Tracey Burke and Brian Odgaard have been raising  grass fed and finished Dexter cattle for a decade and plan to continue to do so well into their retirement years. They market through word of mouth and on social media.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alta. couple’s Dexter cattle feed people, pets

On the Farm: Tracey Burke and Brian Odgaard rent summer pasture and winter the herd on their 20-acre property

PINE LAKE, Alta. — When Tracey Burke says she doesn’t cheat on her cows, she’s referring to the fact that the only beef she eats is the 100 percent grass-raised, hormone-free Dexter beef that she and her husband Brian Odgaard raise at Ghost Pine Dexters. “And I don’t buy meat in grocery stores or order […] Read more

Life is a bowl of cherries for the Johnson family of Luke, left, Abi, Jennifer, Dwayne, Caleb and Josh.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Little Cherries on the Prairie keep life in the pits

On the Farm: Becoming orchardists was natural move for family, who say it’s always been in their blood to grow fruit


BENTLEY, Alta. — Becoming an orchardist was natural for Jennifer Johnson. “It’s always been in my blood to grow fruit,” she says. Johnson recalls happy times picking crisp apples from the tree in the backyard on her parent’s grain farm at Carbon, Alta. And she fondly recalls a vacation in British Columbia where the whole […] Read more

Kevin and Amy Leitch say they are trying to make their farm as sustainable as possible. | Barbara Duckworth photo

Alberta family strives to build sustainable farm

On the Farm: Amy and Kevin Leitch take an old-fashioned approach to their venture but also embrace renewable energy

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE, Alta. — Kevin and Amy Leitch take sustainability seriously on their west-central Alberta farm. Some of their practices are the old-fashioned approach of running a mixed farm and producing most of their own food, as well as adopting renewable energy technology. They have made their new house energy efficient and use solar […] Read more


Laurie Tonita trims the hoof of Zip, a 20-year-old appaloosa horse on an acreage near Saskatoon.  |  Sean Pratt photo

Former bull rider finds farrier career

On the Farm Laurie Tonita says 90 percent of success farrier is showing up on time and being friendly

SASKATOON — Laurie Tonita has a dust allergy to thank for a rewarding 34-year career as a farrier. Tonita moved to Saskatoon from his home town of Assiniboia, Sask., after graduating high school to take a cabinet-making course. After a year of working as a cabinet maker he discovered he was allergic to oak dust […] Read more

Don and Betty Schissel and their son, Gerald, farm at Besieker, Alta., where they grow wheat, barley and canola. The family has been in the region northeast of Calgary for about a century.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Alta. farm prepares for next generation

BEISEKER, Alta. — On a hot day in early August, the Schissel family set about preparing for this year’s harvest. Don and Betty Schissel, who were recently named a master farm family by their municipality of Rockyview County, have tilled and harvested their fields northeast of Calgary for about 100 years. It has been a […] Read more


Mike Kozlowski and Mackenzie Bouteiller, foreground, work on weed control in the garden. The weekly work schedule once harvest begins in late June andearly July is weeding on Mondays and Fridays and harvesting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. | Maria Johnson photo

Organic gardener cuts out the middleman

On the Farm Alberta producer’s journey to the field began with a simple question: ‘where do you get your food?’

RED DEER — An innocent question from a subsistence farmer in Kenya in the mid 2000s affected Mike Kozlowski in ways he never imagined. He spent months in the east African country through a Canada Millennium Foundation Scholarship project where he helped identify agricultural-related community needs. The question and the conversation that followed initiated serious […] Read more

Liam Gauthier and Megz Reynolds hang out in the family’s vegetable garden with their children, Thea, 4, and Rynn, 2.  |  William DeKay photo

When mountain meets prairie: a farm is born

On the Farm Megz Reynolds and Liam Gauthier grow crops, raise cattle and run a custom operator business

WHITE BEAR, Sask. — How does a snowboarder and rafter fall for a farmer and prairie way of life? “I ended up at a friend’s surprise birthday party in White Bear at the bar in the middle of harvest and Liam was late coming to the party. He got there at like 10:30 at night […] Read more

Gemma McNeill at Zaklan Heritage Farm checks lettuce ready for transplanting with a farm employee. The farm works with family members and has three employees for field and greenhouse work.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

B.C. couple keeps heritage farm thriving

Vegetable farm in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland grows produce in fields and greenhouses on eight acres of land

SURREY, B.C. — Hidden among the stylish cul de sacs in suburban Surrey, a thriving vegetable farm sits that has been in the Zaklan family for 90 years. For the last six years, Doug Zaklan and Gemma McNeill have been farming eight acres of land growing a variety of vegetables in fields and greenhouses within […] Read more


Gerry, left, Ray, Jill, Roger, Brice and Rodney Verwey are helping raise money for STARS.  |  Ed White photo

Family takes on project for air ambulance

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. — Sometimes modern technology helps farmers grow bigger and better crops. And sometimes it helps to give them away. “The guys were sitting in their tractors this spring and they got talking,” said Jill Verwey, who is married to one of the four Verwey brothers who farm together around the Portage […] Read more

Bill Boese is turning bush into new cropland on his farm near Fort Vermilion, Alta.  |  Jeremy Simes photo

Northern Alta. farmer breaks fresh ground

Optimism and opportunity have long been part of the Boese family, which started farming in northwestern Alta. in 1965

FORT VERMILION, Alta. — Bill Boese is clearing 600 acres of bush to make way for new cropland, an exciting venture that highlights his optimism for the future. “This doesn’t happen in very many places,” said Boese, on his farm near Fort Vermilion, Alta., which is located in one of the province’s most northern points. […] Read more