Students enrolled in Parkland College’s Farm Hand course were taught about basic farm safety, field crops, GPS systems and Power Mobile Equipment theory. They also received several hours of hands-on learning operating a tractor, sprayer, rock picker and forklift. | Parkland College photo

What’s in a name? Maybe everything

I’ve been in this business long enough to know that it’s the least expected content that will generate reader complaints. We’ll publish a controversial story about this, that or the other thing and receive radio silence in return. But publish a photo of a little girl running across a farmyard while her father works on […] Read more

The rodents are damaging stored crops and there are reports of farmers being bitten in their beds. | Screencap via YouTube/BBC News

When a brown plague covers the landscape

“I found these great videos, but don’t watch them before you eat.” That was the advice I received a couple weeks ago from my friend D’Arce McMillan, The Western Producer’s long-time markets editor who has since retired but still writes a weekly column for our Markets section. D’Arce was talking about videos showing what’s happening […] Read more

Earlier this month a farmer from Belgium found himself as the key instigator of what could have flared into a border war between his country and France. | Screencap via Twitter/@BBCWorld

Nations left no border stone unturned

Farmers don’t usually cause international incidents. Instead, they’re usually at the receiving end of such incidents, whether it be restricted canola exports due to a Chinese temper tantrum or lost livestock sales resulting from misguided American protectionism. However, earlier this month a farmer from Belgium found himself as the key instigator of what could have […] Read more


Gophers are a serious problem, which warrants serious coverage. However, every once in a while a freelance photographer sends us photographs of the irksome creatures, usually in the spring and always looking adorable. We can’t seem to resist, and into the paper they go. | Sandy Black photo

When the enemy is too cute for words

A newspaper like The Western Producer never wants to glorify a farm pest, but sometimes we just can’t seem to help ourselves. I’m talking about the Richardson’s ground squirrel, more commonly known as the pesky gopher. These rodents are not the farmer’s friend, causing significant damage to hay, pasture and cropland. It’s been a serious […] Read more

A recent article in the renowned cooking website Epicurious has debunked what it calls the myths about cooking beans. | File photo

Change might be universal, but it’s hard

Change is the only constant, they say, and I get that. However, what happens when one of life’s fundamental cornerstones turns upside down? I’m not talking about something trivial like politics or philosophy. I’m talking about the important stuff — like what happens in the kitchen. My wife and I started cooking with dry beans […] Read more


Larger farms and significant transportation improvements have helped remove people from the countryside for decades.
 | Getty Images

Forget the boys; it’s all about the girls

Rural depopulation has long been a troublesome trend. Larger farms and significant transportation improvements have helped remove people from the countryside for decades. Those who remain have for the most part carved out satisfactory lives for themselves, but inadequate internet and cellphone service are now threatening their place in modern society. Despite the historical context, […] Read more

I don’t tend to stress too much about work, but what can really keep my eyeballs open is waking up the night after the paper’s been put to bed and realizing we made a major mistake that can no longer be fixed. | Getty Images

Nighttime is for sleeping, not worrying

Ever wonder what it takes to keep a newspaper editor up at night? I don’t tend to stress too much about work, but what can really keep my eyeballs open is waking up the night after the paper’s been put to bed and realizing we made a major mistake that can no longer be fixed. […] Read more

WP news editor Bruce Dyck has an alternative energy idea he thinks may generate some buzz. | File photo

All abuzz over alternative energy option

Scientists tell us that reducing our use of fossil fuel will be how we stop the runaway climate change train hurtling down the tracks toward the abyss. The question is — how exactly will we do that? There’s solar energy, but the sun doesn’t always shine. There’s wind energy, but the wind doesn’t always blow. […] Read more


The thrill and the fear of booking online

Buying concert tickets online wasn’t yet a thing in 1991 when it was announced that Neil Young was coming to town. I had turned into a monster Young fan ever since watching him perform Like a Hurricane on the television show Midnight Special when I was 17, but I had never had a chance to […] Read more

Meteorologists are one breed of prognosticator who habitually stick their necks out to predict the future. | File photo

Sticking out a neck can be scary business

I have much admiration for folks who make a living sticking their necks out with bold predictions of one sort or another. They weigh the facts, put their experience to work and share a thoughtful opinion about the future. Many of these people regularly end up in the pages of The Western Producer, particularly in […] Read more