GFM Network News

A wake honouring the memory of Phil Thomas, known to many across the agriculture industry as Mr. Canola, is expected to be held later this year. Thomas died suddenly following a brief illness in hospital at Red Deer, Alta., in mid-June at the age of 76.

Canola expert will be missed

Memorial service will be held to celebrate Phil Thomas

Canada lost one of its leading experts on canola agronomy in mid-June with the sudden death of Phil Thomas, a retired but former long-time oilseed specialist with Alberta Agriculture in Lacombe, Alta. Thomas, who was known not only in Canada but in many parts of the world as Mr. Canola, literally wrote the book on […] Read more

No turning back as the world Zooms

This face-to-face contact with humans is overrated

If there is one legacy this pandemic will leave us, we may never need to get out of our sweatpants, or leave the house again. In fact, there may never be a good excuse to have live face-to-face contact with another human being (other than immediate family members) ever again. I’ve never been Zoomed so […] Read more

Hopefully I’m not Zooming on the golf course this year

My game is much like a solitary nature walk, narrated by swear words

It makes sense during this pandemic to cancel many routine gatherings, such as NHL hockey games, the House of Commons, church assemblies, bingo nights and the Olympics. I hope physical distancing requirements don’t impact two of my important summer pastimes — field days and golf. The field day season is just around the corner. There […] Read more

Perhaps I spoke too soon on the coronavirus

COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head

Well, since I last shared my views on the COVID-19 pandemic a couple weeks ago, I am pleased to report that I was completely wrong, and although I am 100 per cent healthy, the spread of the coronavirus has affected/changed just about every other aspect of my life today and into the foreseeable future. I […] Read more

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