Einar Franson plans to give away more than two dozen of his 1:12 model grain elevators. | Mike Sturk photo

Replicas of grain elevators help preserve prairie history

Each miniature prairie sentinel took 150 to 200 hours to build, some from photographs and others from blueprints

CAMROSE, Alta. — Twenty-five prairie grain elevators will be permanently remembered, thanks to Einar Franson. Each of the scale model elevators Franson built over the past 15 years holds a memory for the 91-year-old, former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool grain buyer. However, a move from his acreage north of High River into Calgary means the elevators […] Read more

Cheryl Wozny fills the nesting boxes with straw while Angela Balgobin and her children, Annabelle and Nathaniel, look on. | Mary MacArthur photo

Want a chicken? Why not kick its tires first

Alberta company rents laying hens for the summer to those interested in backyard chickens but would like a trial run first

RED DEER — Scared of a commitment to chickens? In Alberta, you can now rent a chicken and see if you’re ready for full-time chicken ownership. Angela Balgobin and her family are renting chickens for the summer to see if they want chickens full-time. “It was as easy as ordering a pizza,” said Balgobin. She […] Read more

Betty Ann, Jentre and Francois Brault of Wetaskiwin, Alta., stand in front of their gift shop home. The house was built in 1914 and was where Betty Ann was raised and where she and Francois lived when they were first married. | Mary MacArthur photo

Vegetable farmers share passion for rocks

On the Farm: A seven-acre market garden business grew out of excess produce the family grew in their home garden

WETASKIWIN, Alta. — The directions to Franbeta Farms are clear. It’s the place with the rocks and trees. Massive rocks the size of vehicles act as sentries along the driveway. Rows of towering pine and spruce line the curved driveway directing traffic into the farm. In the yard, hundreds of rocks create boundaries around the […] Read more

Older members of Hutterite colonies often do the lighter chores like mowing grass, watering trees, gardening and cleaning. For others, it is a time to travel and visit friends and relatives. | Mary MacArthur photo

Long-time colony boss finds time to retire

Mike Tschetter of the Camrose Colony has retired from his job as farm boss but not from helping out where he’s needed

CAMROSE, Alta. — After 48 years as farm manager, Mike Tschetter has retired, sort of. While Tschetter is no longer making the daily farm decisions on the Camrose Hutterite Colony he still works at the jobs he likes. “I do what I like to do and I like what I do,” said Tschetter, 79. Like […] Read more

Andreas Grueneberg sorts greens on the family’s farm near Edmonton. When the Gruenebergs listed their operation for sale, they focused on young people who could afford a small farm with big returns. | Supplied photo

Map helps new producers find farms

Young Agrarians develops a guide to connect young and new farmers with producers who want to sell or rent their land

Mary Ellen Grueneberg said the family’s 10 acres beside the Edmonton International Airport gave them a good income as they raised food and produce for farmers markets and high-end restaurants. When they listed their farm for sale, they directed their focus toward young people who could afford the small farm that provided big returns. “This […] Read more

Lisa Jans’s tulips are just poking out of the ground on her flower operation near New Norway, Alta. | Mary MacArthur photo

Alberta flower producer thinks like a farmer

On the Farm: Lisa Jans chooses her varieties based on a number of traits, including stem strength and length of stem

NEW NORWAY, Alta. — Lisa Jans is combining her agronomy skills and the global pandemic, which disrupted the flower market, to become a flower farmer. “I love flowers,” said Jans from her central Alberta farm. Each year, her flower beds grew larger, with an equally bigger workload and more weeds to deal with. Then she […] Read more

Tracey Feist said it took about 15 years of talking, planning and adjusting for her father’s estate plan to settle in place, but when Gary Munro died last year, the established estate plan took one worry off his daughters. | Supplied photo

Farm estate planning needs a team

Lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, insurance specialists, estate planners and mediators can all help create a plan

It takes a community to raise a child and it takes a team to build an estate plan. Lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, insurance specialists, estate planners and mediators may all come into the mix to create a farm estate plan. Throw in farming children and non-farming children and mix in a divorce and post-farming income […] Read more

Rob and Kathryn Hettler pose for a photo with the Sexton family. | Supplied photo

Sale of B.C. farm took six years to complete

Relationship building was key as the older and younger generations took gradual steps toward passing on the farm

When Dan Sexton started work at a fruit and vegetable farm in southern British Columbia, he hoped he would like farming. Six years later, on March 31, Dan Sexton and his wife, Kat, purchased Pilgrims’ Produce, an organic farm outside Armstrong and know they love to farm. It took those six years of learning, discovery, […] Read more

Landowners who use the services of a farm management company often remember visiting their grandparents on the family farm and still have a strong connection to it and its memories, but memories can’t run a farm. | Getty Images

Management firms keep farms in the family

Families who have inherited land but don’t know anything about farming find it safer to put the professionals in charge

CAMROSE, Alta. — Brenda Sharp knows she knows nothing about farming. But the Texas resident knows she wants to keep the land she inherited in Saskatchewan, Nebraska and Kansas, as a way of staying connected to her family. For about 50 years, Sharp and her family have used farm management companies to manage the farms […] Read more

Mason, left, and Keifer McLaughlan’s family from Mannville, Alta., held a mock 4-H show recently to prepare them for when they can get into the ring again. Last year they weren’t able to show their steers in front of a judge because the Vermilion and area 4-H beef club had to cancel its spring show due to the pandemic. | Robin Wheat photo

4-H members carry on despite COVID

Pandemic restrictions have kept many members apart but have also prompted them to hone new communications skills

Members of 4-H can add resilience to their resumes after a second year of holding activities online, including shows, public speaking and achievement days. Joe Mangin, leader of the Minitonas Beef club said their Manitoba club met in person once in the past 18 months. Instead, the club communicated and met through group chats, email […] Read more