Saskatchewan farmers fought against irrigation in 1965

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: June 6, 1940

Manitoba Pool Elevators expanded significantly when it bought 41 elevators from Western Canada Flour Mills. Twenty-five of the elevators were at locations where the company was not represented, so local associations would be formed “to extend the benefits of co-operative elevator service to the farmers in those districts.” President P.F.B. Bredt said the elevators were purchased at “a reasonable price.”

Federal trade minister J.A. MacKinnon announced the Winnipeg Grain Exchange would remain open, at least until the end of the crop year. There had been speculation the federal government would close the exchange as part of its response to the grain marketing emergency caused by renewed hostilities in the war in Europe.

50 years ago: June 3, 1965

The front page photo showed how Oscar Jorgenson of Juniata, Sask., used his combine to fill his seeder box in the field during seeding. He had previously sold his truck and needed another way to get the seed to the field.

The Irrigation-Investigation Group of Broderick and Outlook in central Saskatchewan published this open letter to Saskatchewan agriculture minister A.H. McDonald: “We desire to make it clear to you that we do not wish irrigation for our lands and that we do not approve of a survey on our lands for such purpose, which we consider a great waste of public money, including ours. We realize we cannot stop a survey of our lands but we do intend to take all possible steps to prevent our lands being subject to irrigation, which we consider an interference with our civil rights.

25 years ago: June 7, 1990

Government aid packages were announced for prairie farmers struggling with low grain prices. Saskatchewan said its farmers would receive approximately $5 per cultivated acre, while Alberta announced $4.10 per acre. Meanwhile, Ontario farmers complained that the federal government had reduced its guarantee of the initial price for soft white wheat by $15 per tonne to $115.

Members of a task force studying grain transportation issues agreed to disagree when it came to figuring out how to best pay the Crow benefit. “We’re not supposed to try and find consensus, which is a good thing, because I don’t think we would on a lot of issues,” said Tim Harvie, a farmer from Cochrane, Alta.

An animal rights group was threatening legal action after French farmers threw live sheep at police during a protest against falling prices and an increase in imported lamb from Britain and New Zealand.

10 years ago: June 2, 2005

Statistics Canada outraged farmers when it reported that net cash income rebounded to $6.3 billion in 2004, a sharp recovery from the previous year. “That sure isn’t reflected where I’m farming,” fumed Gordon White of Hartness, Man.

Funding was announced to investigate the possibility of a new agricultural centre of excellence in Winnipeg featuring laboratories, offices, classrooms, greenhouses and pilot processing facilities. No such centre has been built.

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