It is a difficult word to define that changes depending on the commodity, but an important one for consumers and international standards. The Canadian AgriFood Sustainability Initiative (CASI) will look to bring those definitions together under one umbrella. | File photo

Project to define ‘sustainable’

The oft-used phrase of “sustainability” may be getting some clarity in Canadian agriculture. At the end of February, the Canadian AgriFood Sustainability Initiative (CASI) was launched in partnership with the federal government, which is pitching in $560,000 over three years. “It’s a platform to bring together sustainability initiatives to align with international sustainability standards in […] Read more

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in glyphosate use.  |  File photo

More sustainability scrutiny called new reality

Grain buyers and end users are increasingly asking producers for details about their production practices on the farm

BANFF, Alta. — Jason Lenz’s farm was one of the first in Alberta to discover wild oats resistant to Avadex. It was an eye-opening experience and the impetus to keep better records of all farm activities, he said during a sustainability discussion at the Prairie Cereals summit held in Banff Dec. 11-12. “There has been […] Read more

J.P. and Marlene Monvoisin of Gravelbourg, Sask., are certified sustainable beef producers. They hung their sign at their bull display during Canadian Western Agribition to promote their commitment to the program of sustainability.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Cattle producers opt for sustainability certification

Grocery and restaurant chains make a financial commitment to encourage beef producers to become certified

Becoming certified beef producers reaffirmed the Monvoisin family’s commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement. JP and Marlene Monvoisin run a herd of about 450 purebred and commercial Angus cows near Gravelbourg, Sask. They were strong believers in the Verified Beef Production Plus program, which covers food safety and quality, environmental care, animal welfare and biosecurity. […] Read more


By maximizing forage yield through grazing management, producers get more pounds of beef per acre.  |  File photo

Grazing management pays off

Alberta cattle producer Sean McGrath has been employing intensive grazing methods for more than 20 years. Steve Kenyon has been doing it just about as long, and Alberta Agriculture grazing expert Grant Lastiwka has been studying it. All of which is to say that high-intensity grazing is sustainable. If you do it right. “From an […] Read more

This aerial shot shows Big Marble Farms, soon to be 10 acres larger. Plants are set up to grow on a high wire system in the greenhouse.  |  photo courtesy Chasing Autumn Photography

Greenhouse strives to be responsible planetary tenant

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword at Big Marble Farms. The largest indoor vegetable production greenhouse in Alberta practices sustainability at every stage, operating year-round to supply cucumbers and tomatoes. Beginning as a four-acre farm 10 years ago, subsequent small expansions followed by a 20-acre addition in 2016 and another 10 acres […] Read more


What we eat and how we produce it contributes to climate change: expert

The global food system is the largest employer in the world. It engages thousands of people and enterprises in agriculture, and millions are employed in processing, transportation, distribution, marketing, and sales. But questions about food industry sustainability recently asked at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, which is headquartered in Cali, Colombia, led to a […] Read more

Intercropping is a popular concept among farmers these days, although not many do it on any sort of large scale. There are still many variables, wrinkles and complexities to be worked out before the system will feel comfortable to the average farmer. | File photo

Sustainability finding home in mainstream agriculture

It’s pretty easy to scoff at the term “sustainable” when it’s bandied about by urban hippies. It’s harder to laugh off when hardcore agronomic and marketing professionals embrace the terms. And in finding ways for commercial farmers to embrace both profitability and sustainability, professionals such as Lana Shaw and Brenda Tjaden are also discovering a […] Read more

At up to 400 horsepower, the GridCON from John Deere is a few cable lengths closer to reality in the field. Deere’s autonomous platform relies on plenty of extension cord, not unlike some mining equipment, to get it back and forth in the field.  |  John Deere photo

Are we ready for electric tractors?

Car and truck manufacturers are falling off the fossil fuel bandwagon in droves and jumping on the electric train. Now add tractors to that list. Every month, another e-tractor announcement comes across our desks. Environmental factors drive this trend, along with energy efficiency, lower maintenance, lower noise level and motor longevity. There are more e-tractors […] Read more


Global warming could be boon for prairie crops

Canada is one of the few regions of the world where crop yields will benefit from global warming, according to a recently published Agriculture Canada research paper. The benefits will be particularly pronounced for prairie crops like canola and wheat versus Ontario corn. Yields were simulated by three crop modelling systems using 20 global climate […] Read more

Sustainable production of 52 bushels per acre of canola will require an increase in efficiency in just a few years to meet the Canola Council of Canada’s 2025 production goals.  |  File photo

Sustainability key to new canola targets

Do you think an average bushel of canola can be produced with 18 percent less fuel and 40 percent less land? Can canola production sequester an extra five million tonnes per year of Canada’s carbon emissions? Can canola production protect rather than harm 2,000 species of beneficial insects? Can 90 percent of canola acres be […] Read more