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: Nov. 26, 1942
The dominion government was urged to begin negotiating a trade deal with the Soviet Union that could see Canada ship 300,000 head of cattle a year to that country for the next 10 years.
Donald G. McKenzie, chief commissioner of the Board of Grain Commissioners, said Ukraine’s livestock herd had been “pretty well depleted” by war, which presented Canada with significant export opportunities.
Leonard D. Nesbitt, director of publicity for Alberta Wheat Pool, made an argument for Canadian farmers to take a “wheat holiday.” He said a huge carryover and bumper crop had left Canada with a wheat inventory of one billion bushels, which would drop to only 700 million bu. by the following summer. Nesbitt said this would be enough to take care of export and domestic needs for two years. The government was spending $50 million a year to carry this wheat, he added, which could be better spent paying farmers bonuses to grass or summerfallow their land or grow other crops.
50 years ago: Nov. 30, 1967
New federal Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield weighed in on wheat marketing, criticizing a lack of markets for Canadian wheat and urging the country to not be stampeded into selling top quality crop at bargain basement prices.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool president Charles W. Gibbing said farms were getting bigger every year but added large corporation farms were unlikely to squeeze out family operated ones because they continued to be more efficient.
25 years ago: Nov. 26, 1992
Provincial governments were considering a federal proposal to pay 90 percent of the $721 million transportation subsidy to farmers, but Saskatchewan wasn’t budging. “It’s impossible for us to commit on them (the proposals) because we had no mandate,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Darrell Cunningham. “Most of the proposals there we don’t think were very positive from a Saskatchewan point of view.”
Sask Pool president Garf Stevenson said it was time to reconsider amalgamating the three prairie wheat pools. Serious amalgamation talks had broken down in 1989, and Stevenson said the companies had no choice but to try again because the conditions that had made such a move necessary three years ago still existed.
10 years ago: Nov. 29, 2007
The hog industry warned the federal government that the sector would begin melting down if quick action wasn’t taken to get financial assistance to producers. High feed costs and a strong dollar meant producers were losing $50 a hog.
Shipping wheat by rail to Mexico was proving to be lucrative for the Canadian Wheat Board, but it was having trouble finding enough cars to meet the demand.
“We’re maximizing what we can ship there by rail, and once that capacity’s gone, then basically that’s it,” said CWB wheat and barley marketer Rhys Doyle.