GFM Network News


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

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,



The Manitoba Organic Alliance announced the working group Oct. 23 during its annual meeting in Brandon.

Organic Alliance says crop insurance needs an update on organic production

Organic growers argue that insurance excludes critical production practices, but change may come with some real logistical problems, according to MASC

Organic farmers in Manitoba hope a new working group will help solve long-standing crop insurance issues. The body will have members from both the Manitoba Organic Alliance (MOA) and Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC). “There’s definite improvements that need to be made, so we want to know what the timeline on that is,” MOA president

Katherine Stanley (l) has been named as the Manitoba Organic Alliance’s first agronomist.

Manitoba Organic Alliance names agronomist

Katherine Stanley will take on the term position over the next year

Manitoba’s organic farmers now have an agronomist to call their own — even if it’s only for a year. The farmer organization the Manitoba Organic Alliance has teamed up with the University of Manitoba and the provincial Agriculture Department to create a one-year term position for an organic agronomist and Katherine Stanley has been named


Dr. Alan Moulin takes tour attendees through the field.

Measuring tillage impact

There may be a middle path that gives the best results

Conventional wisdom says less tillage is better when it comes to soil structure, but the issue is more complex when comparing organic soil health to zero till, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researcher Dr. Alan Moulin. Moulin’s team looked at “soil aggregates,” or how soil particles bind together into larger groups, under high-input conventional

Don Rourke fields equipment questions during a field tour near Minto.

Rourke Farms explores organic equipment options

Rourke Farms near Minto put equipment options to the test this year as the farm started 
the process of becoming certified organic

When Rourke Farms decided to go organic, it went all in, both in terms of acres and equipment. Over 4,000 acres of cropped land started the transition this year, while another third of that has been put to green manure and the farm’s fleet of tractors, seeders, cultivators and harrows has expanded as owners make

Laura Telford, provincial organic specialist in Manitoba is doing an in-depth study of the organic processing sector in Canada.

Organic processing sector study underway

When complete in 2018 it will be a first-ever in-depth analysis of Canada’s key players, innovations and challenges

The organic food-processing sector is on solid ground in Canada, according to a broad-based report showing most firms experiencing year-over-year growth in excess of 10 per cent. But that growth continues to create its own set of challenges, most significantly an ongoing shortage of raw ingredient supply. Sourcing ingredients remains this sector’s key challenge, says


Opinion: Attacks against GMOs? Why I take it personally

I’m a farmer who likes to scroll through Twitter. Not long ago, a tweet popped up from a Manitoba farmer criticizing a local cheese maker for pasting Non-GMO Project Verified labels on some products. It started a conversation that I’ve seen a hundred times online: Should companies be able to market whatever and however they

Organic food industry feels shortchanged by government

One industry association says conventional food gets plenty of support on standards and inspections

Canada’s organic sector says it’s not getting its due. Canada is the fifth-largest organic market in the world as well as leading exporter of several organic commodities but gets little assistance from government, says Tia Loftsgard, executive director of Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA). “Canada’s organic sector should be positioning itself as a world leader,”