Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wave during happier times between the two countries. The best approach to take now with China might be to not kowtow to the Asian powerhouse but also endeavour to allow the situation to cool and avoid provoking the dragon.  |  Reuters/Chris Wattie photo

Canada can do business with China despite the yelling

You might have noticed that China is tightening the screws on Australia, telling Chinese importers to avoid buying Australian cotton. You might have heard China’s ambassador to Canada last week seeming to threaten Canadians living in Hong Kong if Canada accepts political refugees from the former British colony. Did you notice that Canada’s exports to […] Read more


Manitoba feed program proceeds without provincial share

Ottawa takes unusual step of proceeding with the subsidy program despite province’s refusal to contribute its 40 percent

Manitoba beef cattle producers will soon be able to get feed subsidies from a federal-provincial program, says Manitoba Agriculture Minister Blaine Pedersen. But the money is 40 percent less than it would have been because Manitoba isn’t providing its usual share of this sort of program, which alarms Manitoba’s main farmer organizations. “Manitoba Beef Producers […] Read more


For farmers, options are a sadly neglected tool in marketing and risk management. | Getty Images

Options are neglected tool in managing marketing risk

Option contracts are getting a lot of attention these days — for all the wrong reasons. They have been massively used and abused, often to disastrous results, by the hordes of homebound, overconfident young men idled by the pandemic, who flocked to trading platforms like Robinhood to make overnight riches. Many of them put everything […] Read more

China, COVID ruined pork party

Canadian pork exports were surging from December 2018 to May 2019, but then trade disputes and packer slowdowns got in the way

Canadian hog producers were on the path to good times before Chinese complications and COVID-19 derailed producers, Statistics Canada analysis shows. However, the recovery of the North American packing industry since the pandemic shock and the return of China to buying Canadian pork have reversed some of the damage. “After the reopening of the Chinese […] Read more


As they work with commercial growers in Mexico and plan to roll out a range of short-stature corn crops in the United States, Europe and around the Asia-Pacific region, Bayer’s developers think dwarf corn varieties will be a big hit. | Bayer photo

Seed company bets on short stature corn

Bayer says benefits of dwarf varieties include higher plant counts per acre and tighter rows that better protect the soil

Shorter and denser: that’s the path to better sustainability for corn crops, Bayer crop scientists believe. As they work with commercial growers in Mexico and plan to roll out a range of short-stature corn crops in the United States, Europe and around the Asia-Pacific region, the company’s developers think dwarf corn varieties will be a […] Read more

Subsidies help drive divergence in hog herds

Report says U.S. support allows expansion there to continue while cramping Canadian farmers’ ability to be profitable

One pig herd has stagnated. One has greatly expanded. What’s behind the different growth rates of the Canadian and American herds? American subsidies have a lot to do with it, argue Al Mussell and Douglas Hedley of Agri-Food Economic Systems, a Guelph, Ont., analytical firm. Subsidies south of the border have allowed American farmers to […] Read more

Food system’s fragility, complexity revealed

Specialized supply chains where producers have only one outlet can cause significant problems when chain is disrupted

John Kowalchuk was worried about the most important farm labour he’s got: his own family. Because harvest demanded 100 percent of everybody’s available time, he fretted about what would happen if he or another family member went down with COVID-19. “You can lose two weeks (if you get infected) and during the busy season two […] Read more


Tweaks and improvements won’t save farmers from being crushed by subsidies being offered to American farmers and an increasingly protectionist world trading system. | File photo

Ottawa urged to act before agricultural safety net fails

Failing to add major big-money elements to farm support programs ignores dramatic events like sudden market access losses and threatens to make AgriStability irrelevant

Farmers face financial ruin if Canada’s farm safety net isn’t radically expanded, says an analysis by economic outfit Agri-Food Economic Systems. Tweaks and improvements won’t save farmers from being crushed by subsidies being offered to American farmers and an increasingly protectionist world trading system. “The elements are lining up to present much greater risks to […] Read more

Canadian farmers, with their relative lack of support from their governments, are in a vulnerable position. They won’t be the only losers if they don’t get more support to match U.S. and other subsidies and market measures. | Twitter/@WhiteHouse photo

Federal help needed to stop farmers becoming losers

Canadian farmers aren’t supposed to be the agricultural world’s losers. But they could become that if Ottawa and the provinces don’t step up to give them the level playing field they need. If other countries are going to back their farmers with money, inflicting damage to the global price structure for crops and meat, Canada […] Read more