The hullabaloo is based largely on anecdotal evidence — in other words, lots of people saying their butter doesn’t get soft anymore, even when they leave it out of the fridge. | Getty Images

Investigating the perplexing butter mystery

You may have noticed that The Western Producer has been following the simmering debate in this country over butter. Winnipeg reporter Ed White has written a couple of stories (the most-recent is here) about whether butter has become harder and whether palm oil in dairy cow rations is to blame. The hullabaloo is based largely […] Read more

Taking security lessons from Mother Nature

There are lots of ways to keep out unwanted intruders — a good lock being among the best options. But what do you do when that evades your technological capabilities? You get creative, that’s what. According to a story we ran on page 52 of the Feb. 11 paper by freelancer Margaret Evans, Asian honeybees […] Read more

Coal mining can be taken to extremes

Doug Ferguson, one of our Alberta reporters, has been covering the twists and turns in that province’s coal policy controversy. The provincial government brought in a policy in the mid-1970s that significantly restricted how and where coal could be mined in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The current government rescinded that policy last […] Read more


The ultimate outdoor rink has to be in Regina, where the football field at the Saskatchewan Roughriders’s Mosaic Stadium has been flooded and turned into a rink. | Twitter/@taroncochrane photo

An old familiar pastime comes to the rescue

The Prairies are a diverse place, which can make it difficult to come up with a singular feature by which we can all define ourselves. After all, the Eastern Slopes of Alberta are a much different place than Manitoba’s Red River Valley. However, I’m going to suggest that the one commonality across all three provinces […] Read more

Katie Harris, an animal science student at the University of Saskatchewan, recently installed 30 trail cams around the city, and the results were startling. | Twitter/@RyanKBrook photo

School project exposes city’s wild side

Wildlife was not a foreign concept for me growing up on a cattle ranch beside the Souris River south of Estevan, Sask. Beavers made the biggest impression, and I can remember Dad wrapping chicken wire around a lot of our trees to stop beavers from doing what beavers do. Wild animals became less noticeable when […] Read more


My work dictionary still has “Library Copy” neatly labelled on the inside front cover and two “Western Producer, Library, Saskatoon, Sask.” stamps firmly imprinted on the first few pages. If this was to ensure no one walked off with it, it didn’t work.
 | Bruce Dyck photo

Well, hello old buddy — welcome back

I was recently re-acquainted with an old friend. It all started in November 1986 when I began work at The Western Producer. To say that the folks who had hired me were unprepared for my arrival would be an understatement. There was no desk, working phone or video display terminal (yes, that’s how far back […] Read more

Attending pro hockey games, when we're eventually allowed to do that again, is a very different pastime from what it once was. | ctvnews.ca photo

Watching pro hockey not for the poor folk

Freelancer Mark Kihn wrote a great piece for us recently about what it was like to grow up as a hockey-mad kid in rural Manitoba in the 1970s. If you missed it, you can find it here. As Mark often does, he sent along photos to illustrate the piece, including one of a ticket stub […] Read more

Gurdeep Pandher has single-handedly introduced thousands of Canadians to Banghra dancing, the Yukon and an infectious urge to smile.
 | Screencap via gurdeep.ca

Dancing for the sake of national unity

It’s that time again when news organizations announce who they think did the most to influence the events of the previous year. The most well-known of these is Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and I thought this year’s choice — U.S. president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris — was less than inspired. What […] Read more


Some gifts are destined to be remembered

A lot of Christmas presents have come and gone under the tree by the time you reach my age. I’m sure they were all appreciated at the time, but I must admit that most of them are now forgotten. This is especially the case once we start to move back into my early childhood, when […] Read more

What’s that smell? It’s the past, of course

I’ve said it before in this column and I’ll say it again — those Europeans are a funny bunch. We’ve spilled quite a bit of ink lately writing about the European Union’s refusal to recognize basic science when it comes to agricultural production, whether it be genetic modification, glyphosate or growth hormone use in cattle. […] Read more