The Western Producer’s on-line readers made it clear what they were interested in this year: Bill 6, cool machines, a little politics, weather and weeds. And, sadly, there was tragedy.
In 2015, producer.com drew almost 3.5 million page views. Here are the 10 stories you read the most.
Our 10th most read story, headlined “More questions than answers following first Bill 6 public meeting,” published in November, concerned Alberta farmers’ initial reaction to the controversial farm safety and labour bill.
Our ninth highest story was the tragedy on a farm near Burstall, Sask., in which Dennis Becker, 63, and his 14-year-old grandson, Layne Langridge, died while emptying a dual hopper semi-trailer of grain.
Next was our coverage of the tragedy on a Withrow, Alta., farm that resulted in the death of three Bott sisters: Catie, 13, Dara, 11 and Jana, 11.
The death of a 10-year-old boy while driving a forklift on a Hutterite farm in November also drew a lot of attention.
Our seventh most-read online story, “What the other provinces are doing about farm worker safety,” detailed exactly that.
In sixth spot, published just after the October federal election, was “What a Liberal majority government means for farmers.” The immediate thinking was: not much will change.
Our fifth most popular online story, published in September, was headlined “Poisonous weeds found in Alta. canola.” We explained the issues with jimsonweed, the so-called devil’s trumpet.
In fourth place was a poignant story and video headlined, “4-H member shows determination.” Published in June, after the Flagstaff District 4-H Beef show, 12-year-old Hanna Chilson explained how she is determined to keep on showing her calf Bubbles after a car accident left her in a wheelchair.
Third was a story published in May about the difficulties farmers in Saskatchewan’s Quill Lakes area face because of rising flood waters.
Second was a story and video published in August about Manitoba farmer Matt Reimer’s use of a “robot tractor” for harvest.
To give you an idea just how much interest there was in the Alberta government’s Bill 6, our top story, “Alberta exempts Hutterites” from Bill 6, received more than 66,700 page views, three times the number of views our second most popular story drew.