1986 was the year of the smudge

A trip to the country is always nice, but this was ridiculous. It was 1986, and Halley’s Comet had arrived. I had read about this astronomical sensation for years and was keen to finally see what all the fuss was about. Drawings from medieval times that I had seen as a kid showed a frightening […] Read more

There’s no sense hiding from racism

Politicians, businesspeople and other leaders in Canada have been making a habit lately of denying the existence of systemic racism and then later having to issue retractions. Part of the problem is that no one really knows for sure what systemic racism is. I wonder if many of the people denying its existence are thinking […] Read more

There’s something about folding out a newspaper, grabbing hold of the edges and getting down to the serious business of “reading the news” that I’m still not ready to abandon.
 | Flickr.com/Lisa Pinehill photo

Not ready to give up on my newspaper

For all the advice that is available from public health authorities about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it still seems like we’re on our own out here in the real world. Do you wear a mask or not? All the time or only indoors around other people? If so, how many people? […] Read more


North Americans have for the most part bought into the scientific argument that agricultural technologies - such as genetic modification and pesticides - are safe to use, but not so much across the Atlantic, where a deep distrust continues to exist. | File photo

What a difference an ocean makes

It’s always amazed me how different Europeans are from North Americans. OK, sure, it only makes sense that there would be some differences — our two cultures did develop in a different historical context and even in vastly different physical landscapes. But it’s the approach that Europeans take to risk that can sometimes be a […] Read more

An editorial by Brian MacLeod, entitled, “Canada should consider adjusting biotech regs” was among several winning WP entries. | File photo

WP writers recognized for their work

Western Producer reporters don’t do what they do for the awards. Their motivation is based largely on a natural curiosity and a desire to provide western Canadian farmers with the information they need to successfully produce food and feed the world. However, everyone likes to be recognized for their achievements, and it’s no different for […] Read more


When growing season goes up in smoke

A lot of bad things can happen in farming, as we all know too well. The soil can be too dry in the spring to seed, or it can be too wet. Everything can start out great and then it either rains too much or decides to stop raining. Growing conditions can be perfect throughout […] Read more

Our end goal? Catchy, grabby accuracy

The most important news elements in a newspaper are obviously the stories, photos and graphics. These are where the vital information is contained that makes The Western Producer so valuable. But probably the most visible element — the one that most readers look at first — is the headline. And writing a successful headline can […] Read more

Ready for your closeup? Not quite yet

Covering the news in the age of social distancing hasn’t been a huge learning curve. For the most part, our reporters do what generations of newspaper people did before them — work the phones. So from that perspective, nothing much has changed. However, reporters don’t always stay in the office. They often visit producers on […] Read more


Animal welfare taken to the smallest level

I remember how strange it was the first time I saw a disclaimer at the end of a movie that said something to the effect of, “no animals were mistreated during the making of this film.” Animal rights — or even animal welfare, for that matter — didn’t get a lot of attention when I […] Read more

Restaurant closures bring big changes

Pandemics are weird — both predictable and unpredictable at the same time. In hindsight, we all should have seen this coming. The world has gone through this before and scientists warned for a long time that we were overdue for another outbreak. But we were still caught off guard, and now everything that unfolds is […] Read more