It was politics and a lack of long-term economic vision by successive governments that stopped irrigation implementation in Saskatchewan in the 1970s and kept it halted. It’s time to take this job off the Prairies’ to-do list. | File photo

It’s about time the Prairies took irrigation off its to-do list

Irrigation expansion has its friends and foes. It doesn’t favour every farmer or segment of the industry or society equally. It picks regional winners and losers and requires all to share in some of the costs. Producers and municipalities in irrigatable areas generally pick up the lion’s shares of operations, but the expense isn’t exclusively […] Read more

Rural internet vital

How is your internet speed? If you live in rural Canada, almost half of you will say it’s not very good and about 10 percent will say “what high speed?” It’s a dismal situation in this modern age when connectivity is vital. Internet connection is integral to business, education and health care in Canada. That […] Read more

Plant technology rules need thorough review

Compared to other big crop-exporting countries, Canada has a unique way of looking at plant breeding regulations. No matter how a plant develops a new trait, that trait must be evaluated on its relative merits and potential threats. Whether a breeder uses gene dicing and splicing of a plant’s own genome or crosses and crosses […] Read more

World must remain on the globalization bandwagon

Not so long ago, in a land that is our backyard, lived a prospective trade environment. It was big and shiny and for all the world looked like it contained the best of what would be Canada’s future. It was full of promise. Canada would be one of the biggest winners, an exporter to all […] Read more

Fusarium off pest list; pleases Alta. farmers

In a wave from east to west, fusarium head blight has drifted and shifted its way across Western Canada. When it comes to Alberta’s history with the fungal foe, the battle to stop it by all means possible began in the late 1990s after a particularly bad few seasons of infection in the United States […] Read more

Grain farmers, depending on size, location and luck, might have fairly large AgriInvest deposits or none at all. | File photo

Feds must provide details to back up AgriInvest claim

Details matter when making decisions on the farm, but critical details are missing from the federal government’s inventory of Canadian farmers’ AgriInvest deposits. They’re either missing or the government doesn’t want to release that information for some reason. Either way, the details matter when governments try to justify lack of additional financial assistance for producers. […] Read more

Like flour in the grocery store this spring, globally there was enough supply. It was a supply chain problem that had consumers fighting over 10-pound bags and eventually going to local millers for supplies.
 | File photo

Almost everyone spreads their risk within the chain

Food doesn’t come from the grocery store. That is one of the lessons North Americans are learning during this pandemic. Another is learning to spread risk. Like other major industries that have been bent on a path to lower costs over time, food has been sourced globally from the cheapest suppliers it can find. Is […] Read more

Addison and Reagan Ross of the Camrose 4-H Beef Club par ticipate in a Zoom meeting. Like other groups, 4-H clubs have learned to be creative in holding meetings and shows.  |  Mike Ross photo

4-H members learn to do (differently) by doing

A young person’s 4-H livestock career is marked by the showing and often the selling of their stock. Season-long projects take a lot of heart, time and learning, all of it evaluated and measured at achievement day. This year, the usual culmination of 4-H livestock projects is missing due to pandemic restrictions and health risk […] Read more

South of the border, Canadian farmers’ direct competitors are receiving more than $25 billion to combat COVID-19 challenges.
 That is about $75 per American citizen. In Canada, it’s less than $8 per citizen in direct payments and labour support for farmers. | File photo

BRMs need an overhaul, but patch it at least

Producers and governments must use all the tools available if they are going to fix the current breakdowns in Canadian agriculture. For now, they might have to delay regular maintenance and concentrate on the stuff that will keep producers in the field this year. Canadian agricultural support systems were designed around business risk management tools. […] Read more

Livestock needs forecast to deal with bad weather

Storm clouds have gathered over Canada’s livestock industry. And although federal and provincial governments can’t change the weather, they can assist the nation’s livestock producers to weather the current storm. So far, they haven’t. They must, and do it quickly. Many livestock producers are making COVID-19 plans today that will determine whether they have a […] Read more