The fight in Washington over the Renewable Fuel Standard will have major implications for the future state of the ethanol industry.  | File photo

U.S. ethanol future tied to bumper crop of D.C. politics

Ethanol producers in the United States achieved another record year in 2018, with production climbing 1.9 percent to 16.1 billion U.S. gallons processed from about 5.6 billion bushels of corn, or about 38 percent of the 2017-18 crop. But ethanol producers are not content. They are vexed by the actions of the U.S. Environmental Protection […] Read more

New trade deals offer hope for more diversified markets

Political relations with China are about as frosty as the Polar Vortex and worries are rampant that China is stalling canola imports so it is hard to believe that just a few months ago Canadian and Chinese officials were talking about doubling agricultural trade by 2025. In November Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Minister of […] Read more

China’s purchases of Canadian canola have been a bright spot in an otherwise lacklustre shipping season, driven by lower imports from the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Pakistan.  |  Brian Cross photo

Huawei issue could slam door on canola exports

Political friction between China and Canada is raising worries that the Asian giant might limit its imports of canola. Exports of the oilseed lag behind last year’s pace and if our biggest buyer were to slow purchases, it would be a serious thing. There is worrisome talk that unofficial roadblocks are already hampering new sales, […] Read more


Palm challenges could alter veg oil market

Dry weather in Brazil and forecasts for rising palm oil prices are providing modest support for the oilseed market. Uncertainties about trade with China remain a wild card, but the fundamental supply and demand situation is shaping up better than it has been for a while. Dry weather is shaving down Brazilian soybean forecasts. A […] Read more

The increasing productivity of new technology makes possible reductions in the carbon footprint of each unit of agricultural production,which is a compelling brand that farmers, processors and government can all present.  |  File photo

Science partnership is good branding for agriculture

Success in marketing often rests on how you can differentiate your product from the other guy’s — in other words, branding. Branding is your image and the way you portray the story of your product. Tim Hortons is all about everyday Canadians, hockey and the grit needed to get through winter, while Starbucks portrays urban […] Read more


American farmers planted 32.5 million acres to wheat last year, of which 24.7 million acres were harvested. This was much less area than in previous years.  | REUTERS/Jim Young photo

Modest increase expected in U.S. winter wheat acreage

Given that wheat has been one of the better performing grain markets in the past year, it should not be a big surprise that the trade expects United States winter wheat acreage to halt the precipitous declines of recent years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture was to release its annual winter wheat seeding report along […] Read more

It’s possible that changing choices at the grocery store are the beginning of a permanent shift in lifestyle.  |  File photo

Move to meatless meals will affect livestock producers

A grocery flyer in my daily newspaper a few days after New Year’s Day caused me to raise my eyebrows. Featuring foods such as almond and coconut drinks, gluten-free pasta, and veggie protein meat replacement products, it was dedicated to vegetarian and organic foods, protein powders and vitamins. But it did not come from a […] Read more

Studies such as the recent Canada’s Food Price Report 2019 are often taken out of context by emphasizing the worst possible outcomes. In actual fact, the study’s findings aren’t as bad as what has been reported.  |  File photo

Food costs might rise modestly but are still affordable

One challenge journalists face is to provide context to the issues and events they cover while mindful of the space and time constraints inherent in their medium. Facts by themselves might yield little meaning or the wrong meaning if they are not given context. I yearned for a little more context in the reporting on […] Read more


Lucas Richard of LFR Grain harvests a crop of soybeans at a farm in Hickory, North Carolina, late last month. It’s still not sure when China will resume buying soybeans from the United States.  |  REUTERS/Charles Mostoller photo

Grain markets watch and wait for actual Chinese buying

Grain markets appear to be saying “show me the money” before getting too excited about renewed trade talks between the United States and China. As the phrase goes, traders “bought the rumour” leading up to the G20 meeting in Argentina that saw the presidents of the world’s two leading economies sit down over supper to […] Read more

It was a record breaking October for grain movement and export. October exports of all grains hit 4.737 million tonnes, up 14 percent over the same month in 2017.  |  File photo

Indonesia top importer as wheat sales remain brisk

It is always tricky to write a column with a deadline just as major news-making events are evolving. American President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly agreed on the weekend to temporarily cool down their trade war for 90 days to allow for new negotiations. And a White House statement said the Chinese […] Read more