GFM Network News


Mike and son Sky harvesting finished castings from a ridge row of manure.

‘Accidental business people’ find niche in worm-made fertilizer

Faces of Ag: A veteran ‘worm farmer’ and his childhood friend set out to offer environmentally friendly fertilizer — years later, business is booming in unexpected ways

It began 35 years ago with a quarter-pound of worms sent in the mail from Kentucky. Mike Jacques bought them to help develop soil for his greenhouse and the Northern Sun Farm Co-op, a small, off-grid community near Sarto in southeastern Manitoba. The soil in the area was sandy and needed some organic input. Jacques

Laura and Ryan Plett juggled hunting and fishing guide careers with their livestock operation until two years ago.

Laying foundations with Sawmill Creek Livestock

Faces of Ag: Laura and Ryan Plett of Stead, Man., have spent over half a decade growing their livestock operation from scratch

Laura and Ryan Plett know all about building something from nothing. Their farm, tucked into the bush near Stead, on the southeastern tip of Lake Winnipeg, is largely forested. Pasture expansions mean pushing farther into the bush. Grazing is marginal. The Pletts’ herds, now hundreds of head strong and combining cattle and sheep, was grown

Sarah Jensen of Arborg is one of two Manitoba names among the 2020 Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Mentorship Program finalists.

Veterinary student gets CYL nod

Faces of Ag: Sarah Jensen of Arborg is one of 16 young Canadians singled out for mentorship through the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association this year

Sarah Jensen can’t single out one moment that decided her on a career as a large-animal vet, but she has early memories of tagging along with the veterinarian making calls to her home in the Interlake. “I think it was a combination of factors,” she said. “One, growing up on a cattle farm and watching

Vernette and Jim McIntosh pose with “Ruby,” a Miniature Hereford cow, on their farm near Poplarfield, Man.

Miniature Herefords capture hearts (and stomachs) in the Interlake

Faces of Ag: McFinn Acres is home to a menagerie of farm animals, but miniature cattle are front and centre

From the moment you drive onto Jim and Vernette McIntosh’s yard, you’ll know one thing: They love animals. Ten dogs, ranging in size from a Great Pyrenees to a little, grey terrier, bound over for a friendly greeting. An elderly goat named Goober shuffles over to make your acquaintance while a tom turkey struts across

Owner Tim with Grandson Hayden.

Local honey farm wins big in London

Faces of Ag: The Wendell family pitches their honey on quality, purity and Prairie goodness

A Manitoba-Saskatchewan honey farm has brought home high honours from the 2020 London Honey Awards. Wendell Estate Honey, which practises both conventional and organic production, entered the only Canadian honeys to receive platinum awards in the competition, appearing alongside honey from Greece, Italy, Spain and the U.K. To reach platinum status, the honey must score an


Boyd Abas on his farm near Fisher Branch.

“In this together” says Interlaker

Faces of Ag: Like many operations in the area, the Abas family farm began with the “homesteaders” act

The Abas farmhouse sits beside a branch of the Fisher River several miles north of the town of Fisher Branch. As pelicans cruise over the water, Gus the farm cat snoozes below a bench on the porch. Grapevines cling to a trellis, which bisects a large vegetable garden beside the house. Nearby, orange and yellow

Ellen speaks to dieticians, chefs and food writers at an event in Toronto.

Canola advocate honoured by Dietitians of Canada

Faces of Ag: Trained as a teacher, Ellen Pruden has become a bridge between dietitians, chefs, food writers and the agricultural community

Canola Eat Well director Ellen Pruden is being recognized for her work bridging the gap between dietitians and agriculture. “Ellen has used her personal ties to Canadian agriculture to create unique and innovative opportunities for dietitians to learn about the complex world of farming and food production and has given us confidence to share that

Clanman cows munch on feed made of an 11-variety polycrop, including turnips and a few different types of clover.

Regenerate renegades

Faces of Ag: Bucking trends and seeking new ideas led Clanman Jerseys to regenerative agriculture

Not long ago, Sean Smith was in an Alberta lab learning to identify soil micro-organisms. He’s not a scientist. He’s a dairy farmer with a penchant for learning and experimentation — an inherited trait at Clanman Jerseys. “I think that’s probably one of the biggest things about our farm. We’re not afraid to do something


Connie Spenst (right) and her team have made changes to keep their business open safely during the pandemic.

Faith, family give strength to go on

Faces of Ag: Connie Spenst and family began their butcher shop and pizza business when a crisis pushed their farm to the breaking point

While the show goes on for Spenst Brothers in Winkler, the day to day looks a bit different. Markers on the floor show customers where to stand. Staff are signing in each day to say they have no symptoms of COVID-19. People call in wondering if they need to stockpile meat — they don’t, said

Each riding student has a support team of three volunteers.

Keeping in the saddle

Faces of Ag: When Graham Curnew first volunteered with Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association, he didn’t know how to ride a horse

Graham Curnew didn’t intend to spend his life teaching kids with disabilities how to ride horses. He didn’t want to volunteer when his dad dragged him to an evening class with Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association. He didn’t even ride horses. The most exposure he’d had to riding was as a kid on a