Trainee Experience: Louis Gosselin



Each year we make ag connections from around the world by hosting international trainees. We depend on trainees to seed and harvest our crop, but they also become part of our family. Louis was a great addition to our family and to our farm team. Last week he returned to France to continue his studies in agri-business. Although we were sad to see him go, we were happy that he gave us this seven-question interview before he left:

1.  Where is home for you (city/country)? 

 In the country, in Northern France.

2.  Why did you decide to do an agricultural exchange? 

 To learn English and to see a big agricultural country.

3.  What is the main differences you have noticed about farming in Canada/France? 

  Everything is bigger! (Fields and tractors)

4.  Favorite piece of equipment?  

 Swather

5.  Favorite on the farm job?  

 Driving the swather and the grain cart.

6.  Favorite French food that you missed the most on your exchange?  Favorite Canadian food you will miss when you are in France?

 French cheese!

The chicken burgers and the wraps - I can’t decide.

7. If you could work on, or own a farm anywhere in the world, where would that be & what type of farm/farm size?

In France, because I like my country, and it will be a medium sized dairy farm.

Thank you Louis!


If you are interested in working on our farm check out this video on the trainee experience and learn more about us . You can contact us directly or contact International Rural Exchange Canada to learn about the many other types of farm placements available in Canada.

Manitoba Harvest Progress

September has been a tough month for harvest in much of Manitoba, as frequent rains have given rise to moist ground conditions and therefore damp crops in swath and stem rot and breakage in standing grain. This year, the later seeding dates pushed back harvest dates and resulted in more acres remaining to harvest in September. Across the province, wheat, canola, oats, beans and soybeans are all significantly behind the three year harvest progress. Overall harvest progress is at 59% when the three year average is 70%.

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Canola sprouting in the pod

Harvest reports by region:

Manitoba North Dakota Minnesota

If you need to talk about your harvest, or any source of farm stress, please contact Manitoba Farm, Rural and Northern Support Services:

1-866-367-3276

live chat on their homepage

We continue to pray for favorable harvest weather to get as much of the crop off as possible. Wishing all farmers a continued safe harvest season.

France, Flax and Family

Farm families all over the world work together to raise crops and livestock of the highest quality in order to feed the world. Although there are many differences in climate, equipment and best practices, there are a few things that are universal. This past week, Vallotton Farms got to make an international connection personal in a really cool and powerful way; we got to host the parents of a current, and past, trainee. Just like us, they are a multi-generational farming operation, but unlike us, they produce, process and promote flax fiber. Decock Flax Scutching Mill

Flax fibre is strong and durable, yet soft to the touch, and is commonly known as linen in clothing. As natural fibers regain popularity, spinning equipment is being refined enough for linen to be used via machine knitting to produce linen knitwear. Flax fibre is also being used for industrial applications (insulation) and packing products.

In contrast, Canada’s main market for flax remains the seed, either whole or processed. By meeting flax growers from France we now have a better understanding of how flax use, and farming, differ. Global connections allow us to expand our thinking and learn about agricultural similarities and differences, which benefits us all.

Our 2019 Canadian  family with visitors  Frederick and Anne.

Our 2019 Canadian family with visitors Frederick and Anne.

Learn more about Flax: July 18 September 13

Kids say the darndest things


There are many definitions of what it means to learn. The one that really speaks to me is that once you have learned something you are never the same again - you think differently and you act differently. This week we will be focusing on planning to learn. Rather than letting the winter months roll by, we are challenging you to be intentional in your learning. We want to think and act differently by the time seeding rolls around, and we hope that you do to.

Learning is active and involves give-and-take, two way communication and an open mind. Some of the most fun farm conversations we have involve kids:

  • You don’t live on a farm because there aren’t any animals.

  • You are a farmer. But you are a girl.

  • How do plants eat?

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Volunteering with Agriculture In The Classroom - Manitoba has allowed us to connect with kids to share our ag story. Please consider joining us this March in grade 2-6 classrooms for Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM). You have a story to tell, and kids love to learn new things. And, the best part is that we learn from them too!

Register as a volunteer, or register your classroom for a visit.

The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.
— Albert Einstein

Manitoba Farm Women - Chrissy Van Damme

Under The Hill Farms is the potato division of a family-operated farm business located near Cypress River, MB.  Chrissy VanDamme is the farm’s agronomist and front line in data collection and aggregation. Technology is helping her move beyond collecting data to actually gathering information.

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What else does John Deere Operation Center do for UTHF?

  • Allows users to pre-load all of the equipment specifications, such as implement sizes, into the monitors

    • Lesson learned: load all information into all monitors just in case monitors need to be moved between pieces of equipment due to a breakdown or other unplanned issue

  • Allows the farm manager to see where each piece of equipment is working, as well as details like how long it has been operating and the fuel level

    • This allows a supervisor or mechanic to know exactly where the equipment is located

    • This can aid in loss-recovery

  • Allows users to check things as specific as the combine settings, and enter the monitor to make changes remotely

    • Troubleshooting can be tricky and two brains are often better than one

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How does a “big name” like John Deere Operation Center bring added value?

As Chrissy continues to gain familiarity with the capabilities of operation center, she cited some added value that comes with working with a company with a high level of industry saturation.

  • Other apps are designed to sync with JD Operations Center

    • Soil Test Pro

    • Farm Dog

  • Technical support is available locally, through the dealership network

  • Operations Center has a full staff dedicated to fielding operator suggestions and making improvements based on these suggestions from the field (literally)


As farming operations gain size and complexity, both in the number of employees and the diversity of crops, it is helpful to have a repository to collect information.  The next step is being able to take that information and turn it into informed decision making and action to positively impact the operation.

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Corn Plots at OTHF


Chrissy said that “she doesn't’ really like technology” but once she got started it was pretty fun to see all of the things that were at her fingertips!  Thanks to Chrissy and Under The Hill Farms for giving us a sneak peak into running the John Deere Operation Center in a complex farming operation.




Canada's Agriculture Day is February 13!

Canada's agriculture day is February 13, 2018.  To celebrate, we will spend this week highlighting some of the reasons that we love farming, how Canadian ag has grown and diversified and how Canadian ag impacts the world.  We love farming, farmers and farm life - and we hope it shows.  If you have questions about where your food comes from, how farmers care for the environment, how other jobs can support agriculture or about anything else you see on our site please comment below or email us at Karen@farmfemmes.com or Teresa@farmfemmes.com.

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Global Big Data Conference: Precision Ag

It's presentation day @ the Global Big Data Conference on Artificial Intelligence!  One of my favorite videos is today's because I just read this fun stat in the January, 2018 issue of Canola Digest that only 15% of farmers are using precision agriculture.  

This video shows how Deer Creek Farms of Morden, Manitoba got started in Precision Agriculture, and the results it had on the 2017 Canola harvest.  If you enjoy the video, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.  If you have your own precision ag story that you'd be willing to share with us please comment below or send us an e-mail.