From the Archives: Ottawa looked for more farm workers during wartime

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 16, 1942

Agriculture Minister James Gardiner said the dominion government was attempting to organize surplus labour in towns and villages for farm work, but he warned that it would be difficult to get much additional labour for farms during the summer. Practically all men were now employed either in the armed forces, manufacturing or on farms, he added.

R.M. Pugh, secretary of the Canadian Beekeepers Council, em-phatically denied persistent rumours that brewers had caused a honey shortage by buying up Saskatchewan product.

“As far as I have information, not one pound of Western Canada honey has been used for brewing, distilling or wine making purposes during the past year,” he said.

50 years ago: July 20, 1967

The first ship to leave Britain for the port of Churchill was expected to arrive July 27 carrying automobiles, steel pilings and sodium nitrate. There would be plenty of grain for it to bring back, considering that 80 to 85 grain cars were arriving daily, according to the National Harbours Board. Grain sales through the northern port had already reached 20.5 million bushels for the year.

The Saskatchewan Farmers Union’s annual plan to raffle off an automobile ran into a snag when it was pointed out that the contest would violate the organization’s campaign to encourage farmers not to buy new machinery, including new cars.

President Roy Atkinson suggested replacing the car with a cash prize, but tickets had already been sold for the car. The buying boycott was intended to highlight concerns over the growing gap between input prices and commodity prices.

25 years ago: July 16, 1992

Grain exports for 1991-92 were expected to reach a record 30.8 million tonnes, surpassing the old record of 30.4 million tonnes set in 1987-88. China was the biggest buyer, taking almost 25 percent of prairie exports.

Prairie Pools Inc. reiterated its opposition to paying the $720 million grain transportation subsidy to farmers instead of the railways.

“If they (the federal government) start meddling with method of payment, likely we won’t be co-operating in trying to find a way to pay it out,” said Saskatchewan Wheat Pool president Garf Stevenson.

10 years ago: July 19, 2007

The Western Hog Exchange warned that dozens of Alberta hog producers would be forced out of business when pork processing giant Olymel reduced the price it paid the province’s producers by $12 a hog.

“It’s absolutely significant,” said Jim Smith, chair of the provincial hog marketing organization. “I’m worried about the industry now.”

The Bank of Canada’s quarter of a percentage point increase in interest rates touched off unease in farming country.

However, Farm Credit Canada vice-president Michael Hoffort said the increase would have little impact on farm debt servicing charges.

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