Most farmers look at futures prices and nearby elevator prices and leave it at that.
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Lots of market information available for those who look

Most farmers look at futures prices and nearby elevator prices and leave it at that. They don’t want or need to understand markets beyond that. That’s OK if a farmer is willing to look at prices, set targets and get a simple sense of the likely future. He can then get back to other parts […] Read more

Economists say cow-calf producers aren’t in bad shape now because they don’t have to sell calves, but they are fearful of the market six months from now.  |  Wendy Dudley photo

Pandemic not affecting all cattle sectors equally

The beef industry has been walloped by COVID-19, but that whupping has left some parts of the system bruised and wailing while other parts are OK for now. Who’s hurt and who’s fine could change dramatically, depending upon how long the crisis continues, say some analysts looking at the impact of the crisis. “If markets […] Read more

Empty grocery store shelves are among the factors that some point to when arguing for a wholesale overhaul of the country’s food production.  |  Reuters/Carlos Osorio photo

Food system a disaster or a success? The jury is still out

We don’t think well or wisely after suffering a shock. We haven’t even gotten past the shock of COVID-19 to be able to develop thoughts much beyond surviving. That’s why it’s so hard to tell if our farm and food system has proven itself to be an utter disaster or a screaming success. We’re too […] Read more


Government payments are a key element of today’s farm sustainability, Nate Franzen of First Dakota National Bank said in a May 20 Granular Ag farm economics discussion about direct payments to farmers.
 However, since it is ad hoc and unpredictable, it’s hard to factor into farm financial plans. | File photo

Gov’t aid programs help U.S. farmers stay profitable

American farmers have been squeezed since the end of the commodity boom. Half fell into unprofitability in 2016, but since then government payments have kept most in the green. “That is going through the roof in this environment,” Nate Franzen of First Dakota National Bank said in a May 20 Granular Ag farm economics discussion […] Read more

Getting it dried down - Producers might need to begin thinking earlier in the year about harvesting strategies for their pulse crops. With tricky MRL limits for the dessicant diquat and more strictly enforced use of the herbicide glyphosate, swathing crop such as lentils may once again be they way farmers dry things down.   |  Michael Raine photo

Farmers urged to follow markets, not labels, on chemical residue

Following the label isn’t enough. In today’s fraught world trading environment, meeting label requirements with products under scrutiny in foreign markets could lead to disaster. “Go talk to the buyer,” urged Greg Bartley, the manager of crop quality for Pulse Canada, in an interview. “You need to pay attention to the MRLs (maximum residue limits) […] Read more


Ag leaders come to the defence of food exports

Antipathy to food exports is worrying some farm and food leaders. In the United States and Canada, food exports have been criticized for continuing to occur while some store shelves have fallen empty and some grocery stores had trouble bringing in certain food products, including meat. “It is a very sensitive area that we have […] Read more

Don’t expect too much, no matter what happens with Meng

Whatever happens Wednesday, China will not be a market we can count on again

Tomorrow (Wednesday) a B.C. Supreme Court judge will release the ruling on whether or not to uphold the validity of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s arrest and detention on a U.S. extradition request. A lot of people are hoping Meng gets released, goes back to China, that China calms down, the two Michaels are released and […] Read more

“If they are not accessing the programs that are available to them, it’s harder for me to get more,” Marie-Claude Bibeau said May 14, the day a $100 million agribusiness support program was announced.
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Bibeau repeats plea to farmers to use existing BRM funds

Agriculture minister says it is difficult for her to obtain more government money if programs are not already accessed

Canada’s agriculture minister is asking farmers to help her to get more support money for them. To do that, they’ll need to use the money already in their business risk management accounts and show where it isn’t adequate, she warns. “If they are not accessing the programs that are available to them, it’s harder for […] Read more


The New North Star 2 report issued by the Public Policy Forum calls canola an example of the public and private sector working together to create a booming commercial industry.  |  File photo

New industrial policy urged

Canada needs to embrace and speed ahead with a focused industrial policy to defend against the threats of the new geopolitical cold war, a national think tank says. With COVID-19 accelerating trends that have shredded Canada’s previous and current approach to economic development and trade, developing an directed industrial policy needs to happen now. “The […] Read more

Economists say farmers will likely be OK during COVID

Should we have been better prepared for a shock like COVID-19? Is the present jolting rollout of emergency farm support programs, like the federal government’s $252 million and $100 million recently announced packages, Farm Credit Canada’s much-boosted lending capacity, and the extension of payback deadlines for cash advances, an alarming proof that we should have […] Read more