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. 23, 1941
Canada’s dairy product board, which was set up in May 1940 under the War Measures Act, was to be given new powers. The federal government announced that the board would be able to export butter, determine the quantity of any dairy product owned or held in storage and establish the minimum price at which butter could be sold.
The University of Saskatchewan released Valor, a new early drought resistant oat variety that could particularly benefit dairy producers in the hot, dry seasons on the open plains of southern Saskatchewan.
The variety’s name was an-nounced by J.B. Harrington, who directed the work and whose name is familiar to later generations of malting barley producers.
50 years ago: Jan. 20, 1966
Much had been made of the fact that Joe Greene, the new federal agriculture minister, was the first easterner to hold that post in more than 50 years.
As a result, there was a lot of curiosity about how his first visit to Western Canada would go. In the end, he charmed his hosts by saying all the right things. He declared war on the CPR and said he was seriously considering ordering an inquiry into the price of farm machinery.
N.D. Holmes, head of entomology at the federal agricultural research station in Lethbridge, issued a warning to farmers that wouldn’t be out of place today.
He told them they must use insecticides “wisely” or they would suffer restrictions or prohibitions.
25 years ago. Jan. 24, 1991
Wheat prices were rising in the wake of the attack on Iraq by the United States and its allies. It’s not how anyone wanted prices to increase, but it was welcome just the same.
Fuel was coming close to replacing interest rates as farmers’ major input cost. Saskatchewan farmers saw their fuel bill increase 31 percent from $351 million in 1989 to an estimated $461 million for 1990, which was only $3 million less than the estimated farm interest charges for 1990 of $464 million.
The Gulf War took part of the blame, but Verna Mitura, senior policy analyst with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, said fuel prices had been at record levels even before the war started.
10 years ago: Jan. 19, 2006
The grain industry continued to investigate how a shipment of Canadian durum destined for Italy became contaminated with ochratoxin A, a dangerous fungus.
“We are monitoring the situation and seeing what we can do to get accurate information out and make sure any actions are based on accurate information,” said Canadian Wheat Board spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry.
Diane Finley, the federal Conservative party’s agriculture critic, was explaining during an election debate how her party could oppose the Canadian Wheat Board mon-opoly while supporting supply management, but instead she ended up giving the impression that Conservative support for supply management was softer than the party was letting on.