GFM Network News


The Kihn farm, near Basswood, prior to the 1978 liquidation auction.

Making hay — and memories

A youthful summer sojourn still stirs memories for the author

It was another of those teenage decisions I never got to make — ugh. Mom called me over to her on an August Sunday afternoon. “You’re going to help Grandpa and Uncle Willie with their haying,” she announced. She’d just got off the phone with her brother 90 miles away near Russell. “They’ve fallen behind.

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


Parker, Val and Darcy Watson accept their award jackets from Ron McDonald of the Manitoba Charolais Association after being named 2020 commercial breeder of the year.

Darcy Watson’s eye for stock earns breed association award

Cattle producer says Charolais breed has been the backbone of the family’s operation for generations

Commercial Charolais producer Darcy Watson has played with other genetics over the years, but he says those experiments have always led him back to Charolais. The Watson family has a long history with Charolais cattle. It was the breed his father ran, Watson recalled, and the one that he’s has pursued as he has grown

RM of Piney residents met in Sprague on September 21 to discuss options for a public transportation system.

Rural community considers public transit options

Transportation a need likely to grow for an aging rural population that’s seeing services move further away

For aging residents of rural Manitoba, there are few challenges that loom larger than transportation. Consider the different realities of urban and rural seniors. For an urban senior, losing the ability to drive for themselves is still a cruel blow of aging, but it isn’t debilitating. Options ranging from buses, traditional taxis and a plethora

Jim Cornelius visits with Victoria Loki and her baby, Cecilia, in South Sudan in 2015.

Always on mission

Outgoing Canadian Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius reflects on a career of international development

The food aid was two months late. Niger was in the grip of drought and for many complicated reasons, the food aid the Canadian Foodgrains Bank had ordered had not reached the village Jim Cornelius was visiting that morning. He sat under a tree with a woman and her child. As she told him they


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

Tim Wendell has raised bees since he was a teen, and has been rearing queen bees for about 30 years.

Queens, drones and bees that fly backwards

Three beekeeping experts explain honeybee breeding in Manitoba

To most of us, a bee is probably just a bee. Sure, there’s honeybees, bumblebees, and whatever that bee is that lives in huts on farmers’ fields (leafcutters, of course). But otherwise, a bee’s a bee, right? No, as it turns out. Like cattle ranchers and horse breeders, beekeepers pay a lot of attention to

A patch of restored prairie at Glenlea, not unlike what the authors’ vision would see restored in much of Treaty Four territory.

Rewriting the outcome on the future of agriculture

The Kwayeskastasowin Wahkohtowin project is looking for a more equitable, sustainable future for agriculture, and is now a top 10 finalist for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Food Systems Vision Prize

Paul Hanley, along with a team with ties to the University of Manitoba, wants to tell you a story about a more just, sustainable agri-food system, one he envisions transforming the Prairies by 2050. In it, food production systems are developed with an eye to reducing climate change impacts on agriculture. They incorporate Indigenous perspectives


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

U.S. farm aid began shooting up in 2018 thanks to Washington’s ‘market facilitation program’ but will go sky high this year after President Donald Trump pledged $16 billion for farmers hurt by the pandemic.

Farm aid is raining down south of the border, but not in Canada

These farmers say they don’t want bailouts — but effective risk management programs are needed

American farmers will receive record-high amounts of farm aid this year, but Canadian producers say they don’t want a handout — just a business risk management program that works. The current programs, such as AgriStability, don’t function well, said Sexsmith, Alta.-area farmer Greg Sears. “It’s not predictable, it’s not timely, and it rarely pays out —