GFM Network News


Federal irrigation pledge seen flowing mainly to Prairies

Infrastructure plan also includes promised broadband support

Prairie provinces will receive the bulk of Ottawa’s $1.5 billion commitment to support irrigation projects, according to federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday launched a three-year, $10 billion infrastructure plan aimed at five different sectors, including agriculture. The $1.5 billion is expected to result in 700,000 acres of irrigated land. […] Read more

Throne speech commits to rural broadband improvement

Rural health care, water management also on deck

The federal minority Liberal government is promising job creation, better rural internet access and a commitment to combating climate change in its newly revealed legislative plans. In an ambitious throne speech delivered Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party committed itself to implementing universal child care and extending or enhancing many of the economic measures put […] Read more


Pandemic may strain rural community resources, panel warns

Enthusiasm for telecommuting could later benefit rural areas, if 'digital divide' can be bridged

The COVID-19 pandemic, and Canada’s response to it, have highlighted how rural communities need different strategies than their urban counterparts to provide social services on which the public relies. The Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph hosted a virtual panel in May to discuss COVID-19’s social impacts, in which researchers from a variety […] Read more

5G could be a game changer for farmers

Improved access to rural broadband could reduce costs and increase productivity

Bill Campbell still does yield mapping with a pen and paper. The principal operator of Campbell Land and Cattle would like to use precision agriculture to monitor moisture levels, make decisions about inputs and improve yields on his fields of wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, corn and pulses but broadband access on his Minto, Manitoba, […] Read more


NYC equity firm to buy Xplornet

New investment expected to speed up rural broadband rollouts

A Manhattan private equity firm deep in “middle-market infrastructure” has committed to buy, and help improve service from, Canada’s single biggest rural broadband provider. New Brunswick-based, privately held Xplornet Communications announced Thursday it has signed a deal to sell majority control itself to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The two companies’ announcement didn’t put a dollar figure […] Read more

Xplornet buys Ontario’s Silo Wireless

Deal includes rural wireless, fibre services

Canada’s biggest rural broadband company has expanded its space in the southwestern Ontario market by buying internet and fibre-to-home provider Silo Wireless. New Brunswick-based Xplornet Communications, whose client list already includes over a million rural customers in all provinces, announced it has closed its deal to buy Silo for an undisclosed sum. The deal gives […] Read more


Federal minister for rural affairs among Tory pledges

The federal Conservatives’ pre-election pledges for Canada’s rural communities include a plan to appoint a federal minister for rural affairs. Tory leader Andrew Scheer included that promise Sept. 7 in announcing a list of “specific measures he will take as prime minister to help rural communities across the country,” in the lead-up to a federal […] Read more

Rural development strategy sought in federal shuffle

Rural economic development has been given a promotion at the federal level in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s latest cabinet shuffle. In the shuffle, following the departure of Treasury Board president Scott Brison from cabinet, Trudeau on Monday called up Bernadette Jordan, MP for the southern Nova Scotia riding of South Shore-St.Margaret’s, to head a newly […] Read more


One of the positives of Twitter folks in agriculture is that often other people in ag intervene when an attack is aimed at a specific person.

Reporter’s Notebook: Fear and anger on the internet

Social media is great for sharing information, but there is a downside

In my last column, I wrote about how rapid change in how we communicate is changing society and encouraging fear. Fear easily morphs into anger and hatred and there’s no shortage of either on the internet. I’d love to write that the online ag community is free from such nastiness. But the ag community is […] Read more

What do people want to know?

Taking a look at the questions people are asking the internet about agriculture

I did something that made me sad the other day. I often write about the chasm between farmers and the public they/we feed. There’s an information gap there that absolutely needs to be filled. If the gulf is allowed to grow, and the agriculture/food sector plods forward without a meaningful connection with the public and […] Read more