Soybean prices remain at the worst levels they’ve suffered since the end of the commodities boom, while corn, the other bellwether crop, is stumbling along beneath US$4 per bushel.  |  File photo

Worries abound as markets wallow in distressing times

The world has a lot to worry about. That has been demonstrated in a way that those of us who follow markets closely can see most clearly: in the prices of commodities and stocks. The S&P 500 index is still well underneath levels it first surpassed in late 2017 and is still near correction territory […] Read more

Jonathan Tepper, author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, frequently cites agriculture in his discussion of modern threats to competition and consumer welfare.  |  Ed White photo

Corporate power threatens farmers: author

A new book calls for a series of cartel-busting and giant-regulating steps that could restore economic welfare and vitality

The vast and intrusive power of near-monopolies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple has drawn much hostility from consumer advocates in recent years. But the digital giants are just the newest form of crippling monopolies, monopsonies, duopolies and oligarchies that are strangling western economies, according to writer and analyst Jonathan Tepper. And the situation in […] Read more

Farmers say they liked the agronomic services provided by the Canola Council of Canada but haven’t decided if they will need to take steps to replace them.  |  File photo

Provincial groups assess canola council cuts

Grower organizations say they would be willing to spend more to fill the gaps created by national reorganization

Canola-grower members of provincial canola organizations support the reductions of the Canola Council of Canada, but are taking a wait-and-see approach before pronouncing final judgment. They say they’re willing to consider filling gaps that appear and to spend more on farmer priorities. “We’re going to assess this first year and see how it rolls out […] Read more

China shows up several times on a list of agricultural issues to watch in the upcoming year.  | REUTERS/Thomas Peter photo

Trade and interest rates hang over 2019 — oh, and the weather

Here’s are the issues and questions I’m pondering as we tread into 2019: China and specific actions against Canada Probably the biggest single direct impact on Canadian farmers would be a specific trade action against Canada by China, which at the end of 2018 was in a rage against this country. Blocking or restricting canola […] Read more

Corporate social media does not have to be boring

This column is the third in a series about Instagrammers who focus on prairie farming. The grain-handling business can seem dull and dusty. And in this era of Big Concrete, it can appear to lack history and grace, to operate and exist unmoored to tradition and grandeur. But that’s not how it seems if you […] Read more

Bayer says increased regulatory scrutiny is prompting chemical and seed companies to merge as a way to access the resources that are required to meet the new challenges.  |  Reuters/Ina Fassbender photo

Bayer easing into new roles with Monsanto takeover

CALGARY — Despite all the regulatory headaches, the bad public relations and the enormous scientific challenges, the head of Bayer CropScience Canada sounds delighted with his company’s acquisition of Monsanto and the future of farming. “I miss InVigor every day, but it’s gone,” Al Driver, Bayer CropScience Canada chief executive officer, said about one of […] Read more

Farmers say the cash advance program can be a distraction from the more important parts of their business.  |  File photo

Cash advances often not worth the hassle for farmers

When is free money not worth it? When it’s too much hassle in a business where time is money. That’s the message I’m getting from a number of farmers I’ve talked with about why they don’t use cash advances, which seem like free money, in a theoretical sense. In reality, the financial gain just doesn’t […] Read more

In a conference filled with progressive farmers looking for the newest information on machinery innovations, digital developments and management insights, Danielle Wildfong was pleasantly surprised to find a room full of farmers awaiting her. | Twitter/@EdWhiteMarkets photo

Personality profiling helps find right worker

More producers are taking the human resources field seriously as they face a critical labour shortage on their farms

CALGARY — In a conference filled with progressive farmers looking for the newest information on machinery innovations, digital developments and management insights, Danielle Wildfong was pleasantly surprised to find a room full of farmers awaiting her. After all, her New School Human Resources presentation might be considered a “soft” subject compared to the big iron […] Read more

Canada torn between two trade bullies with the U.S. and China

Best approach: stay standing and don't cry

Canada is torn between two bullies, feeling like a fool. Dealing with both of them is breaking all our hopes. With our belligerent erstwhile friend to the south having recently finished savaging us in the NAFTA2 negotiations, and China presently raging at us and locking up unlucky Canadians, it’s a very, very, very uncomfortable time […] Read more