From the Archives: Saskatchewan premier encouraged farmers to diversify

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: July 3, 1941

The world’s four major wheat exporting countries — Canada, the United States, Argentina and Australia — planned to meet in Washington, D.C., July 10 to talk about how international wheat trade could be conducted once the war was over. The meeting was prompted by the amount of the grain surpluses that the exporters were facing.

With the Soviet Union now fighting in the war against Germany, agriculture minister James Gardiner said Canada had enough wheat to supply its new ally.

The federal government had recently introduced policies to reduce wheat acreage, but Gardiner said the country’s farmers were in an excellent position to quickly grow more of the crop if it was needed.

50 years ago: June 30, 1966

Canadian agriculture employed 528,000 workers from March-May, which was 7.5 percent of the total workforce of 6,969,000. Agriculture’s labour share was 1.2 percent lower than it was a year earlier and two percent less than two years earlier.

Saskatchewan premier Ross Thatcher said he was convinced the province’s farmers could keep growing enough wheat to meet the country’s export commitments, but he also encouraged them to continue diversifying into cattle, sheep, special crops and particularly hogs, which he thought was too low.

25 years ago: July 4, 1991

The Crow Benefit was a hot topic as agriculture ministers prepared to meet.

Alberta, which was hosting the meeting, planned to argue for paying the benefit to farmers instead of the railways, Saskatchewan signalled it might be ready to get off the fence and take a stand, and the feds said they weren’t prepared to rush into anything without a consensus.

A group of farmers said it would sue the Farm Credit Corporation, federal agriculture minister Bill McKnight and the Federal Farm Debt Review Board over claims that the FCC had not been properly informing producers of their refinancing options.

10 years ago: June 29, 2006

The ban on the use of specified risk material in animal feed, pet food and fertilizer was about to become broader.

The larger SRM definition was expected to make meat processing more expensive and complicated.

The Canadian Wheat Board launched a voluntary organic grain pool, but the move didn’t sit well with some organic farmers.

“Now they want to compete against me,” said Tom Allen of Wilcox, Sask. “They want all the cake and the icing and everything.”

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