Looking back at trying times. A trader works near a monitor displaying stock prices on the main trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange early in a trading session, Dec. 8, 2008, that was hoped to prevent a major recession.  |  REUTERS/Mike Segar photo

Hedging makes sense, but manage them

Editor’s note: This the second of a series of columns looking at the lessons learned from the financial crisis of 2008. David Derwin doesn’t have trouble remembering where he was and what he was doing as the financial world fell apart. “I was in the hospital, trying to keep an eye on what was going […] Read more

Oats have built a healthy reputation among consumers, but reports pointing out the existence of low levels of glyphosate residue in oat-based food may be damaging that reputation.  |  File photo

Glyphosate residues threaten oats

Oats is the crop that received the first U.S. health claim approval. It’s commonly seen as a miracle food that combines whole-grain, high fibre and heart-healthy characteristics. It forms the basis of many of the healthiest breakfast foods available, including oatmeal, Cheerios and granola bars. But recently it’s been hit by multiple claims that glyphosate […] Read more

A sign hangs in a window at Fishs Eddy store in New York Dec. 24, 2008. The global recession manifested itself in big and small ways, most gloomy, some quirky and often reflecting the inventive human spirit. A series of Hedge Row columns will look at the lessons Canadian farmers can learn from the crisis.  |  REUTERS/Michelle Nichols photo

Remembering the lessons from the 2008 financial crisis

Do you remember where you were 10 years ago when we fell into a worldwide financial crisis? (It still doesn’t have a generally accepted name, with the Great Contraction, the Financial Crisis and the Great Recession being most commonly used.) What did it mean to you and your farm? What lessons have you drawn from […] Read more


The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture was warmly received when he appeared at the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance conference June 5. He and former Quebec premier and senior federal cabinet minister  Jean Charest held a

Nothing new in US NAFTA position: Class 7 will be at the core of any deal

That's good and bad news, but at least we know what the US wants

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has been remarkably consistent about his country’s main agricultural concern – and demand – with Canada that it wants dealt with in a new NAFTA: Class 7 milk has shut off a growing market for U.S. dairy exports, and it has led to an increase of Canadian exports into […] Read more

General Mills Inc agreed to stop calling the oats in its Nature Valley granola bars 100 percent natural to settle a lawsuit by three consumer groups that said the bars contained small amounts of the pesticide commonly known as Roundup. | File photo

Pesticide residues vex food firms

Food companies are struggling with costly challenges launched by anti-pesticide activists. While they are not facing mega-costs like Bayer is facing with the recent US$289 million jury judgment against Monsanto, activist lawsuits and claims are causing food companies to spend time and resources on lawyers and repackaging. General Mills, the food and cereals colossus that […] Read more


The Class 7 solution seemed to solve some of the Canadian dairy sector’s problems, but the export component angered the American industry.  |  File photo

Supply management in trouble even if it survives NAFTA

The worst outcome from any North American Free Trade Agreement deal would be a supply management system that survives but is weakened. Saving free access to the United States, if that happens, will be a blessed relief for all the Canadian crop, livestock and food businesses. And if dairy supply management manages to survive, even […] Read more

U.S. under pressure to sign with Canada

Who’s calling whose NAFTA bluff? Has U.S. President Donald Trump forced Canada to buckle to his bluster and bravado, or have supporters of Canada and preserving the pact forced Trump to give up most of his ambitions and accept tinkering rather than revolution? “It is not a forgone conclusion that Congress will accept a bilateral […] Read more

Neonic ban causes widespread concern

Concern about losing neonicotinoid pesticides spreads much further than the canola industry as farmers coast to coast fret over how they could be affected by the threatened ban. “We have to be doing something every year,” Prince Edward Island potato grower Ray Keenan said about insect control on his farm. Wireworms can be a serious […] Read more


Ontario farmers, such as this soybean grower near Sweaburg, have already got a taste of what it’s like to have their neonicotinoid use restricted.  |  File photo

Proposed neonic ban frustrates Ontario farmers

Province imposed restrictions in 2013-14, requiring independent agronomists to write ‘prescriptions’ for neonic use

Ontario farmers are frustrated that they haven’t been given enough of a chance to prove they can safely use neonicotinoids. They think the best management practices adopted a few years ago have eliminated most of the threat from former application methods for the crucial insecticides. “We dealt with that,” said Barry Senft, chief executive officer […] Read more

European governments faced significant public pressure to ban neonicotinoids because of concerns over the effects on bees, such as this demonstration in front of the European Parliament in Brussels in 2013.  |  REUTERS/Eric Vidal photo

European neonic ban cut canola yields: study

Yield losses ranged from less than one percent to more than 20 percent, depending on the degree of insect pressure

The European Union’s ban on neonicotinoids has been a costly, environmentally dubious and regressive mistake, argues a study conducted for the EU’s farming and agriculture industries. The author also voices the same perplexity with the EU regulators’ resistance to comparative studies that many Canadian farmers and agriculture people are now expressing about Health Canada’s Pest […] Read more