Gerry, left, Ray, Jill, Roger, Brice and Rodney Verwey are helping raise money for STARS.  |  Ed White photo

Family takes on project for air ambulance

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. — Sometimes modern technology helps farmers grow bigger and better crops. And sometimes it helps to give them away. “The guys were sitting in their tractors this spring and they got talking,” said Jill Verwey, who is married to one of the four Verwey brothers who farm together around the Portage […] Read more

Study highlights Americans’ protectionist dairy policy

If you listen to U.S. President Donald Trump, the United States is a free-trading hero that is being abused by protectionist “freeloaders” like Canada. Especially with Canadian restrictions on dairy imports, the U.S. president has presented an image of fair-trading American dairy farmers being taken advantage of by outrageous Canadian rules to protect that country’s […] Read more

A lot of macronutrient research has been done on proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and many pharmaceutical products have been studied, but vitamin research has lagged in the hog industry.  |  File photo

Vitamin research need IDed

DES MOINES, Iowa — Outdated and inappropriate vitamin knowledge could be cleared away with some major research centres being established, nutrition company DSM thinks. “We’ll be able to produce a lot of data quickly,” said Casey Bradley, who is organizing a network of large-scale hog research farms. While there is a lot of macronutrient research […] Read more

Sow reproductive issues may be traced to other causes

DES MOINES, Iowa — Vitamin inadequacies are being ignored in swine management because of misunderstandings in sow-culling reports, some nutritional experts think. “Producers check (off) what they see last,” said Iowa State University nutritional researcher Ken Stalder. “The primary reason often doesn’t get recorded in their reporting systems.” Many North American sow herds have “unacceptable” […] Read more

Researcher wants new hog productivity measurements

DES MOINES, Iowa — Nutritional researchers at the World Pork Expo challenged farmers to rethink commonly accepted pig productivity assumptions. “The levels (of vitamins) necessary to merely prevent gross deficiencies are not enough to optimize productivity,” said DSM researcher Jonathan Bergstrom. The difference between providing sufficient nutrients to avoid problems and providing enough for maximum production […] Read more

Not knowing how long the trade dispute between China and the United States will last makes the pricing and hedging of continentally and internationally traded commodities a riskier proposition on both sides of the border.  |  File photo

Assuming trade war will end soon is risky marketing move

Assumptions and reasonable expectations can be risky when the world goes crazy. That’s true in agricultural markets right now, with United States President Donald Trump’s multi-front trade war just beginning to bring economic bloodshed. It makes hedging everyday production risks more fraught than usual. Before I discuss these risks a bit more, let me muse […] Read more

The pork industry has determined that a lot of consumers don’t know how to cook its product.  |  Getty images

Pork industry strives for consumer simplicity

National Pork Board in the United States works with meal kit providers to supply consumers with ready-to-cook products

DES MOINES, Iowa — People don’t know how to prepare and cook pork. So now the food and pork industries are preparing it for them and showing them how to cook it. The U.S. pork industry is working with “meal kit” providers to help supply ready-to-cook, pork-based ingredient packages to consumers’ doors. “It’s a great […] Read more

Marnie Scott said she was surprised years ago when she discovered that there was no comprehensive and refined public listing of Canadian-made products.
 | Screencap via

Website develops list of food that originates in Canada

What’s a “Canadian” food product? Where can you find Canadian foods? Those are questions Marnie Scott hopes can be answered by her website “There are so many ways of showing that something has got some Canadian content that it confuses the consumer,” said Scott, an economic development specialist who is now a consultant for […] Read more

The bacon craze is proving to be more than a passing fad.  |  Michael Raine photo illustration

Bacon market remains hot

DES MOINES, Iowa — Everything’s better wrapped in bacon. At least, that’s how the pork market acted last year, pushing pork belly prices high as demand surged. It provided a lot of cash value to the overall pork carcass and gave farmers more dollars in their pockets. Was it just a fad? Has it faded […] Read more

Closed market access because of the discovery of genetically modified wheat plants in Alberta may upend the predictable market cycles on which hedging is based.  |  File photo

Unpredictability makes hedging difficult for producers

There are some things you can count on in the crop and meat markets: Crops are volatile but rise from spring toward August and then sell off as weather worries arise and then dissipate. Pork prices rise into midsummer as barbecuers work their grills, and then sell off. Except when those things don’t happen, like […] Read more