Ottawa tunes out prairie agricultural concerns

Ottawa is becoming steadily less friendly to agriculture, especially agriculture in the West. Rather than starting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, let’s look at the opposition. With Andrew Scheer as the new leader of the Conservatives, you’d think agriculture would have some priority. After all, Scheer is from Saskatchewan. However, so far he has […] Read more

Good year for large green lentils and chickpeas

Even though yields are down and the price is not inspiring, canola is the crop that will pay the bills on a lot of prairie farms this year. However, if you farm in an area that can grow large green lentils or chickpeas, those crops show returns that eclipse canola. While the recent estimates from […] Read more

Decisions can’t be too sentimental, or too cold

Do you ever make business decisions for sentimental reasons? Hard-nosed business people decry the fact that farmers often let sentimentality overrule practicality. Farming is a business, they argue. It’s no different than other businesses and there’s no room for an unreasonable attachment to land or belongings. It’s true that emotional attachment shouldn’t be the ruling […] Read more

It’s not an epidemic drought, despite reports

People not directly connected to agriculture could rightly assume, based on everything they read and hear, that much of the Prairies has been crippled by drought. On top of that, grain prices are poor and farmers are suffering from mental illness caused by financial stress. In this world of instant communication and social media, we […] Read more

Several scary reasons to sleep with a light on

With Donald Trump in the White House and a general public increasingly disconnected from food production, new threats have emerged for Canadian agriculture. Of course, there are still plenty of old threats to worry about. Markets are ever changing and just as susceptible as ever to disruptions, oversupply and trade barriers. And we still live […] Read more

AgriStability change less than overwhelming

The recent change to AgriStability is less significant and less helpful than it initially appeared. When federal and provincial agriculture ministers met in Newfoundland and Labrador, their big announcement was the signing of a new five-year agreement with some changes to the business risk management programs, specifically AgriStability and AgriInvest. Previous five-year agreements were Growing […] Read more

Drought, loonie major ag issues this summer

Predicting the future is wrought with pitfalls because you don’t know what you don’t know. However, a couple of major developments will have wide-ranging impacts across the agriculture sector. Let’s deal first with the increased value of the Canadian dollar. At 80 cents, it isn’t high by historical standards, but it has strengthened dramatically in […] Read more

AgriStability reference margin change a good start

There won’t be many accolades and certainly no victory parades, but federal and provincial agriculture ministers are doing a number of things right when it comes to the business risk management programs. Starting in 2018, the next five-year agriculture policy framework will officially be called Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and while funding for farm safety nets […] Read more

Don’t take health for granted no matter your age

A young farmer bought a new side-by-side at his local dealership. It’s a handy rig for a lot of farm tasks, and the old one needed repairs. Since it was only a few miles to the farm, he decided to just drive the new purchase home. Cruising down a grid road, a back tire fell […] Read more

Heat and lack of rain major growing issues

Prolonged heat and below normal rainfall are shaping up as the defining factors for this year’s growing season. They are affecting farmers and the entire agricultural industry in a multitude of ways. It’s common to get some summer days above 30 C. Getting weeks with temperatures almost steadily in that range hasn’t happened for a […] Read more