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: Jan. 16, 1941
More than 2,000 Ontario farmers attended a stormy two-day meeting with federal agriculture minister James Gardiner, during which they demanded that the government treat agriculture the same way it treated industry.
The farmers particularly wanted subsidies that would bring cheese, butter and bacon prices to the average levels that existed in 1926-29, which was the base that the labour department had chosen for wage control in industry.
“There should not be one law for city folks and another for farmers,” said Canadian Federation of Agriculture president H.H. Hannan.
Cash income from the sale of farm products in 1940 was $714.685 million, up from $702.794 million in 1939 and the highest level since 1929, when it was $922.3 million.
50 years ago: Jan 13, 1966
L.A. Boileau of Regina was re-elected president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture at the organization’s annual meeting, during which it decided to urge the federal government to take steps to address the critical income position of grain farmers, including a guaranteed minimum price for wheat, a forward pricing policy related to the cost of production, a two price system for cereal grains for human consumption and a proposal that the government absorb storage charges on all grain in store on July 31 of each year.
Canadian wheat exports were 3.9 million bushels for the week ending Dec. 29, which pushed the total since the start of the new crop year to a record 259.6 million bu. This was up from 181.2 million bu. in the same time period of the previous crop year and 236.5 bu. in 1963-64, which was the previous record.
25 years ago: Jan. 17, 1991
Farm support programs were expected to save farmers from disaster in the upcoming years. The government had earlier predicted that realized net farm income in Canada would fall 22.5 percent to $2.3 billion, but the declines were particularly drastic on the Prairies: a 145 percent decline in Saskatchewan to minus $85.8 million, a 43 percent decline in Alberta to $185 million and a 35 percent decline in Manitoba to $93 million. However, the federal and provincial governments had since agreed on a safety net program that could pump close to $3 billion into the farm economy by mid-1992.
Farmers should think twice about buying European-made goods following the lack of progress in recent world trade talks, said federal grains minister Charlie Mayer. “I’ve often said any farmer buying a European car is doing business with the enemy,” Mayer told the Western Canadian Wheat Growers.
10 years ago: Jan. 12, 2005
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and BASF Canada announced a distribution deal that would see 2,750 bushels of herbicide tolerant lentils distributed royalty free to 150 seed growers for multiplication in 2006.
The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture was working on a name change, which was alarming some faculty members and alumni. Rumoured names included College of the Biosphere, which “hasn’t been well received in too many camps,” said college dean Ernie Barber, and the College of Applied Bio-resources. In the end, it opted for the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.