A British Columbia man wants to learn more about the origins of a toy he received as a gift in Saskatchewan in the 1940s. | Supplied photo

Toy tractor mystery prompts search

A British Columbia man wants to learn more about the origins of a toy he received as a gift in Saskatchewan in the 1940s

CAMROSE, Alta. — Reg Alspach has a toy story he wants to bring to life. Growing up in Regina, Alspach often visited his farming relatives in the Edgeley, Qu’Appelle and Indian Head areas of Saskatchewan and he learned quickly that his grandfather, Bill Kinvig, was a Massey Harris man. In about 1948, the young boy […] Read more

The old Alberta Wheat Pool elevator in Spruce Grove was saved from the wrecking ball in 1995 when it was bought by the local agricultural society. It recently received a Provincial Historic Resource designation and has been saved once again. The resource designation means any changes to the elevator must receive government approval.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Alta. elevator receives historical designation

The elevator is also home to municipal archives, a farmers market, community garden and large machinery and farm tool display

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — The local agriculture society saved Spruce Grove’s elevator from the wrecking ball in 1995. Earlier this month, the provincial government gave it an extra layer of protection with a Provincial Historic Resource designation. The former Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevator, built in 1958, was decommissioned in 1995 and was ready to […] Read more

Khalil Ahmed, manager of the Battle River Research Group, looks at the compaction measurement of the soil, just one of the measurements used to measure soil health. This field required 300 p.s.i. to push the rod eight inches below the surface.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Project digs deep to understand soil health

Research and forage associations will follow specific protocols to take samples from 20 locations a year for five years

CAMROSE, Alta. — A small laboratory in central Alberta, cobbled together through donations and determination, may help farmers improve crop yields through soil samples. Yamily Zavala, soil health and crop management specialist with the Chinook Applied Research Association in Oyen, is leading a study to understand and improve soil health across Alberta. “Our goal is […] Read more


A bedroom built in the high loft area of the renovated barn looks down at Katie Hartfeil, Adam Turnbull and their daughter, Betty, in the main floor loft area.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Young family turns old barn into new home

The ambitious project required years of planning, designing, permits, cleaning and work on weekends between day jobs

ONOWAY, Alta. — If Katie Hartfeil and Adam Turnbull’s three children are ever asked the etiquette question, “were you raised in a barn,” they can truthfully answer, yes. For almost 10 years, the family transformed the eight-stall hip-roofed horse barn, built in 1928, on the family farm, into their home. “They were wandering around here […] Read more

Kerri Giesbrecht kneels beside a row of colourful chard in her U-pick garden near Bawlf, Alta.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

U-pick market garden focuses on education

On the Farm: Customers learn how to pick a cucumber and receive favourite recipes and tutorials in preserving food

Bawlf, Alta. — If children, parents and customers leave Lil Ryley Farms knowing a bit more about agriculture and food, that’s a win, says owner Kerri Giesbrecht. “We are about education,” Giesbrecht said about her family’s U-pick market garden, farm store and event farm. “When we made the move, we made it public about our […] Read more


About 150 people attended a recent Friends of Augustana event to bring awareness to the importance of the 110-year-old university to Camrose and rural Alberta. Many students from rural communities attend the university as a stepping stone to a larger university.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Supporters hold rally for Alta. campus

Advocates for the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus in Camrose worry about what funding pressures mean for school

CAMROSE, Alta. — Joelle Skinner met her husband at Augustana, found herself at Augustana and learned to understand rural communities at Augustana. “I think of Augustana as my love story,” said Skinner, during a Friends of Augustana rally across the road from the 110-year-old university. “Augustana has absolutely shaped who I am,” said Skinner, who […] Read more

The in-crop cultivator uses small cultivator shovels to reach weeds between the rows of crop.  |  Mary MacArthur photos

Chem-free weeding between rows

Austrian-made inter-row cultivator keeps the steel between the crop with camera guidance and hydraulic hitching

CAMROSE, Alta. — Cultivating barley in July is a farmer’s nightmare. Markus Reyerding has cultivated his barley once, harrowed it a couple times this year and hopes to cultivate some of the parts he missed once more. Reyerding has transitioned 520 acres of their roughly 7,000 acre farm to organic and the interrow cultivator and […] Read more

Bob Machum of Camrose, a problem wildlife specialista nd retired fish and wildlife officer  sets five beaver traps on land near Camrose, Alta.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Burgeoning beavers build bulky barricades

CAMROSE, Alta. — Kevin MacDonald wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for the Canadian icon featured on the real nickel. This year, beavers have plugged culverts and flooded roads, fields and farmyards. “This year, it’s bonkers,” said MacDonald, manager of Camrose County’s Agricultural Service Board. The county has ripped apart roads to let the water drain […] Read more


E: The biodegradable film protects the crop and gives it the added heat units and growing degree days it needs to improve performance for the farm.  The corn thrives under the plastic early in the season, creating a greenhouse that encourages early season growth.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Poly pockets for corn

CAMROSE, Alta. — The old adage that corn should be waist high by the fourth of July may be reality in the United States Midwest, but in central Alberta it’s just a saying. Except at Vermeer’s Dairy in Camrose where much of the 600 acres of corn seeded under a biodegradable film is growing quickly […] Read more

Rosa Wipf of Bawlf, Alta., holds one of the last remaining hanging plants in her greenhouse. Wipf said she sold twice as many plants this year as last year and will be completely out by the end of the month, two weeks sooner than last year.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Self-isolation helps clean out greenhouses

Operators in Alberta hope the increased interest in gardening will create a greater urban appreciation for agriculture

BAWLF, Alta. — The thought of being confined to home for the summer has turned Albertans into gardeners, racing to greenhouses and snapping up flowers and vegetables to fill the summer hours. Across Alberta greenhouse owners were taken by surprise at the intense interest. It’s Rosa Wipf’s seventh year as a greenhouse owner and her […] Read more