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: Nov. 13, 1941
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool decided to send a 400 to 500 strong delegation to Ottawa by train to demand government action to alleviate the farm income crisis. Petitions would be sent to the “four corners of the province,” which would also go to Ottawa.
Agriculture Minister James Gardiner said many farmers weren’t receiving their summerfallow bonus payments on time because 40 percent of the applications contained errors. However, half of the allocated money had been paid, and arrangements had been made to pay 75 percent of what was claimed in applications that contained errors.
50 years ago: Nov. 10, 1966
Bernard Weins of Herschel, Sask., was the first winner of a $300 bursary from the Saskatchewan section of the Canadian Feed Manufacturers’ Association. Weins, who was in his fourth year of agricultural studies at the University of Saskatchewan, became Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister 25 years later. By then, he was known as Berny Weins.
C.M. Williams, a U of S animal sciences professor who became more familiar to Saskatchewan residents as Red Williams, warned the beef industry that it was far behind other industries in “tooling up” for the 20th century. He said the industry needed to drop its “slavish attention” to type and conformation. “Hopefully the industry would then turn its attention to the values that make or break the beef industry, such as fertility, growth rate and freedom from disease,” he said.
25 years ago: Nov. 14, 1991
A cargo of Canadian barley was to be shipped through the port of Seattle in December. It would be the first time in the 56-year history of the Canadian Wheat Board that it had exported prairie grain through a U.S. terminal. Terminal operators in Vancouver weren’t happy. “There’s no question that we have some concerns about it,” said Gary Dewar, manager of Alberta Wheat Pool’s terminal facilities at the West Coast.
Federal Agriculture Minister Bill McKnight ruled out any expansion of the aid package it had just announced for farmers. He was responding to calls from Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Berny Weins for more money. “There was a suggestion from Saskatchewan that more than $800 million is necessary,” McKnight said. “My reply was that the reason there was $800 million is that is all we had, that is all we could find.”
10 years ago: Nov. 9, 2006
The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board was interested in buying the hog slaughter plant in Saskatoon that Maple Leaf Foods had just announced it would close, but the company appeared to be an unwilling seller. “I’m not sure about that,” said Scott McCain, the head of Maple Leaf’s hog production and processing, following a long pause after being asked the question at a hog meeting in Manitoba. In the end, the plant was demolished.
Badgers came to the rescue of farmers in southwestern Saskatchewan who were being overrun by gophers, but now the natural predators were also causing problems because of their tendency to make huge messes in fields as they dug holes to capture their prey. However, Cameron Wilk of Saskatchewan Agriculture said the badgers would eventually move on to browner pastures. “It’s a mixed blessing,” he said.