Potential price war worried pool leader

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: Feb. 27, 1941

The value of occupied farmland in Canada dropped by $1 to average $24 per acre in 1940. Provincial averages for 1940, with 1939 values in brackets, were: British Columbia $58 ($60), Alberta $16 ($16), Saskatchewan $15 ($15), Manitoba $16 ($17), Ontario $46 ($46), Quebec $44 ($44), New Brunswick $24 ($29), Nova Scotia $28 ($33) and Prince Edward Island $32 ($35).

Members of the Alberta Dairymen’s Association asked their executive during the organization’s annual meeting to join other livestock groups in the effort to stop the manufacturing and importing of vegetable oil substitutes for animal fat.

50 years ago: Feb. 24, 1966

Talk of cutting export wheat prices in the United States to gain market share was causing “deep anxiety” among prairie growers, said Saskatchewan Wheat Pool president Charles Gibbings. It was also a bit perplexing, considering that global wheat supplies were shrinking. Gibbings said talk a price war “makes me nervous.”

Clifford Smallwood, a farmer from Irma, Alta., and a Progressive Conservative MP for the Battle River-Camrose constituency, joined the growing chorus of demands to nationalize Canadian Pacific Railway in light of poor grain movement from Western Canada. “I’m not a socialist, thank heaven, but if the CPR isn’t going to do the job, it’s time for government to step in,” Smallwood said.

25 years ago: Feb. 28, 1991

Canada’s new free trade deal with the United States was expected to soon allow U.S. wheat imports into Canada, which prompted demand from some Canadian farmers for similar access to the U.S. However, Canadian Wheat Board commissioner Gord Machej threw cold water on the idea of individual wheat and barley sales to the U.S., saying the board would continue to take a collective approach.

Agricultural economists expressed their unease over the Gross Revenue Insurance Plan, saying the new farm safety net would encourage farmers to plant more wheat in a year when prices were at rock bottom lows.

10 years ago: Feb. 23, 2006

For the first time, the United States was expected to use more corn in ethanol plants than it exported. This was seen as the beginning of a long-term trend and good news for crop prices.

A bison producer from northern Alberta was well on his way to sailing his ship around the world after leaving Dunvegan, Alta., May 24. Ben Gray and his sons, Kevin and Brad, arrived in Australia Feb. 12 after a 29 day trip from South Africa.

Contact bruce.dyck@producer.com

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