GFM Network News


Burrowing owl.

For the birds

Ranchers and prairie grassland birds have something in common: they’re both endangered species

Home on Manitoba’s range, there are some discouraging words, especially when talk turns to bird habitat and populations. At a recent meeting in Winnipeg that flagged the importance of conservationists supporting the beef sector and their record of preserving habitat, it soon became clear that stemming the decline of forage-based beef production in the province

A site like the huge tract of native mixed-grass prairie of the Ellice-Archie Spy Hill community pastures is a rare sight nowadays, says a spokesman for the Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program.

Western Manitoba community pastures named as key habitat for grassland bird species

The Ellice-Archie Spy Hill community pastures are now officially an Important Bird Area (IBA)

The Ellice-Archie and Spy Hill community pastures have been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA), highlighting the western Manitoba site as key habitat for endangered birds and the role grazing cattle play to maintain it. The designation comes from Nature Manitoba, Bird Studies Canada and Nature Saskatchewan, groups that say they hope this focuses more


Over 1,000 species, including mammals, birds, amphibians and plant species, many of which can’t exist in any other type of habitat, make their homes on Canadian rangelands particularly livestock grazing operations.

Conservationists should support beef sector

Land use and habitat index values 
for beef cattle production and 
other agricultural areas in Canada

Cattle producers and conservationists need to team up to defeat the perception beef is bad for the environment. Unless they do so, both sides risk losing ground. Why it matters: The conservation community and the cattle sector in Canada must put their differences aside and start telling consumers about the environmental benefits of eating beef.

Will you serve on the board?

Manitoba Agriculture is offering two seminars March 6 and March 7 to help build skills for effective leadership

Anyone who lives in a rural community knows the value of volunteer boards, and how important it is that those who serve on them know how to run them effectively. Board members for organizations large and small are regularly in high demand, and those who accept these jobs, will often attest to the benefits of

The popularity of farmers’ markets has created a situation where roughly the same number of customers are spread out more thinly.

More markets, more vendors, more challenges

Increasing visitor traffic to farmers’ markets would help, says Jeff Veenstra, Wild Earth Farms owner

The perception is farmers’ markets are booming, and that’s true if you’re a consumer. More farmers’ markets with more vendors selling at them is great for customers, but it’s adding challenges for those whose livelihood hinges on how well a day’s sales goes — especially when customer traffic falls off. Jeff Veenstra, is co-owner of


Direct Farm Manitoba is a new organization formed in 2016 to represent the small-scale farmer and its membership includes many new entrants to agriculture keen to forge strong direct-to-consumer relationships. The DFM met in Winnipeg February 9 for its annual convention.

Direct Farm Manitoba hopes for better connection

2016 census revealed a vibrant direct-marketing sector in Manitoba, but that hasn’t translated into memberships in the organization

There are 900 farms in Manitoba selling agricultural product of one kind or another direct to customers, and Direct Farm Manitoba (DFM) wants to connect with more of them. The farm number comes from the 2016 Census of Agriculture data which revealed both a vibrant direct-marketing sector for Manitoba and one probably a whole lot

Thousand Hills Ranch owner Dean Hildebrand looks over the meat products he’s brought to the Pembina Valley Local Food Market as the venue gets rolling on market day inside the Morden Public Library.

The farmers’ market goes high tech

A small group of local food producers are taking their marketing efforts online

Squinting through blowing snow isn’t how most vendors travel to farmers’ markets across Manitoba — but that’s the sort of trip owners of Thousand Hills Ranch take once in a while. Tiina and Dean Hildebrand, who raise grass-fed beef and lamb near Morden, keep a segment of the Morden summer farmers’ market going through the

The Canadian agriculture sector needs a few more hands to share the workload.

Helping hands: pilot immigration program targets rural Canada

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program matches immigrants to jobs and could help agricultural recruiters fill vacancies

It’s no secret — finding employees to work on the farm isn’t getting any easier. Rural populations are dwindling, fewer have skills or aptitudes for farm work, or even any interest in finding out about jobs in agriculture. But a new initiative announced in late January could potentially send experienced farm managers, equipment operators, meat


Grocery store entry easier than ever

Even those with limited product volumes should explore these opportunities, business development specialist tells St. Jean Farm Days

It’s never been a better time to start a food-processing business. Where in years gone by there were nothing but barriers, now more grocery stores are keen to stock locally produced products, says a Manitoba Agriculture business development specialist. Gone are expensive listing fees to buy shelf space in stores, and you won’t find yourself

Members of the RM of Rosser volunteer fire department help guide STAR-7 in for a landing.

New ‘heliport’ site begins operations at Portage la Prairie

This is the first site approved by Transport Canada outside Winnipeg. Ste. Anne’s Hospital is also awaiting approval of a newly constructed site

Every minute matters when a life is in danger, and with a new ‘heliport’ becoming operational this month at the Portage la Prairie District General Hospital, critical time will be saved during emergency response efforts. Why it matters: Cutting down transport times of critically ill or injured patients can save a life. The hospital’s newly