Most of the province’s farmers say their service is poor and is getting worse; increased safety risks have been identified. | Getty image

Cellphone outrage grows in Manitoba

Most of the province’s farmers say their service is poor and is getting worse; increased safety risks have been identified

The death of a man in the Rural Municipality of Alonsa, Man., in an Aug. 3 tornado has highlighted simmering anger among farmers and rural people over what they believe is worsening cellphone service in many areas. Jack Furrie, 77, died when the EF-4 tornado hit his rural home. Since “upgrades” to local cell towers […] Read more

Hog producers are seeing prices that, if sustained, would crush the industry. Profitability is hard to predict, but the fall season might provide relative opportunities.  |  Michael Raine photo

Diving hog prices more of a grey swan than black swan

It’s been 10 years since the world learned what a black swan was, embracing the concept as the best-feeling explanation for the 2008-09 worldwide financial crisis. Today it’s worth looking back at that concept and book, by trader and supremely arrogant pontificator Nassim Nicholas Taleb, to see if we’ve learned its primary lessons, because we […] Read more

Price crash takes hog producers by surprise

The August price crash and lingering discounts mean some prairie hog farmers are going to get knocked out of the market. That’s the view of John Middel, an Alberta producer on the board of the Western Hog Exchange. At these prices we’re going to lose the independents,” said Middel, who is concerned Canadian packers still […] Read more

The Globe and Mail is reporting that Canadian negotiators are willing to deal away some dairy supply management protections in order to secure a NAFTA deal

White knuckle time for Canadian dairy and NAFTA

What will Canadian farmers need to sacrifice to save NAFTA?

It’s white knuckle time on NAFTA and there is a high chance of basic deal being agreed by Friday night. It’s going to affect Western Canadian farmers in a big way, but exactly how is too fluid for anybody to know, including Canada’s NAFTA lead Chrystia Freeland and the United States’ Robert Lighthizer. I can’t […] Read more

Supply management matters, but not in the way that its opponents or supporters probably want

Both internationally and domestically, supply management is at the centre of toxic, destructive politics

I’m sure supply management supporters and beneficiaries would most like to be ignored, to be able to run their farms and closed industrial system without anybody else thinking about it. They just want to farm. And I’m sure most supply management opponents would also like it to be a minor matter, an irritant but not […] Read more

Ottawa proposes banning neonicotinoids in five years. What would farmers do then?  | Michael Raine photo

Neonics ban: Now what?

A variety of chemicals can be used as a foliar spray to control flea beetles. 

More spraying. Higher costs. Lower yields. Fewer acres. Worse insect control. More fuel burned. Heavier equipment use. That’s what farmers will endure if the Pest Management Regulatory Agency pushes forward with its recommendation to ban neonicotinoids from canola production, say many farmers and canola experts. “Undoubtedly, there will be yield losses,” said Alberta farmer John […] Read more

The most likely impact of the Turkish lira crisis is that the Canadian dollar might slip a couple of pennies against the American dollar in the next few weeks if the crisis continues or spreads.  |  REUTERS/Murad Sezer illustration

Measures advised to help protect against falling loonie

Do you know how the Turkish crisis is going to work out? Me neither. But while I get to watch the situation in a professional capacity, getting intellectual joy out of it, you get to worry about how it is going to affect the value of hundreds of thousands or a couple of million dollars […] Read more

A shareholder arrives at Bayer’s annual general meeting in Bonn, Germany, May 25 as people protest against the merger of the pharmaceutical and chemical maker with U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company Monsanto. A recent court ruling that it inherited from Monsanto has slashed Bayer’s share value. |  REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay photo

Is Bayer crash just the beginning?

It’s like Bayer is waking up with a giant hangover, finding a painful brand on its butt that might not fade away. The German crop science giant has taken over Monsanto, but its rebranding of the much-maligned American company is being greatly complicated by a massive jury award against it, one that came only days […] Read more

Turkish currency crisis looms over world markets

The country is an important customer for ag commodities, but the big concern is if the crisis spreads to other countries

The world is holding its breath and hoping that Turkey’s currency crisis doesn’t spread to developing nations around the world. Not only would a currency crisis affect crop and meat prices worldwide, but it could also weaken buying power in specific markets that few people are talking about. “Turkey is more interesting than we think,” […] Read more

November canola proved it had some room to grow on Monday, closing a dollar higher at $511.90 per tonne. | Robin Booker photo

Does rushing decisions with poor data qualify as “sound science?”

Why is the PMRA in such a rush if the evidence against neonic seed treatments is weak and partial?

Farmers generally support using sound science as the basis for regulatory decisions on agriculture, including pesticide approvals and bans. They support sound science being the basis of Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. In fact, I was told that Monday by the Canola Council of Canada. Most policy-involved farmers have tended to think highly of the […] Read more