The Producer isn’t about to turn off our comments section like the CBC recently did, but man, it would be great if people would be a bit nicer to each other.
 | Screencap via Facebook/The Western Producer

Engagement is great, but be nice about it

The Western Producer’s letters to the editor section was once a bustling place. Pages 12 and 13 were always blocked off for letters with lots left over every week. Sometimes the surplus became so large that we had to find a couple of extra pages in the middle of the paper to ease the overflow. […] Read more

A new solution recently hit the news in Britain, where food companies are warning that they may have trouble filling supermarket shelves this summer if something isn’t done about the significant trucker shortage plaguing that country. The solution: get the army to do it. | Getty Images

Chronic labour shortages may have a solution

Trucker shortages are a perennial problem in Canada. Steps have been taken over the years, such as educational campaigns to convince prospective employees that driving truck can be a fulfilling career. Governments have also done their part, such as in Alberta, where a program was introduced to ease the cost of training. But a new […] Read more

We stumbled across the mother lode, and for the next hour or so we grazed. | Screencap via

Let loose in the berry patch with no quotas

I don’t remember doing a lot of berry picking as a kid. I certainly don’t remember receiving strict instructions to come back with full pails — or else. The few foraging expeditions that do stick in my head are remembered as relaxed affairs, but we were still expected to come back with something. These trips […] Read more

With names like BlackFly, these contraptions may have a long way to go before they become commonplace, but their proponents are bullish about the future. | Screencap via

Travel’s future may be found in the skies

I wrote a column this winter about the future, focusing on the advancements made in producing meat from cells in a lab rather than from animals on a farm. While moaning about how our expectations for the future had been raised too high while we were kids, I wondered what ever happened to flying cars. […] Read more

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