Top stories of 2017

At the end of each year, we like to share with readers the most popular online stories from the previous 12 months. This gives us an indication of what people like to see, and readers can take the measure of what fellow farmers like to read. So here are 2017’s top stories:

10. Grain bag slashing angers farmer. Published in January, this story detailed how vandals had slashed 13 grain bags belonging to seven different farmers in the Rouleau, Sask., area.

Farmers in the Rouleau, Sk area who’ve had their grain bags cut are frustrated by the vandalism. | photo supplied by Trevor Bjarnarson.

9. From zero to 5,400 acres in five years. This story from July described how Kindersley, Sask., farmer Darryl Klassen parlayed a custom spraying business into a successful farm.

This story from July described how Kindersley, Sask., farmer Darryl Klassen parlayed a custom spraying business into a successful farm. | File photo

8. Heartbreaking harvest for young farmer. Published in September, this story detailed how Dallas Moneo, a 24-year-old farmer from Assiniboia, Sask., was hit hard by the drought conditions.

Dallas Moneo shows the view from his cab as he harvests his durum crop near Assiniboia. | Dallas Moneo photo

7. Farmers overcharged nearly $100 million in CGC user fees. In January, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association demanded that nearly $100 million in surplus user fees collected by the Canadian Grain Commission since 2013-14 be returned to grain farmers.

In a Jan. 3 news release, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association called the excess funds a “massive and unnecessary surplus” and invited all western Canadian grain farmers to demand a refund and an immediate reduction in user fees. | Screencap via userfees.wheatgrowers.ca

6. An isolating illness: talking about mental health. In August, cattle farmer Trewett Chaplin, near Craik, Sask., explained that social isolation and stress takes its toll on farmers.

Trewett Chaplin, a 28-year-old farmer near Craik, Sask., says he experiences social isolation and stress, particularly in years with drought or other unexpected conditions. He’s not alone, according to recent statistics. | William DeKay photo

5. Glyphosate on feed affects livestock: vet. Published in October, a Saskatchewan veterinarian blamed glyphosate in feed for his livestock’s health issues, but Monsanto disputed that.

Dr. Ted Dupmeier, who operates his own practice at Shaunavon, told about 50 people at a recent event he called an awareness seminar that he began investigating after being unable to diagnose problems in a dairy herd in which cows were inexplicably dying. He said after removing feed that had been sprayed with glyphosate the problems were resolved. | File photo

4. Drought predicted for Alberta this summer. In May, AccuWeather predicted that central and northern Alberta should brace for a summer drought.

June will have near normal precipitation but July and August will turn dry as a high pressure system suppresses storm activity across the prairie region says a Canadian weather expert. | map via www.accuweather.com

3. Sask. budget: PST, land, education farm fuel taxes increased. Premier Brad Wall’s last budget, issued in March, increased the sales tax to six percent and expanded the PST, but a $1.3 billion deficit was projected.

Farmers’ bulk purchases of gasoline are now subject to PST, and the exemption for bulk diesel is being reduced to 80 percent. | File photo

2. Dumped canola kills cattle. In November, a pile of treated canola seed that Harris, Sask., farmer Bill Laing discovered lying on the ground in a pasture killed his Black Angus bull and two pregnant Charolais cows.

Bill Laing’s Angus bull died as well as two pregnant Charolais cows owned by a neighbour after eating treated canola seed that had been dumped in a pasture northwest of Harris, Sask.
| William DeKay photo

1. Tax changes impact could be ‘humongous’. In August, the federal government announced tax changes that could affect incorporated farms, making it more difficult for full-time farmers to share income with spouses and children, among other issues. The changes were eventually altered.

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