Gov’t thanked for handling BSE crisis

The Western Producer takes a weekly look at some of the stories that made headlines in issues of the paper from 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

75 years ago: Oct. 10, 1940

Federal trade minister J.A. MacKinnon assured farmers they would be able to deliver wheat to merchants, wholesalers and suppliers as security against their accounts. The merchants would then act as warehousemen for farmers and eventually deliver the wheat to elevators in the farmers’ names. Earlier reports had suggested farmers would not be able to do this, and MacKinnon said he was clearing up the misconception.

An “animated debate and lively discussion” at the Manitoba Horse Breeders’ Association’s annual meeting attempted to determine who was to blame for the declining interest in horses, weak prices and other factors contributing to the unsatisfactory situation in which horse breeders found themselves. Some blamed breeders and others blamed farmers who no longer used horses on their farms.

50 years ago: Oct. 7, 1965

Leaf rust infection was heavy in prairie wheat, particularly in the Thatcher variety in Saskatchewan, according to the federal research station in Winnipeg. However, the disease developed a little late to cause maximum damage. Stem rust wasn’t a problem for farmers who grew resistant varieties, but losses were heavy in susceptible varieties. Researchers said farmers were fortunate to have suffered only moderate losses from the two diseases.

Canadian Pacific Railway asked the Board of Transport Commissioners for permission to suspend its Dominion trans-continental passenger service during the country’s export grain-handling emergency, but the board denied the request.

25 years ago: Oct. 11, 1990

The federal government was signaling its willingness to re-instate interest-free cash advances, but only temporarily. The government had decided the previous year to end the program. Grains and oilseeds minister Charlie Mayer had earlier argued against re-instatement, complaining that farmers who never used the program were now calling for its return. However, the policy ground now appeared to be shifting under Mayer’s feet.

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It was a hectic week of rumours, speculation and gossip as the grain trade tried to figure out if the Soviet Union was going to buy grain from Canada. A senior Soviet grain trader had met with the Canadian Wheat Board and government officials, but the board wouldn’t comment and no sales were announced.

10 years ago: Oct. 6, 2005

Saskatchewan pulse growers considered anti-dumping countervailing duties on cheap American product. “Growers are telling us they are fed up with truckload after truckload of low-priced peas and lentils coming into Sask-atchewan this fall,” said Dean Corbett, chair of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. However, Tim McGreevy, executive director of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, reacted to the news not with shock or outrage but with laughter.

“U.S. growers have often considered filing a dumping case against Canada,” he said.

Alberta cattle producers found a fitting way to thank provincial government officials for the help they had provided during the two-year-old BSE crisis — a steak barbecue. The noon hour barbecue in Edmonton served 600 people. “We felt this was a way to thank them for doing their efforts and hopefully we can work together in the future,” said Darcy Davis, chair of Alberta Beef Producers.

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