GFM Network News


Toban Dyck: This year we decided to grow black beans

New doesn’t mean impossible

This growing season has been different. I think we can all agree on that. As much as I have tried, it has pushed me to the thresholds of my cognitive abilities to index the challenges associated with the pandemic and then separate those from the unique challenges facing the agricultural sector. The general COVID-19 malaise […] Read more

There is an extraordinary amount of things on a farmer’s mind, at the best of times. This year that number has multiplied.

Toban Dyck: Piecing together the farming puzzle

A picture is starting to emerge of what farming looks like for me

Eight years ago, when Jamie and I moved to the farm, I opened the box and dumped the farming puzzle on the table. There seemed to be an infinite amount of pieces and just as many ways to put it together. And, as you know, this particular puzzle does not come with a reference picture. […] Read more


Riding Mountain National Park, western Manitoba.

Toban Dyck: Tread the COVID-19 landscape with sensitivity

It’s a challenge to process the news and identify how our fears and prejudices influence our positions

I check my crops nearly every morning. I didn’t do that last year or any year since I have been back on the farm. I regularly communicate with my father about what’s happening on the farm on any given day. I didn’t do that last year, either. I have spent an unprecedented amount of time […] Read more

One thing I’ve learned is that video conferencing is actually a satisfactory way to communicate.

Toban Dyck: Redefining face-to-face contact

The tech we’ve been forced to adopt is actually useful

There’s no substitute for face-to-face contact. I have believed in this adage for a long time. I felt it was a good perspective to balance the trend among younger generations that have trouble picking up a phone or going to someone’s house. Also, it’s often the default argument in favour of going to a conference […] Read more



Toban Dyck: Daily update

This quick note is not profound, but it does amazing work

I send my dad a farm update every weekday morning. This is a new habit, and I love it. I suspect he doesn’t mind, either. I’m proud to be at a stage in my farming trajectory where I am able to observe and articulate priorities in a way that lets those around me know I’ve […] Read more


Toban Dyck: Do you know your cost of production?

If there ever was a year for a detailed budget, it’s this one

He leaned over and said, “Do you know what one of the biggest issues facing farmers is?” I’m paraphrasing. I didn’t have my notepad out and open. I had no way of knowing that I would be talking about such heady stuff, given where we were. We were both waiting for the same prop plane […] Read more

Toban Dyck: No lightning strike, no eureka moment — only incremental growth

Lessons learned from AAFC research scientist Robert Conner

I asked Dr. Robert Conner to choose one eureka moment in his 38-year career as a research scientist and describe it to me. It was a simple question. His answer was unexpected. I had the distinct honour of interviewing Conner, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist, for an article I was writing for Pulse […] Read more


Toban Dyck: Voting yes or no to amalgamation

Farmers vote to create the Manitoba Crop Alliance from five commodity groups

I had no idea which way the vote would go. I knew there were people in favour and I also knew there were some opposed and I was pretty sure they would be vocal. This year’s CropConnect Conference in Winnipeg had a layer of complexity and drama to it. At five of the commodity group […] Read more

Toban Dyck: Expanding your knowledge to learn new things

Leaning new things expand your horizons, if you can leave your comfort zone

If you’re like me and you prefer to learn things on your own terms, Google Alerts are an eye-opening exploration into a deep well of information, the bounds of which seem only to be limited by imagination. This was my experience, anyway. This is not a new service. Google Alerts have been around for a […] Read more