Brenda Bohmer of Bawlf, Alta., stands in a newly seeded perennial strip between an existing wetland and her grain field. The plan is to let the wetland refill and then plant trees around the wetlands.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Farm puts out welcome mat for trees

An Alberta producer has taken 20 acres out of production, filling the wetlands with water and planting 3,100 trees

BAWLF, Alta. — Brenda Bohmer’s farm looks like hundreds of others on the Prairies. A canola field lines the long driveway. Grass is neatly mowed near the row of grain bins. Trucks and swathers are washed, serviced and ready. Old wagon wheels and rustic signs lean again wooden buildings as decoration and as a nod […] Read more

High energy costs, staff shortages, labour costs and imported products from the United States and other provinces help create a stressful business environment for the greenhouse industry.  |  File photo

Alberta greenhouse closure sign of a tough business

For gardeners, the notice on the Central Alberta Greenhouse’s Facebook page was distressing. After 85 years, the greenhouse was closing its doors. “We regretfully have to inform you of the closure of Central Alberta Greenhouses. Effective: Aug. 6, 2019, our doors will officially be closed.” Since 1931, the third-generation greenhouse had supplied gardeners, florists and […] Read more

Tracey Stott of Olds, Alta., races her team across the finish line during the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association races in Bashaw, Alta.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

More women flock to the track in Alberta

Sixteen of the 79 drivers in the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association this year are women

BASHAW, Alta., — In 1992 Tracey Stott was the youngest woman to drive a chuck wagon in Alberta’s racing circuit. From her seat in the wagon 27 years later she sees more women taking the reins and racing around the track. This year, 16 of the 79 Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association’s drivers are […] Read more

Seed grower says all wheatgrasses are in short supply, especially northern and western varieties. | AAFC photo

Find forage seed supply early, expect to pay more

Seed grower says acres are down for almost all forage and grass seeds, creating a supply shortage and sending prices up

LEDUC, Alta. — Strong cattle markets, a strong U.S. dollar, dry weather and dwindling forage acres have pushed grass and forage seed prices to some of the highest levels in years. Heather Kerschbaumer, president of Forage Seed Canada, said her family’s Golden Acre Seeds paid growers 11 cents a pound for sweet clover seed when […] Read more

Shannon Ruzicka with her children Madalynne, 11, Josh, 9 and Molly, 6, in front, and their milk cow. The family is six months into a quest of living off the land like their German ancestors when they came to Canada. They milk the cow once a day and turn the milk into cheese, butter and cream. | Mary MacArthur photo

Living life of ancestors gives insight into future

Surviving off the land has sparked panic from not knowing if the food will last, and satisfaction in learning how to make do with less

VIKING, Alta. — Are we as tough and resourceful as our pioneer ancestors? It’s a question farmers Danny and Shannon Ruzicka asked. After six months of eating like pioneers, they know they aren’t even close. “What sucks we are today,” said Shannon Ruzicka, whose family launched a yearlong quest of buying nothing, including food. Instead, […] Read more

Jordan Webber of Brownfield, Alta., says the 12 acre solar farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power 400 homes. | Mary MacArthur photo

VIDEO: Excitement heats up over electricity generating farm

BROWNFIELD, Alta. — Alberta’s first solar farm is set to be built and hooked to the power grid by the end of the year. The proposed 12-acre farm is expected to generate one to two megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400 homes, said Jordan Webber, Starland County’s economic development officer. “The people in the […] Read more

More grants, lower costs spark interest in solar

DELIA, Alta. — It took some arm-twisting to convince Bob Sargent to install solar panels on his farm. However, the central Alberta farmer now plans to triple the number of solar panels generating electricity on his farm. “I’m really happy. It has been really good for me,” said Sargent, who farms near Delia. Four years […] Read more

Alberta crop insurance changes include winterkill for alfalfa

Alberta has introduced several major changes to crop insurance coverage and made changes to premium rates. The annual insurance program has been changed to include winterkill as a designated peril for pedigreed alfalfa seed production. Coverage will be available for the year in which winterkill occurs. Winterkill has caused alfalfa seed producers serious economic loss. […] Read more

Meat horse prices increase

A second meat buyer for horses in Alberta is pushing the price of horses at the auction higher. Doug Verstraete, manager of Beaver Hill Auctions, said the price of loose horses averaged 55 to 60 cents a pound, but some prices reached as high as 70 cents per lb. “Just having another buyer alone helps […] Read more

Transition to organic production takes planning

OLDS, Alta. — Switching from conventional farming to organic doesn’t need to happen overnight, or in one year, or the entire farm, two farmers told an Organic Alberta conference. It took a few years, but Brian Luce’s central Alberta cattle farm, Lucends Ranch, is now certified organic. What began as a traditional mixed farm in […] Read more