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: April 4, 1940
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool an-nounced a 14 cent per bushel interim payment on wheat delivered to its voluntary pool in 1939-40.
Manitoba Cattle Breeders’ Association members asked the provincial government to introduce compulsory beef grading in the province. D.G. McKenzie of Winnipeg said he was impressed during a recent visit to Vancouver by how well a similar system worked in British Columbia.
France said it wanted to buy light draft horses from Canada for its cavalry. The purchases were expected to take place in May at the larger railroad centers in Eastern and Western Canada.
50 years ago: April 1, 1965
Federal agriculture minister Harry Hays announced plans to establish a dairy commission that would work with the provinces and co-ordinate the relationship between the dairy industry and the two levels of government.
A drop in membership to 23,000 from 25,000 was expected to force the Farmers’ Union of Alberta to curtail some of its activities, said president Paul Babey. Northern Alberta memberships were lagging because of the extreme winter.
There were worries that the United States might beat Canada in the race to develop a useful hybrid wheat. A recent $30,000, three-year private grant to L. Shebeski of the University of Manitoba was called a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.5 million that a private U.S. seed company was reported to be spending in 1965. It’s interesting to note that a story in the March 12, 2015, issue of The Western Producer reported that Syngenta expects to introduce the first viable hybrid wheat varieties before the end of the decade. It’s taken awhile.
25 years ago: April 5, 1990
Saskatchewan farmers were told they would soon be able to borrow $12.50 per cultivated acre to help cover spring seeding costs. Premier Grant Devine said the program, along with ongoing agricultural programs and tax rebates to farmers, showed that the province was willing to do its part to help producers. Now it was Ottawa’s turn, he added.
Manitoba farmer Ken Tjaden was appointed chair of the Canadian Egg Marketing Board. Tjaden had previously been a director of the Manitoba Egg Producers Marketing Board and vice-president of the Canadian Egg Producers Council. The posting came at a time of unease for the marketing agency because of inter-provincial rivalries, evolving government trade and food policies and a shift in egg markets.
10 years ago: March 31, 2005
Western Canada was in the process of expanding its beef packing capability in 2005 as it struggled to recover from the BSE crisis that had started two years earlier. As part of its coverage of these efforts, The Western Producer examined the plans of 21 federal plants and 81 provincial plants that were either already in operation or proposed. The list covered nine pages. As it turned out, most of the proposed plants were never built.