Hear stories of transition from fellow farmers who have shifted from conventional to organic grain farming. Learn about their successes, challenges and experiences.
A LIFELONG FARMER TRANSITIONS TO ORGANIC
Find out why this farmer believes that our community and neighbours are key to a successful transition to organic production.
PLANNING THE TRANSITION
Learn how this Saskatchewan farmer managed his transition to organics after a career in the oil patch.
EXPERIENCED ORGANIC FARMER ENCOURAGES THINKING LONG-TERM
Learn insights on equipment, weeds and building soil fertility from over 30 years of organic experience.
Organic Wheat, Lentils in For Price Lull
Farmers growing organic wheat will likely have to accept the crop’s best prices are behind it, at least for the near future.
Breaking Down the Basics of Organic Compost in Windrows
Organic producers got some expert advice on composting during a July 21 field tour near Boissevain.
Northern Alberta Organic Farmers Get Help
A new organic program in northern Alberta hopes to help solve farmers’ woes when it comes to growing in the region. The recently launched Mackenize County Organic Success Program will see the hiring of an agronomist to help with issues relating to weeds, soil fertility, crop rotations, finances and marketing.
Cover Crop Grazing 101: Get Your Plan Together
Grazing and cover crops can fast track fields to measurable higher levels of soil health! And there's no better way to make cover crops pay than to include grazing with them. This article provides some top notch basic information, especially for dryland areas.
Canadian Organic Growers Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards
The standards can be challenging to read, but understanding them is essential to organic integrity. With partial funding from the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative, Canadian Organic Growers have published a standards guidance document called "COG's Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards".
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative June Teleconference Call
In 2017, the Organic Value Chain Roundtable consulted Canadian national and provincial organic associations to learn more about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the sector. Marie-Eve Levert discussed the results of this SWOT analysis and its implications for the organic industry.
Farmers Drop Organic Labels Over Certification Process, Access To Markets, Study Says
Midwestern fruit and vegetable farmers are more likely than their counterparts in other regions to give up federal organic certification, according to a Purdue University study.
2016 Organic Agriculture In The Prairies Report
Organic certification bodies across Canada provided 2016 operation and acreage data to the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), who in turn compiled, analyzed, and produced the report, with support and insights from POGI and sector experts.
Cash Cropping with Intercrops
Recorded at Manitoba Ag Days in January, 2018, Colin Rosengren, a Producer in Midale, SK shares his story "Cash Cropping with Intercrops"
Organic Farming Growing in Manitoba
A spike in organic farm acreage in Manitoba is a sign the industry is maturing and strengthening, the Manitoba Organic Alliance says.
Organic Acres Up, Farmer Numbers Stable
Manitoba and Saskatchewan couldn’t match Alberta’s explosion of new organic producers in 2016, but local experts say their gains have been in acres, not farms.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative May Teleconference Call
On the May teleconference call, Jill Guerra, Research & Special Projects Coordinator at the Canada Organic Trade Association presented on Organic Agriculture in the Prairies - 2016 Data Report. Click here to download the presentation and listen to the audio!
New Organic Oat Varieties in the Pipeline
Prairie organic growers can for the first time this spring grow a registered variety of oats that has been developed under organic management.
Food Handling on the Farm
Farm-to-fork eating is fashionable among consumers, but it puts more pressure on those producing and handling crops to keep contaminants out of the food system, the agronomy manager for Fresh Hemp Foods says.
Organic Wheat Management Supports Bee Communities
A recent study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment investigated the effects of organic vs. conventional farming in large- and small-scale agriculture on wild bee communities and the flowers that they rely on. Click here to read more on the findings of the study.
Ontario Organic Grain Buyer Homestead Closing
One of Ontario’s leading organic retailers and buyers of organic grains will shut its doors Friday. Homestead Organics, founded and still run by organic driving force Tom Manley, will be sold off, likely in parts.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative April Teleconference: Organic Science Cluster Call – Part II
The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI) partnered with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) to deliver two teleconferences to share research results from the Organic Science Cluster II program. Click here to download and listen to the presentations!
Looking Ahead to Organic Lentil Markets in 2018
There’s an old adage in farming: half of the trick to success in grain marketing is planting the right crop in the first place. To that end, we can look at new-crop production contracting opportunities to guide seeding decisions. Unfortunately for organic growers, these are less common than in the conventional grain business.
Organic Science Cluster Call – Part I
The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI) partnered with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) to deliver two teleconferences to share research results from the Organic Science Cluster II program. Click here to download and listen to the presentations! Don't miss the next call on April 11th.
40,000 Acre Farm Goes Organic
High price of crop inputs drives decision to convert to organic production.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative March Teleconference Call
On the March teleconference call, Leslie Johnson, Merchandiser at Pipeline Foods presented on challenges and opportunities in the Prairie Organic Grain Supply Chain. Click here to listen to the presentation and view the PowerPoint!
Organic Grain Marketing 101: Part 3 – Logistics
The logistics costs involved in getting organic grain from farms to markets are astronomical. Conventional grain crops grown in Western Canada can usually be trucked to an elevator within an hour of the farm. Organic crops can easily spend eight to 12 hours in a truck before they find a market.
Organic Grain Marketing 101: Part 1 – Liquidity
The substance of grain marketing is the same for all farmers — to generate income. The quality of the decision, to sell today or to wait, ends up having a big impact on the farm’s revenue stream, profitability, future potential, and the owners’ quality of life.
Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm Conference Videos
The Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm Conference in Brandon is now history — but not quite. They are posting some of the video presentations to their YouTube channel. Check them out here!
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative February Teleconference Call
On the February teleconference call, Colin Rosengren, Owner-Operator of Rosengren Farms Inc. presented a conventional farmer's perspective on intercropping. Click here to listen to the presentation and view the Dr. Martin Entz's PowerPoint on the science behind intercropping!
It’s Not Your Grandparents’ Farm
Ag Days talk highlights advancements being made to support modern organic farmers.
Lower Costs, Higher Prices for Organic Producers
Lower costs and higher prices make organic producers more economically resilient according to provincial figures.
Grain Apprenticeship Opportunities on the Prairies Abound
Organic grain farm apprenticeships are one model of supporting new and aspiring farmers who may or may not have grown up on, or worked on farms before, but who want to join the growing number of land stewards and managers of organic and regenerative farms.
New Study Shows Soil on Organic Farms Store Larger Amounts of Carbon
A large U.S. field study looks at how organic farming stores away carbon in the soil and out of the atmosphere.
Saskatchewan Researcher Calls on Farmers to Try Intercropping
A Saskatchewan researcher is calling on producers to try a new farming strategy called intercropping.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative January Teleconference Call
On the January teleconference call, Dr. Tracy Misiewicz, Associate Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center presented on the role of organic farming in climate change mitigation. Click here to listen to the presentation and view the PowerPoint!
Canada’s Organic Sector Books Better-Than-Expected Year
Despite a dry summer across most of Western Canada, organic producers are celebrating a good year. However, weather worries are beginning to mount ahead of the 2018 campaign.
Increase Seeding Rate to Control Weeds in Organic Flax
A University of Saskatchewan study found that was the most effective tool.
Perennial Grain Serves up Rich Flavour, With a Side of Sustainability
The first loaves of bread made from Kernza have been gobbled up in Manitoba.
Is There Enough Room in the Industry for More Organic Producers?
Recently, the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative had the opportunity to ask grain buyers and brokers, certification bodies, as well as a number of organic producers, their opinions on the current organic sector. Listen to the response here!
Manitoba Organic Alliance Names Agronomist
Katherine Stanley will take on the term position over the next year.
Organic Industry Must Invest in Infrastructure
It’s time for the organic and non-GMO industry to invest in infrastructure to straighten the current “crooked” supply chain, said Eric Jackson, chief executive officer of Pipeline Foods.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative November Teleconference Call
On the November teleconference call, Elizabeth Crawford of FoodNavigator-USA presented an update on the organic plant-protein market. Click here to listen to the presentation and view the PowerPoint!
Good Quality Harvest Now Looking for a Market
Another harvest is in the books across most of Western Canada and the winter marketing season is just getting underway.
New Report Highlights Organic Acres on Prairies
There are 1.4 million certified acres and 1,499 organic operations across the three Prairie provinces.
Plant Breeding: Selecting for Success
Participatory Plant Breeding program allows farmers to select their ideal varieties.
Can Organic No Till Work in the Field?
Environmental benefit is part of organic market value, but organic weed management usually means tillage, commonly considered a black mark for soil health. Is there a middle ground?
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative October Teleconference Call
On the October teleconference call, Jill Guerra of the Canada Organic Trade Association presented on the 2015 Data Report: "Organic Agriculture in the Prairies". Click here to listen to the audio and download her presentation!
Organic Grain Firm Picks up Elevator Near Border
A Minneapolis startup in the organic grain business has bought a northwestern North Dakota elevator that further expands its southern Prairie catchment.
OFRF Now Accepting Research Proposals
OFRF is pleased to release their Request for Proposals for 2018 research grants. In particular, OFRF encourages farmers, ranchers, graduate students, early career researchers, veterans, and Extension personnel to consider applying for funding.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative September Teleconference Call
On the September teleconference call, Dr. Martin Entz introduced the Canadian Prairie Agroecosystem Resiliency Network and its underlying principles, goals, and missions. Martin encouraged industry to support the farmers they work with and buy from. Click here to listen to the call!
SaskOrganics Publishes ‘Saskatchewan Organic Production Research Priorities 2017’ Report
In the fall of 2016, SaskOrganics conducted a survey to determine the research priorities of organic farmers in Saskatchewan for organic production. This report summarizes the results of the survey.
Helping Farmers Meet Growing Demand for Organics
The agriculture and agri-food sector is a key contributor to the Canadian economy. The Government of Canada is committed to working with the agricultural industry in developing new risk management assessments and tools that help farmers manage risk.
Hail Damage Kept in Check in August
All hail the relative absence of hail on the Prairies. That could well be the celebratory cry for farmers with the number of damaging hailstorms tracking below the five-year average, according to the Canadian Crop Hail Association.
Keeping a Pulse on the Soil
According to soil scientist Frank Larney, crop residue anchors the soil against wind and water erosion. Avoiding bare soils is one part of a soil conservation package he and his research team demonstrate in a 12-year experiment growing pulses in southern Alberta, Canada.
The Making of a Green Manure Mixture
For organic grain farmers without livestock such as Carnegie Farms north of Brandon, green manure has become a mainstay for nutrient management.
New Organic Grain Processor Under Construction in Montana
Organic Alberta Members Montana Specialty Mills, are building a new $20 million, 20-acre processing center in Great Falls that will feature grain processing equipment dedicated to making non-bioengineered/non-GMO products and processing organic oilseeds.
Organic Crop Sales Chug Along, Although Dryness is an Issue
Organic crops now in the ground in Western Canada look decent, outside of the worst-hit areas where dry conditions will likely cut into yields.
Heritage and Ancient Grain Project Feeds a Growing Demand
After a century of markets dominated by a few types of wheat and white flour, ancient and heritage wheat varieties are making a comeback.
Increase Crop Diversity, Reduce Risk by Intercropping: Overyielding
Natural systems are diverse and include a variety of plants, animals, microbes and fungi. This diversity is considered a key to their resilience and stability. Intercrops are one way to bring some of this diversity to agro-ecosystem structures, accessing different portions of the soil volume.
Eyes on Crops in Western Canada’s Organic Market
Western Canada’s organic crops are reaching a critical phase in the growing cycle, and despite trouble in areas of the Prairies, carryover from last year is keeping a lid on certain markets.
Organic Agriculture in the Prairies: 2015 Statistics
The Prairie organic report details organic operations including primary producers and processors/handlers, organic acreage and crop types, and province-specific trends and statistics.
Growing and Dehulling the Ancient Grains Einkorn, Emmer and Spelt
The ancient hulled wheats spelt, emmer, and einkorn are sought by consumers and chefs alike for their distinct flavor, nutritional properties, and the intrigue of eating a meal that has sustained humans since ancient times. Learn more about growing and dehulling these ancient gains!
Organic Management in the Prairie Provinces
Growing organic grain takes lots of planning. Besides the careful design of crop rotations, thinking ahead may mean predicting problems like nutrient deficiencies not just in the coming season, but also one or more years down the road. Monitoring is also critical. This article focuses on organic management of industrial hemp and other crops in the Prairie Provinces of Canada.
Proper Rotations Require Careful Crop Management
A sound rotation is the single most effective means of providing higher and more stable yields, soil benefits such as fertility and improved weed, pest and disease management.
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Contributes $2-Million to Canadian Seed Biodiversity
USC Canada is pleased to announce a generous $2-million donation from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation in support of the most comprehensive nation-wide seed biodiversity program: The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.
Tell COG About Your Experience Transitioning to Organic Production
Calling all farmers! Canadian Organic Growers is looking to understand the risks and rewards of transitioning to organic production. Tell them your story.
Organic Farming Gaining Street Cred
"Organic agriculture is now much more mainstream, with strong demand and potential" says Mark Gimby, who has worked in the organic industry for 40 years.
Weeds are a few of my Favourite Things
Weeds will always be with us. They are a natural part of the agro-ecosystem.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative May Teleconference Call
Stuart McMillan provides an analysis of organic grain market prices and their influences.
Organic Grain Prices
Knowing price trends over the years will help you to plan effective crop rotations, and give you context to make decisions, market your products successfully, and maximize profits for your farming business.
Need a Nitrogen Fix? Consider Fababeans for Your Next Crop
Organic farmers who are looking for the biggest nitrogen gain from adding a pulse to their rotation might want to consider fababeans.
Nutrient Density Comparison
The Farming Systems Trial at Rodale Institute conducted a study to determine and compare the nutritive quality of grains grown conventionally and organically.
Heart and Grain from National Young Farmers Coalition
While all farmers face challenges, the high start-up costs associated with grain farming can make it an especially difficult field to enter for new and young farmers.
Why Organic Wheat Escaped Fusarium Last Year
Researchers say practices such as proper varieties and rotations are just as important as fungicides in disease control.
Kamut Makes a Comeback
A Montana farmer dedicated decades to khorasan wheat, and it’s finally taking off.
COG’s Third Edition of the Organic Field Crop Handbook Set Now Available!
The Organic Field Crop Handbook - 3rd Edition, provides a road map to field crop producers who aspire to improve the environmental sustainability and profitability of their farming operations.
New Resource: Green Manure Tool Kit
A reliable and effective green manure program is essential for the success of an organic farm. This Tool Kit is a practical guide that will help producers to select the best green manure for their farm conditions. The right green manure with the right management will build soil fertility, control weeds, and improve crop yield.
Farm Credit Canada Field Management Software Discount
Prairie Organic Farmers receive an exclusive 40% discount! Record, organize, and analyze your organic field records for better results. Enter all your details from planting to harvest.
Prairie Organic Grain Initiative Monthly Teleconference Calls
Join us on the second Wednesday of every month to hear from and speak with local farmers, experts, and researchers of the industry.
Intercropping: Increasing Crop Diversity
Explore intercropping to find synergies, or ways that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Rotations: Designing a System That Works for You
Developing an optimal rotation plan involves two main sets of decisions, which crops to grow, and in which order to grow them.
Living With Weeds: Putting Weeds Into an Ecological Context
Yes, there are weeds on organic farms. But hey, there are weeds on non-organic farms too. Learn how to approach weed management.
From Harvest to Sale: Maintaining Food Quality in Storage
Maintaining that quality after harvest is the key to successful marketing, to pleasing customers and to gaining top dollar for top quality.
Grain Quality: From Producer to Consumer
Find out how you can ensure the quality of your grains.
Consider Time When Planting Green Manure Mixtures
Green manure mixtures are where it all begins when it comes to organic production.
Weeds: The First Emergence After Disturbance
Weeds can tell you a lot about soil life. Learn how from Joanna and Sam.
Strategies for Successful & Sustainable Weed Management
Listen to Katherine Stanley and Scott Shiels discuss the best ways to manage weeds.
10 Things I Learned In Our First Year Farming
FROM A FARMER
by Keely Wohlgemuth of The Z Spread Farm, Organic Grain farmer at Wanham, Alberta
Do you Have a Nutrient Management Plan for Your Farm?
Know your current whole farm nutrient status and needs - Participate in an on-Farm Nutrient Management Consultation Program for organic farmers.
Get Maximum Benefit from Green Manures
Learn how Green Manures can benefit your farm and what you can do to get the maximum benefit.
Growing Organics on the Prairies
Canadian Organic Trade Associations publishes new data on organic production on the prairies.