The argument for a return to small-scale production would see Saskatchewan return to 1970 agriculture, with millions of acres of summerfallow, high rates of soil erosion and very poor soil organic matter, says U of S professor Stuart Smyth. | WP illustration

CBC interviewee’s suggestions would set agriculture back 50 years

On July 30, CBC radio’s Saskatoon Morning program interviewed Saskatchewan farmer and former National Farmers Union executive Nettie Wiebe, in part, about modern farming practices in Saskatchewan (along with Carla Fehr, both representing La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement). The interview appeared to lack balance by who it decided to invite to speak on […] Read more

How to facilitate more rapid adoption of future genomic innovations was a key theme at a recent agricultural biotechnology conference. |  File photo

Crop science can boost sustainability

Efforts to achieve sustainability through crop science, in particular through the genome editing technique called CRISPR, proved to be a key theme at a recent conference in Italy The ICABR conference, held June 4-7 in Ravello, Italy, attracted about 130 people from academia, government and industry, to discuss the latest research on the bioeconomy and […] Read more

Regulations add costs to the products we buy, and if a product is no longer novel, such as herbicide tolerant canola, then the regulations could be lifted, lowering the price of products to consumers.  |  File photo

Herbicide tolerance is no longer novel

In Canada, new plant varieties are regulated based on the final product, not the process used to create the variety. A herbicide-tolerant canola variety is regulated based on the traits that make the new variety novel, not the breeding process used to create it, such as genetic modification. Canada uses a science-based risk assessment and […] Read more


Removing politics from the regulation of crops and foods could have the greatest impact on improving food security.  |  File photo

What does 2019 hold for agriculture?

When it came to making predictions, Carnac the Magnificent, a comedic role played by late night talk show host Johnny Carson, was on top of his game. Too bad for us, it’s tougher predicting what the coming year may hold for food and agriculture. Unlike me, Johnny Carson had the benefit of a gifted sense […] Read more

Removing livestock from much of the ranch and pastureland wouldn’t likely increase food production or sustainability.  |  File photo

Livestock removal hurts sustainability

In discussions over food security and climate change, a common statement made by non-governmental organizations is that one of our staple food sources, livestock protein, needs to be eliminated from human consumption to meet future food demands as well as greenhouse gas emission targets. One of the main arguments made is that cutting livestock from […] Read more


The author wonders how many people outside of farming would be comfortable making the types of risk decisions that producers make every spring.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Billions go into ground each spring

Saskatchewan farmers have spent an average of $1.75 billion on fertilizer and $675 million on fuel every year for the past five years

Farmers are in a unique position among businesses. They must invest billions of dollars months before any profits can be reaped. Across the country, farmers will be busy seeding Canada’s millions of crop acres over the next two months. This spring, Saskatchewan farmers will seed more than 40 percent of Canada’s farmland, or 43 million […] Read more

Removing the use of agricultural chemicals would be devastating for farmers in the developing world, such as this maize producer from Zimbabwe, and lead to millions of needless deaths because of malnourishment or starvation.  | REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo photo

UN council corrupted by activists

It is astounding that any organization would advocate for in-creasing food insecurity, yet this is exactly what the United Nations’ Human Rights Council did in its Jan. 24 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. It has done so by calling for the removal of chemicals in the agricultural production of food. […] Read more

So far, more than 40 academics have been publicly accused of being corrupted by the biotech industry. | File photo

Anti-biotech group uses big tobacco strategy to refute GM research

In 1839, in the historical play Cardinal Richelieu, playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Since 2014, in both the United States and Canada, the pen has been progressively attacked by the sword. Academic freedoms of biotech researchers have been attacked by an organization known as the US Right to […] Read more


Food makers are latching on to the gluten-free label, even though their products never contained wheat protein.  |  Getty photo

Just how free is gluten-free?

Food fads come and go, as do dieting fads, but you might be less aware of food labelling fads. Food and beverage companies know that consumers have limited awareness about how products are made and use this to their marketing advantage. A few examples of this have been organic maple syrup, verified non-genetically modified tomatoes […] Read more

Reduced herbicide use is one of the key benefits of genetically modified crops.  |  File photo

New York Times ignored GM crop benefits

The New York Times claimed Oct. 29 that it had conducted an “extensive examination” of genetically modified crops and found their benefits to be lacking. The use of the word “‘extensive” by the media is a bit of an oxymoron. It is certainly the case in this situation because the Times would appear to have […] Read more