Scenes from the field reveal the nature of farmers

A large, powerful jackrabbit is bounding through the pea crop in front of the combine. His hiding place has been disturbed by the harvest operation, but he’s afraid to leave the cover provided by the thick peas. Outside of the crop, he’d be nimble and fast. Within the peas he struggles, the vines slowing his […] Read more

Have you ever considered an equity partner?

Want to expand your farm for the next generation? Want to buy out some of your landlords? Want to work your way out of a difficult financial situation? A Canadian company called Area One Farms partners with producers to meet these sorts of objectives. The company has relied on word-of-mouth advertising and even though it […] Read more

Fallout widespread from pulse processor closure

The financial demise of Ilta Grain is sending shockwaves through the prairie grain industry. For the hundreds of farmers owed money by Ilta, the key question is whether or not Ilta’s bond with the Canadian Grain Commission will be large enough to cover the unpaid grain deliveries. Producers may get all of their money or […] Read more

Income from hail or other private insurance has in the past reduced payments from government programs such as AgriStability as it seen as farm income.  |  Michael Raine photo

Integrate AgriStability with private insurance

There was an important development at the meeting of Canada’s ministers of agriculture in Quebec City that didn’t receive a lot of initial attention. The commitment to better align business risk management programs (farm safety nets) with tools from the private sector represents a breakthrough. Most producers probably don’t realize this, but if you receive […] Read more

Equipment upgrade decisions can be difficult

While it’s always interesting to see the new tractors, combines and high clearance sprayers at shows such as Ag in Motion, many producers won’t be accessing that technology for five, 10 or even 15 years. Especially on the large ticket items, new equipment just doesn’t make economic sense for most moderate-sized producers. Fortunately, used equipment […] Read more

There is never a shortage of things to worry about

‘You farmers are never happy, always complaining.” I’m sure you’ve heard this from non-farming friends and family over the years. I don’t think we actually complain all the time; it’s just that there’s always something to worry about. For most of the growing season in a big chunk of Western Canada, drought was the number […] Read more

Options limited when dealing with a trade bully

The schoolyard bully has you cornered with his hands clasped around your throat. Do you: Smile and pretend everything is fine? Stay calm and try to reason with the bully? Call for help from a dubious ally? Capitulate and promise to hand over all your lunch money? Kick him in the shins even though resistance […] Read more

Who’s testing agronomic truths of the past?

About 100 years ago when I was in ag college, it seemed that western Canadian agronomy had largely been figured out. The textbooks and lectures didn’t leave much room for ambiguity. These days, despite many more years of research, very little seems certain. Doing soil tests before deciding upon fertilizer rates has long been a […] Read more

Unfortunately, over a big chunk of Saskatchewan, a full drought recovery is no longer possible.
 | Paul Yanko photo

Recent showers generate a glimmer of hope

It’s difficult to know if the weather pattern has changed, but some of the parched regions of Western Canada finally received a bit of rain. Unfortunately, over a big chunk of Saskatchewan, a full drought recovery is no longer possible. While crop conditions vary dramatically from one localized area to another and even one field […] Read more

Steps to de-risk agriculture have side-effects

In times of dropping farm incomes, the natural tendency for farmers and farm groups is to call for government assistance. What many fail to realize is that de-risking agriculture is not simple and it can have unintended side-effects. Ask any group of grain farmers about the problems they face and the list will likely include […] Read more