Ag department had a job to do in case of nuclear war

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: July 2, 1940

The Canadian grain industry was still grappling with disorganization in the world wheat market caused by the turmoil of war. This time it was Saskatchewan Wheat Pool’s turn as it opened a second voluntary pool. Elevator companies had stopped buying grain and all open market prices were cancelled because elevators were unable to hedge country wheat purchases when prices settled on the “pegs” in Winnipeg and no buyers materialized at the pegged prices. The new pool would be for farmers who had exceeded the maximum 5,000 bushel delivery limit to the Canadian Wheat Board.

50 years ago: July 1, 1965

Saskatchewan Wheat Pool president Charles Gibbings raised alarm bells about proposed U.S. legislation that he warned could force more American wheat onto the world market and lower prices. The legislation required a second look, he argued.

A federal cabinet order outlined the roles of government departments if nuclear bombs were to fall on Canada. The agriculture department’s job, according to the order, would be to inspect all food for “quality and wholesomeness.” To no one’s surprise, the finance department’s job would be to advise the imposition of emergency taxes.

25 years ago: July 5, 1990

The British Columbia proposed building a third west coast port capable of handling grain exports, this one at Kitimat near Prince Rupert, where a port had already been built. The prairie grain industry was lukewarm to the idea. In the end, no port was built.

The International Trade Commission ruled that Canada wasn’t dumping durum into the United States. U.S. famers had blamed a sharp increase in Canadian imports on the Canadian Wheat Board, but the ITC determined it had more to do with the high prices paid by American millers.

10 years ago: June 30, 2005

BSE was found in an American cow, which raised questions about the effectiveness of that country’s testing procedures and offered some proof to the Canadian industry that the brain-wasting disease was a North American problem rather than just a Canadian one.

BASF Canada reported that response had been good to the first herbicide tolerant wheat. More than 1,000 prairie farmers bought the company’s new Clearfield variety that spring.

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