Network News


This will be my first pandemic

What’s my greatest risk factor — a virus or french fries?

I am not sure what is going to take me out first — A. the COVID-19 virus (also known as the coronavirus); or B. an overdose of media coverage of the COVID-19 virus. I don’t mean to sound flippant about the COVID-19 virus. As one of those in the high-risk category (a senior citizen) it […] Read more

Tribulations and field trials

Politics as much a concern as the weather and agronomics

I’m hoping by the time this column appears in print that all road and railway blockades have been removed and truck and rail commerce has returned to normal across the country. If it hasn’t by this March 10 publishing date, we might very well be in a state of war. I was writing this column […] Read more


Mary and Roelof van Benthem, dairy farmers from central Alberta are regional Outstanding Young Farmer finalists for 2020.

Alberta kicks off Outstanding Young Farmers year

Just when I thought I knew everything about agriculture

A bright young dairy farming couple from central Alberta is kicking off the 2020 awards year for Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers. Roelof and Mary van Benthem of Spruceview, about 30 km west of Innisfail, were selected in February as Alberta’s regional nominees for the national awards. They are the first of seven regional nominees from […] Read more

Ed Shaw, left and Scott Keller talk about diversification options at FarmTech in Edmonton.

Some good ol’ reminders about diversification

No crazy ideas about what to do with alfalfa and barley

I must admit I haven’t heard much about farm “diversification” in recent years. And maybe that just means everyone these days is already diversified to the max so there is no need to talk about it. I think back 15 or 20 years and there were many actively promoted diversification schemes (and some of them […] Read more


A waterhemp infestation can reduce soybean yields by 40 to 95 per cent.

War on weeds, take no prisoners

Hart Attacks: It will take money and commitment to just to hold enemy line

A recent issue of the Manitoba’s provincial farm newspaper, the Manitoba Co-operator, carried some depressing news. The province might be losing the war on herbicide resistant weeds; reports from the U.S. say despite some kind of trade deal with China, U.S. farmers figure they will need more than a $25 billion bailout in 2020 — […] Read more

U.S. and China talk trade, no mention of Canada

Hart Attacks: There’s a good chance Canada’s help could go unrewarded

Am I the only one who thinks it’s a bit odd that the U.S. is working on major new trade agreements with China, and yet there is no mention of getting China to take the strangle hold off Canadian ag exports. Maybe positive things are happening behind the scenes, but as the U.S. is about […] Read more


Nothing easy about wild boar control

Hart Attacks: They roam from B.C. to Quebec pretty much doing what they want

I won’t joke about the escalating wild boar problem in Western Canada, because there really doesn’t seem to be anything to joke about. Boy, what a gnarly problem these feral pigs have become across most of Canada and several of the U.S. states. Of all the things farmers have to worry about, who thought wild […] Read more

While the carbon tax exemption covers purple gas and diesel, so far it doesn’t cover other fuel costs such as propane and natural gas.

Agriculture: With an industry that special…

Hart Attacks: So-called belt tightening around the middle is more of a noose around the neck

Fortunately, I have a solution to how Albertan and other western Canadian farmers can handle the recently imposed federal government carbon tax — just pass this increasing operating cost onto consumers. It is that simple. Oh, wait, come to think of it that doesn’t work — farmers are the consumers, or at least have no […] Read more


A drone equipped with a camera can be used to check remote watering systems, scan fencelines or check gates.

Drones. How did we farm without them?

Hart Attacks: Drone school explained how flying cameras can change the cattle business

I know I shouldn’t be amazed by anything that has to do with new technology, but it seems I always am. I recently spent part of a day at a central Alberta drone school —primarily geared to beef producers — and came away thinking it just never ends. So there I was in a community […] Read more

Greta Thunberg, tearless onions and fond farewells

Hart Attacks: All kinds of people and messages make a difference

I’m writing this column on election day, so it is too early for me to comment if it was either a good, bad or surprising election result. I am just glad it is over. I have often thought the real winners in any federal, provincial or even municipal election are the paper companies. First they […] Read more