These days there are far fewer farms on the fields of Western Canada and it is easy to drive considerable patches of highway without seeing one. | File photo

Familiarizing non-farmers with agriculture a worthy goal

It’s getting tougher to be a farmer in a society that has fewer of them. For those of us who are in our second century of life, memories are still fresh of times when farms dotted the Prairies and for people in the cities, everybody had family back on the farm. The reality is very […] Read more

A woman sits inside a McDonald’s restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine, last fall. The company surprised analysts in November with higher sales and profitability than expected following the slump of the first months of the pandemic. Its net sales dropped only two percent from the previous year.  |  Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko photo

Food firms weather COVID

Despite the pandemic hammering its industry and customer base, food service giant Sysco managed to eke out a small profit amidst slumping sales in the second half of 2020. In that, it echoes the experience of other dominant food industry companies. A huge fall in Sysco’s sales was partially compensated for by reduced operating expenses […] Read more

There is a widespread perception that blocks of butter now, left at room temperature, do not get soft, as butter traditionally does. What's going on? | Getty Images

Hard questions on Canadian butter: What’s going on?

Foodies and home cooks across Canada have been chattering about Canadian butter and why it’s often so hard these days. Some toast butterers are fuming. (Look on Twitter and Facebook  to see just how many people are becoming engaged with this issue. It’s one of those “talkers” that gets people going.) There is a widespread […] Read more

Canola not GameStop, but options can still work there

Everybody’s talking about how options contracts can be used as weapons of mass destruction after seeing swarms of Reddit-organized minnows take down some of the big sharks of Wall Street. For farmers, it’s a good time to just think about using options in a grain hedging program, but for their traditional use as dull insurance […] Read more

Anecdotal reports are popping up from across the country about unusually firm blocks of butter that don't act the way some consumers expect. | Getty Images

Hard butter issues raise questions

Something’s gone wrong with butter in Canada, numerous people are saying. Instead of becoming soft and spreadable at room temperature, it remains hard. “This is a national phenomenon,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the Dalhousie University professor and expert in Canada’s food industry. “It’s happening everywhere. It appears to be a widespread problem.” Indeed, anecdotal reports are […] Read more

The wonderful, wild world of commodities

It’s been an exciting time to be in the commodity markets, which applies to all open market crop growers. That’s true as well if you mine copper, extract oil, smelt silver or play with Bitcoin. (I see Bitcoin as a commodity, not a currency.) The world’s glutted situation since 2014 has suddenly evaporated, at least […] Read more

Farmers might have mainly survived this crisis so far, but many are more aware of how a lack of preparedness can leave them more exposed.  | Getty Images

Planning habit worth keeping

The pandemic might have grounded most airplanes, but it has been like jet fuel for some, feeding many trends throughout the economy. An agricultural banker hopes one trend that keeps flying high post-pandemic is farmers’ embrace of strategic thinking. “I hope we come out of this pandemic with more emphasis being put on the importance […] Read more

Crop futures have witnessed a stunning rally since late last summer, soaring far beyond the expectations of any but a few analysts. | File photo

Take advantage of bull market opportunities: analyst

Farmers have a great opportunity to make sales into a bullish crop market. It’s an opportunity they should be taking seriously because these sorts of prices can evaporate, says MarketsFarm analyst Mike Jubinville. “I still want to be an incremental seller into that rising market,” he said about strong futures and cash market prices available […] Read more

If you missed the bizarre GameStop story, it involved hedge funds that had become exposed to a possible rise in the company’s shares getting targeted and exploited by Reddit-connected amateurs for a short squeeze and losing billions of dollars in a few days. | Screencap via YouTube/CNBC News

Farmers should learn from GameStop short-sellers’ pain

There weren’t a lot of tears shed for the Wall Street “Masters of the Universe” when they got their butts kicked by a bunch of basement-dwelling amateur investors in the epic GameStop short-squeeze. But even though they are hard to sympathize with, the Masters fell into a situation any farmer should be able to identify […] Read more

Butter demand took a hit in the 1980s and 1990s due to the massive growth of margarine and the association of dairy products with health conditions. However, those health concerns have been reduced recently by fresher research, and butter has become less expensive.  | Getty Images

Butter sales increased 12.4 percent last year

Dairy producers had a good year in 2020 despite early COVID hiccups and milk prices are expected to rise this year

Dairy farmers should face a much less dramatic 2021 than what they experienced in 2020, Farm Credit Canada reports. And in the end, 2020 didn’t end up too badly for most. “2021 will be a year of adjustments, but hopefully less volatile than 2020,” said FCC in a January commentary. “Although the pandemic forced temporary […] Read more