GFM Network News


The pandemic has clearly shown the need for a resilient national labour strategy.

Comment: COVID-19 shows Canada’s need for an agri-food labour strategy

In a complex economic sector, many solutions are needed for this intractable problem

Canadian agriculture has had problems with insufficient and unstable labour supply for decades. In 2019, primary agriculture brought in over 60,000 temporary foreign workers and still had over 16,000 vacancies. In 2017, on-farm agriculture had the highest job vacancy rate of any industry at 5.4 per cent. The current labour gap is 63,000 employees and

Comment: Public investment needs to return public good

Change is coming and farmers need to get ahead of the curve

If the ill-tempered and deadly first half of 2020 had been a first-calf heifer on the dairy farm of my youth, my father would have ticketed it for the freezer a month ago. His yardstick of heifer potential was short: If she lived up to her breeding, she was a “keeper”; if she “put more

Comment: No one ever loves the umpire

As a founder of the rules-based postwar consensus, the U.S. should be leading not pouting

While the coronavirus pandemic was hammering global trade earlier this year, the various bureaucracies devoted to trade barely skipped a beat before returning to their usual grind. For example, the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.) just began talks on a bilateral trade pact prior to the U.K.’s Oct. 31 “Brexit” from the European Union

COVID-19 amplified two challenges restaurant operators were already facing before the pandemic.

Comment: Damnit Jim! Where’s the waiter?

Food-service establishments are poised to go ‘Star Trek’ in the wake of COVID

Canada’s first server-free restaurant opened its doors recently in Toronto. Box’d is a fully automated restaurant designed for life during a global pandemic. An interesting concept indeed, but it does raise the issue of the role humans can, and should play, in the food industry. Being aware of the new risks, we now need to

As American farmers head into the 2019 growing season, a trade deal between the U.S. and China can’t come soon enough.

Comment: Spring needs to bring thaw in agricultural trade

U.S. farmers and ranchers need their markets back

For those of us who have slid, shovelled, and skated through the wildest up-and-down winter weather in years, here’s a warm thought: planting is well underway in parts of North America, with more to come soon. After that brief pleasantness, however, the outlook gets pretty cold pretty fast. Early February reports from the U.S. Department


Politics and a renewed vigour of nationalism are making it increasingly difficult for international trade.

Comment: Agricultural trade in the age of protectionism

The entire industry and government must work harder than ever to ensure market access

The world has entered a new age of nationalism, resulting in growing trade protectionism and increasing barriers for Canadian farmers and exporters who depend on international markets. The idea that trade is about winning or losing is dangerous and misleading. This idea ignores the world’s growth over the last 75 years and the disastrous outcomes

Comment: A competitive concern

Too-high fees from the grain industry’s key regulator hurt the entire industry

In the August 16 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator, Allan Dawson’s article contains quotes from the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) about why a fee reduction wasn’t part of its decision for the surplus. The CGC does not believe a reduction would be passed through grain handlers to farmers, and this is positioned as a major

With all their convenience, meal kits still don’t resolve the age-old issue of doing the dishes once you’ve finished eating.

Comment: Meal kits set the table for a new food retailing boom

Instead of takeout, consumers can choose a meal kit that allows them to whip up an appealing dish in minutes

Meal kits are sweeping across North America. It’s the perfect trend for consumers who want to be empowered by cooking but still need convenience. For example, Walmart has just partnered with Gobble to deliver meal kits. In the battle over the future of food consumption in the U.S., Walmart wants a fighting chance against the


Comment: You don’t have to be alone with farm worries

There are resources to help those whose mental health can be determined by the level of the rain gauge

I thought I was doing fine. Not too worried or concerned. I kept telling myself it would all work out, and if it didn’t we’d be OK. We’ve always had a crop. We would this year too. It wouldn’t be a bumper crop. Not even an average one, but after being married to a farmer

Donald Trump has it wrong on the Canadian dairy system

The president is in reality championing a globalized system that will disadvantage U.S. dairy farmers

Anthony Pahnke is vice-president of the Family Farm Defenders and an assistant professor of international relations at San Francisco State University. This piece appeared in a recent issue of Wisconsin State Farmer.  President Donald Trump is wrong on dairy because he supports free trade. At first, this may appear incorrect, especially with the trade disputes