GFM Network News


Risk of human spread of H5N8 bird flu deemed low

Seven people infected but asymptomatic, WHO says

Geneva | Reuters — The risk of human-to-human spread of the H5N8 strain of bird flu appears low after it was identified for the first time worldwide in farm workers in Russia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. A separate influenza strain, H1N1, that emerged from pigs and spread rapidly worldwide among humans […] Read more

U.S. Senate confirms Vilsack as Biden’s ag secretary

Pandemic leaves USDA 'a lot of work to do'

Reuters — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Tom Vilsack to head the Department of Agriculture, returning the former Iowa governor to the job he held under ex-President Barack Obama. The 100-member Senate approved Vilsack 92-7. He needed a simple majority in the Democratic-controlled chamber to be confirmed. As secretary of the sprawling department, Vilsack […] Read more


Canada hails new WTO chief

Trade body names first African, and first female, DG

Canada is lending its support to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) choice for its new director general. Ngorzi Okonjo-Iweala was chosen Feb. 15 by WTO members as the international trade body’s new head, making her the first woman and the first African to serve in the role. Mary Ng, Canada’s minister of small business, export […] Read more

Budget could include new BRM program, ag labour plan

Proposal for 'AgriResilience' program goes to Freeland

A new pre-budget report from the House of Commons’ finance committee is recommending several measures directly related to agriculture — including sought-after tweaks to AgriStability and creation of an entirely new business risk management program. The multipartisan committee heard testimony and received submissions from more than 800 groups and individuals. Mostly-virtual meetings took place in […] Read more


Advisory council named to steer national Food Policy

Development of Canada’s Food Policy is taking a major step forward with the naming Friday of a new advisory council featuring industry, academic and government members tasked with guiding the policy. Public consultations on a “Food Policy for Canada” started in 2017, leading to the release of a 2018 report from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada […] Read more

Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala makes history as new head of WTO

Geneva-based body leaderless for six months; Trump paralyzed some of WTO's functions

Geneva/Washington | Reuters — Three months after the Trump administration rejected her, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala received unanimous backing on Monday to become the first woman and first African director-general of the World Trade Organization. A self-declared “doer” with a track record of taking on seemingly intractable problems, Okonjo-Iweala will have her work […] Read more


Foreign workers to lose some travel exemptions in March

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) travelling to Canada won’t need to quarantine in a government-supervised hotel when they get here – for now — but by mid-March, Ottawa will put more stringent measures in place. Starting Feb. 22, non-essential travellers and essential workers arriving in Canada will be tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival. Non-essential travellers […] Read more

CFA seeks continued ag support in next federal budget

Federation also presses for Buy Canadian campaign, processing support

Federal budget consultations are underway, with agricultural groups lobbying the government to support the industry further in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Jan. 25 launched pre-budget consultations and since then, her schedule has involved several meetings with stakeholders. “We want to hear ideas from Canadians, from all walks of […] Read more


It’s unlikely that President Joe Biden will push trade as hard as former President Donald Trump.

Dittmer: U.S. political outlook for 2021

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Government bureaucrats and politicians tend to interfere with our lives when it is not necessary, harming our livelihoods, and then refuse to get involved when we need them, to defend our rights, uphold the law or make hard decisions. A long held conservative principle is that the government closest to the people governs best, e.g. […] Read more