Young Alberta farmer named wheat king

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: Dec. 5, 1940

Francis Rigby, 22, of Wembley, Alta., won the wheat king title at the International Livestock Exposition and Grain Show in Chicago for the third year in a row. It was the 12th consecutive wheat title for Canada and the 18th time in the last 22 years that a Canadian had won the title. Rigby won with the Reward variety of hard red spring wheat. His sample weighed 67.7 pounds.

Paul Bredt, president of Canadian Co-operative Wheat Producers Ltd. and president and managing director of Manitoba Pool Elevators, died of a heart attack at the age of 57. He had collapsed shortly after addressing Alberta Wheat Pool’s annual meeting in Calgary.

50 years ago: Dec. 2, 1965

The 48 member countries of the International Wheat Agreement extended the treaty for another year, but the United States continued to threaten to pull out of the arrangement. The agreement required importing countries to buy a percentage of their wheat from exporting members, but the U.S. wanted importers to be required to buy all their wheat from member exporters. Canada favoured maintaining the agreement because it felt it had a stabilizing effect on wheat prices.

Alberta Wheat Pool president G.L. Harrold expressed concern over grain transportation in Western Canada. He said movement of grain to the pool’s Vancouver terminal was neither normal nor regular.

“While we fully recognize the increasing demands on the railroads resulting from continuous industrial developments on the Prairies, the apparent shortage of motive power by one of the major railroads at the present time is cause of anxiety to all those concerned with the future development of the Prairies,” he said.

25 years ago: Dec. 6, 1990

The Kenaston-Davidson-Craik Farm and Town Self-Help Movement posted signs on private property on Highway 11 in central Sask-atchewan to promote the survival of rural communities, but the provincial government ordered their removal, saying they were illegal because of their location. The local group appealed the order.

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The Alberta government confirmed farmer fears and killed its low-interest farm loan program. However, to soften the blow, it extended a fertilizer subsidy program to July 31, 1991.

10 years ago: Dec. 1, 2005

The Farmer Rail Car Coalition had hoped to buy 12,000 hopper cars from Ottawa for $1, but it continued to be upbeat after the Liberal government put a $204,999,9999 price tag on the cars.

Coalition president Sinclair Harrison said the price was still affordable and would produce financial savings for farmers.

Alas, the country was in the middle of a federal election, which the Conservatives won. The new government scrapped the deal.

The National Farmers Union was feeling vindicated after an Australian government study found that mice became sick after eating genetically modified peas.

“This new information fundamentally reinforces the NFU policy, which states that every new genetically modified product has to be thoroughly tested on a case by case basis,” said NFU president Stewart Wells. However, the technology doesn’t appear to have suffered much of a setback in the last 10 years.

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