GFM Network News



Don Cruikshanks, manager of the Deerwood Soil and Water Management Association, at a unique research site in the Pembina Hills where two watersheds meet. The location allows researchers to do comparative analysis of farm management practices related to water and nutrient management.

Agriculture’s role in nutrient loss

Ultimately, storing water on the land isn’t just about flood control, it’s about capitalizing on available nutrients as well

Checking the news feeds across my conservation agriculture news, I see a common thread. Increased nutrient loads at Lake Erie, Chesapeake Bay, the ever-present “dead zone” of the Gulf of Mexico and calls for more action on the state of Lake Winnipeg. The human contributions are relatively constant, albeit constantly increasing, so when things go


Educational systems for 2050 — lessons from history

An essay from Moving Toward Prairie Agriculture 2050 an assessment of 
Prairie agriculture’s readiness for climate change

“Education is what survives when what was learned has been forgotten.” (B.F. Skinner 1964, New Scientist, 21 May) “(Education) has produced a vast population able to read, but unable to distinguish what is worth reading, an easy prey to sensations and cheap appeals.” (G.M. Trevelyan 1942, in English Social History) Taken together, these quotes are

Anne Kirk co-ordinates a participatory plant-breeding project that assists farmers with developing varieties that are best suited to their local environment and individual management practices.

Ecological farming has bright future

Natural systems agriculture offers a practical alternative to ‘command and control’ production models

Industrialized countries use a “command and control” model in agriculture — where we try to control many of the biological processes in farming. But, problems like herbicide and antibiotic resistance, water pollution and loss of wildlife and biodiversity demonstrate that no matter how hard we try, the most diligent “command and control” approach cannot keep

The grain market needs a dose of ‘good cholesterol’

More regulation is not the solution to improving grain transportation

Just as there is both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, there are both good and bad regulations. The CWB single desk was an example of a bad regulation — it clogged the arteries of western Canadian grain commerce by burdening farmers with high costs and no evidence of premium prices. Markets are efficient and effective


Yule logs and wheat

The following was written by J.T. Hull, editor of the Scoop Shovel, in December 1929. The proper place to celebrate Christmas is on a farm because in its natural history, it began on the farm. Let me explain. From about the fourth century of the Christian era, Christmas has been observed as the birthday of

Say NO to UPOV ’91

Ottawa is moving quickly to implement the UPOV ’91 plant breeders’ rights convention with first reading in Parliament of the Agricultural Growth Act, an agricultural omnibus bill. The proponents for this move say that doing this will keep private plant-breeding money in Canada and stop us from somehow immediately turning into Luddites. What is never



Gary Martens

The Manitoba harvest: ‘To every thing there is a season’

In his sixth instalment from Northern Blossom Farm, Gary Martens reflects on the length and variety of the Manitoba harvest

The crops in my Kleefeld area look very good. We have actually had less-than-average rainfall with no gigantic rain events to damage the crops. On my little “nano” farm, the peas are in swath but it has rained a small amount most days since, the wheat is almost ready to harvest and the oats will

Comment: An outright ban on neonicotinoids would be reckless and costly

Regions that use no neonicotinoids are experiencing major bee losses while others that 
make widespread use of the treatment have healthy, thriving bee populations

Bee health has been the subject of much media attention over the last year — and rightly so. Bees are a critical part of the agricultural system and largely responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. There are few who are more concerned about this issue than the manufacturers of pest