GFM Network News


David Rourke (right) takes a closer look at a green manure blend during an organic field tour near Boissevain this summer.

Field work gap means spring shifts for organic growers

Organic farmers are starting from behind this spring after little field work got done last fall

Organic farmers are gearing up for a more complicated start to the growing season after missing much of their field work last fall. Last year’s “harvest from hell” is still sending shocks through Manitoba operations, with wet weather leaving many farmers with unharvested acres and incomplete fertilizer applications. For the organic sector, that same delay

Visitors to Brooks and Jen White’s farm, Borderland Agriculture near Pierson, Man., got a closer look at adaptive grazing with bison in summer 2018.

Can regenerative agriculture products find a premium niche?

“We have a product that we should be able to demand a premium from. I just don’t know how to do it,” says Brooks White

Pipestone’s Brooks White needs no convincing about the biological value of regenerative agriculture. His fields of cover crops, annual stands grazed by bison, and adaptive pasture system speak for themselves of his commitment to this way of farming. And for that commitment he’s been rewarded — in the form of lower inputs, higher soil organic matter, more and better feed for his livestock and


Dr. Martin Entz.

Entz honoured by Organic Trade Association

Plant scientist recognized for contributions to organic agriculture

Dr. Martin Entz, Professor in the Department of Plant Science, was honoured by the Canada Organic Trade Association with the Leadership in Organic Science Award during the 10th anniversary Organic Week Celebration in Toronto on Sept. 11, 2019. The Organic Science Award is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated a significant impact through their research

Plenty CEO and co-founder Matt Barnard (right) says his company is now competitive with organic 
competitors but critics say vertical farms are simply too expensive to run.

Are vertical farms ready for prime time?

Indoor farm companies say they're scaling up, but many question their business model

INNOVATION Indoor farm companies say they’re scaling up, 
but many question their business model

Reuters — Leafy salad greens grown under banks of LED lights, with mist or drips of water are having their day in the sun. Several top U.S. indoor farms say they are boosting production to a level where they can now supply hundreds of grocery stores. Plenty, Bowery, Aerofarms and 80 Acres Farms are among young companies that see a future

Part of Travis Heide’s motivation for converting a large farm to organics is the fact that many people don’t believe it can be done.

Too big to be true?

Can really large organic farms stay true to the spirit of the sector?

Travis Heide knows many look at One Organic Farms in Waldron, Saskatchewan and wonder if it’s really an organic farm. The question isn’t whether it technically qualifies — the farm meets all the required standards and ticks all the right boxes. It’s whether it hews to the spirit of organic farming, long known as a


Manitoba Agriculture’s Roy Arnott says organic production has a strong business case for the farmers who go this direction.

Organic production an economic winner

The latest cost-of-production estimates for organic crops paint a picture of resilience

Manitoba Agriculture has released its latest organic crops cost-of-production figures and once again the production system is stacking up well against conventional agriculture. Higher production costs are typically met by higher prices, which more than offset the production lag organic growers can experience, Roy Arnott, a farm management specialist with Manitoba Agriculture’s Killarney office, told

Elie-area farmer Alex Boersch has been inspired by nutrition farming techniques and is now trying them out on his family farm. In the background is specialized equipment the farm now uses for solubilizing and mixing dry fertilizers or soil conditioners such as humates.

‘Nutrition farming’ techniques key to Elie farm operation

Alex Boersch sees potential in the soil-building approach to make farming more profitable, sustainable and even more fun

An Elie-area farm family didn’t know exactly what they were in for when they signed up for a short course on ‘nutrition farming’ a couple of years back. But the Boerschs, who farm a 5,000-acre commercial grain farm, figured there had to be something to it. Their son, Alex, who’d recently left his grain trading

Manitoba’s organic growers got a close look at composting windrows at Boundy Farms near Boissevain July 21 during an Organic Producers Association of Manitoba field tour.

Breaking down the basics of organic compost in windrows

Organic producers got some expert advice on composting during a July 21 field tour near Boissevain

Organic farmers may want to refine that manure before spreading it. Dale Overton, CEO of Over­ton Environmental Enterprises, urges organic farmers to add a composting step to their fertility programs, something he says will provide better long-term organic matter gain, fight off weeds and save money on fertilizer. Overton’s arguments echo advice from provincial Agriculture


Kate Storey, Manitoba Organic Alliance chair, seen here at the MOA annual meeting last October, says a recent report is hopeful for Manitoba’s organic industry.

Organic acres up, farmer numbers stable

The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative says a survey shows lots of new organic acres, but just a handful of new organic farmers

Manitoba and Saskatchewan couldn’t match Alberta’s explosion of new organic producers in 2016, but local experts say their gains have been in acres, not farms. Alberta gained 82 certified producers (counting livestock operations) from 2015-16, according to the 2016 Organic Agriculture in the Prairies report. Saskatchewan and Manitoba, meanwhile, only added 16 producers each. Acres,

Organic processing in Manitoba a bright spot

The numbers look slim, but experts say Manitoba’s modest processing increases in 2016 miss part of the story

Manitoba had one more organic processor in 2016 than 2015, according to the last Organic Agriculture in the Prairies report, but provincial organics expert Laura Telford says the view might be more optimistic than that implies. “The report doesn’t release the type of processing. I think what we’re seeing there is an increase in primary