Sask Pool proposed merging agricultural co-ops 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: Dec. 12, 1940

Dr. John R. Mohler of the Federal Bureau of Animal Industry in the United States told the U.S. Live Stock Sanitary Association that a plan was being developed to officially recognize vaccination as a way to control Bang’s disease.

W.D. Albright, superintendent of the Dominion Experimental Sub-Station in Beaverlodge, Alta., in northwestern Alberta said it was time for farmers to consider building rabbit fences to control snowshoe rabbits as the population hit its cyclical peak. The research station had been experimenting with a variety of fence designs to prevent the pesky rabbits from destroying bush homesteaders’ garden plots.

50 years ago: Dec. 9, 1965

Saskatchewan Wheat Pool president Charles Gibbings proposed amalgamating the three prairie pools, United Grain Growers and Federated Co-operatives into a mammoth regional co-operative. However, the leaders of the other grain co-operatives were, as The Western Producer wrote, “cautious in their comments.”

W.C. McNamara, chief commissioner of the Canadian Wheat Board, said the country’s west coast ports would have to be greatly improved if Canadian grain export opportunities were to be fully developed. He specifically argued for increasing the port of Vancouver’s capacity to 30 million bushels a month from 20 million bu. and making grain movement a round-the-year capacity operation.

25 years ago: Dec. 13, 1990

A four year effort to negotiate liberalization of global trade rules all but collapsed in Brussels as the result of a bitter dispute over agriculture trade. Ministers of trade and agriculture from more than 100 countries agreed to have their bureaucrats try one more time to find enough common ground to allow a political deal by February. With no new General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, there were predictions of increased tensions, a heightened trade war between the United States and the European Union and more political instability in the world.

Captivity proved to be too much for Francis the pig, who had escaped from a slaughterhouse in Red Deer in July and then captured the public’s imagination as he spent the summer and fall on the lam. Alas, two days after he was caught in a farm field west of Red Deer, Francis died.

10 years ago: Dec. 8, 2005

Oat checkoffs remained elusive on the Prairies. Progress was being made in Saskatchewan, but Alberta producers weren’t interested and tough rules in Manitoba resulted in two failed votes in three years. “Your lack of interest in a producer organization to further grow the industry is your greatest risk,” Dennis Galbraith of Can-Oat Milling in Portage la Prairie, Man., told growers.

Saskatchewan’s education tax revolt was growing as the number of rural municipalities refusing to pay the education portion of property tax collected on farmland increased to 50 from 17 three weeks earlier.

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