GFM Network News


Alberta loosens animal slaughter rules after pandemic hit packers

Reuters – Canada’s main cattle-producing province, Alberta, said on Wednesday it would allow the slaughter of animals on farms for meat sales to consumers, loosening regulations after the coronavirus pandemic interrupted production at its biggest packing plants. Alberta previously restricted the consumption of meat from animals slaughtered outside of government-inspected plants to farmers and their

Mobile butcher Gerrit vande Bruinhorst works on a beef carcass.

Have gun will travel

Coronavirus at meat plants builds demand for mobile butchers

Reuters – Slaughtering cattle is a solitary, but personal business for Gerrit vande Bruinhorst, 55, the mobile butcher of Picture Butte, Alberta. On this day, vande Bruinhorst, a .303 rifle in hand, arrives early at a customer’s ranch. He wears boots, coveralls and a rubber apron to catch any blood. With one shot to the forehead, the 1,300-pound Black Angus steer


Ontario investigating 17 temp agencies after virus outbreaks on farms

"We stand firm against exploitation in our province"

Toronto/Winnipeg | Reuters — Ontario is investigating 17 temporary recruitment agencies, the province’s labour ministry said, after health officials warned that agencies that move workers from farm to farm could be contributing to COVID-19 outbreaks. Canadian farms rely on some 60,000 people who come to Canada on temporary work permits every year, typically living and

TFW program to be overhauled after COVID-19 outbreaks on farms

"The piece that's missing is enforcement"

Winnipeg | Reuters — Canada is overhauling its temporary foreign worker program, a government spokeswoman said on Friday, after coronavirus outbreaks on Ontario farms sickened hundreds and led Mexico to demand assurances of proper safeguards. As part of the review, surprise inspections of working and living conditions on farms will immediately increase, Ashley Michnowski, communications

Grain exports flow fast as pandemic lockdowns clear rail capacity

Traffic accelerates on lower coal, crude volumes

Winnipeg | Reuters — Canadian grain exporters are boosting sales in a slumping global economy, as demand for commodities like oil weakens and frees up railway space. Brisk crop movement in a country that relies heavily on rail is a bright spot during pandemic lockdowns, which have hammered most industries. “We’ve had an almost unlimited


Small butchers are seeing a massive demand spike due to COVID-19 closures at major meat-processing facilities.

‘How about next June?’

Small meat processors backlogged as coronavirus idles big plants

Reuters – Inside the small-scale Iowa abattoir Stanhope Locker and Market, owner Shaunna Zanker yawns with exhaustion as she listens to yet another farmer asking her to slaughter his pigs. “I’m so sorry, but we’re booked through March of next year,” Zanker said on the phone. “How about next June?” Slaughter operations like Zanker’s are

As meat plant infections rise, Canada lets packers choose when to close

Beef plants at heart of Alberta's largest COVID-19 community outbreaks

Winnipeg | Reuters — In Cargill’s High River, Alta. plant, supplier of more than one-third of Canada’s beef, 391 workers were sick with COVID-19 when the company suspended operations, according to provincial health officials. But Maple Leaf Foods decided to idle a poultry plant for eight days, in Brampton, Ont., after just three workers were

Canada sees no beef shortage, but prices may rise due to coronavirus

JBS plant at Brooks dials back to one shift

Ottawa/Winnipeg | Reuters –– The Canadian government is not expecting a beef shortage despite the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in certain meat-packing plants, though prices may rise, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday. Trudeau added that beef producers are placing a priority on supplying the Canadian market before exporting products. Canada, one of


‘Elbow to elbow:’ North America’s meat plant workers fall ill, walk off jobs

Supply chains struggling to keep pace with surging demand

Chicago/Winnipeg | Reuters — At a Wayne Farms chicken processing plant in Alabama, workers recently had to pay the company 10 U.S. cents a day to buy masks to protect themselves from the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a meat inspector. In Colorado, nearly a third of the workers at a JBS USA beef plant stayed

Steve Mackenzie-Grieve pulls harvested wheat from a grain bin at the Yukon Grain Farm near Whitehorse February 19, 2020.

Wheat in Whitehorse: How climate change could open a new frontier

Will the Great White North become the Great Green North?

After failing to grow wheat in Canada’s subarctic Yukon territory 15 years ago, farmer Steve Mackenzie-Grieve gave it another shot in 2017. Thanks to longer summers, he has reaped three straight harvests. This spring he plans to sow canola on his family’s 450-acre farm near Whitehorse, a city not much farther from the North Pole