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

Dustin Bajer of Edmonton designed the sticker as a twist on the “I heart Canadian oil and gas” stickers.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Stickers support soil and grass

People are digging Dustin Bajer’s soil and grass stickers. What began as a play on words of the successful “I heart Canadian oil and gas” stickers, which supported the Canadian energy industry, has become a nod to Canadian food, forestry and agriculture. “Soil and grass is already something worth loving,’’ said Bajer of Edmonton. Bajer […] Read more

Addison and Reagan Ross of the Camrose 4-H Beef Club par ticipate in a Zoom meeting. Like other groups, 4-H clubs have learned to be creative in holding meetings and shows.  |  Mike Ross photo

4-H clubs meet online as activities continue

Calves will be sold through an online auction, and members will learn how to conduct meetings using social media apps

For 4-H members, their motto “learn to do by doing” may have to temporarily change to “learn to do by zooming.” With the suspension of Alberta 4-H activities until May 31, many 4-H clubs have met using the meeting app Zoom, and some clubs are planning online auctions of their calves instead of the traditional […] Read more

Murray Sange of Veteran, Alta., Justin Dorey of Vermilion, Alta., and Judy Van Haren of Lacombe, Alta., chat during a producer panel at the Bison Producer’s of Alberta meeting.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Bison producers share their years of experience

CAMROSE, Alta. — Bison producers got a chance March 12 to ask three of their peers about their operations during a question and answer session at the Bison Producers of Alberta’s annual meeting. Judy Van Haren of Lacombe, Alta., who farms with her husband, Erwin, and son, Roger, has raised bison for 25 years. She […] Read more

Bison producers on firm footing, despite lower prices

CAMROSE, Alta. — Despite softening prices, the bison industry is still a great industry, said producers during the Alberta Bison Producers convention and sale. “We’re coming down off historically high prices. It has affected prices all the way down to the calves,” said Steven Lunty, chair of the bison association. “Frankly, we priced ourselves out […] Read more