I first met Ed White when I was a much younger reporter at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and had been sent out to learn something about the agriculture beat.
Agriculture is a remarkably complex file, and I was terrified.
One of the brilliant things I did in a story many moons ago was refer to $7 wheat, which was the futures price — not the farmgate price — and I failed to differentiate. To put it mildly, I heard about that.
In those days, I would run into Ed at conferences and events. I was pretty sure he would never fail to mention what kind of a price he was quoting.
But after a while, I was less intimidated. Ed, like the late and dearly missed Adrian Ewins, was helpful and supportive. Without those two, this one-time daily business reporter would have been sunk on the ag file.
I may have worked at a different paper, but these WP reporters seemed to care only about agricultural reporting and helped me get it right. (They stopped short of sharing scoops.)
Now, I get to work with Ed, although he is based in Winnipeg. I hardly have to mention that he writes all kinds of news for us, and is an expert in markets with a Derivatives Market Specialist designation. Indeed, Ed is among the best ag columnists in North America.
I have proof. He took first place in the North American Agricultural Journalists writing competition in the column category for a collection of three pieces published Feb. 7, May 30 and June 27 of 2013.
I also get to work with Mary MacArthur of our Camrose bureau, who received an honourable mention for a Nov. 7 news story entitled Military solution creates farm problems. My personal view, although I’m biased, is that Mary’s Stampede steer disqualification stories were equally as good.
Mary is a determined, fair and unrelenting reporter who will not give up until she gets to the bottom of a story, regardless of obstacles in her way. This is obvious in the many awards she has won over the years at The Western Producer.
It was nice to see Canadians do well at NAAJ, which is largely populated, of course, by U.S. journalists. Editor Laura Rance and reporter Shannon vanRaes of The Manitoba Co-operator also took awards. You’re in good hands, dear readers.