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Livestock producers have a solid lock on the “meat” market, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.  |  File photo

‘Meatless meat’ no threat to ranchers

P.T. Barnum, the quintessential American showman, might have found today’s food carnival more interesting and far more profitable than his namesake circus of yore. For example, slow food is taking note of the fast rise of meatless, or plant-based, burgers this year. Veggie burgers, their previous incarnation, are not new; the lovely Catherine has been […] Read more

Federal election must address agricultural issues

Anyone who checks out Maclean’s magazine’s policy platform tracker for the federal election campaign would be disappointed when they click on the tab for agriculture. Under every party’s name, it reads only, “No specific proposals yet.” This despite a 2017 report by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth identifying agriculture as one of […] Read more

Farm group proposes plan to mitigate trade losses for grain

All Canadian grain farmers have been hurt by the U.S.-China trade war. China has targeted Canadian canola and soybean exports, but trade action is affecting other commodities as well. Pulses have been impacted by the actions of India, durum by the actions of Italy and barley by the actions of Saudi Arabia. No one anticipated […] Read more


How to be a situationally aware farmer

Are you a situationally aware farmer? Surviving in Canadian agriculture has required this. Or, some might postulate that being completely unaware might be what allows farmers to remain in the business. Most people, economists included, would suggest that the barrier to entry for most agriculture is so high that only existing farm families can remain […] Read more

Market analysts will never run out of work

How often do you pull into the field with your combine and end up being surprised, either positively or negatively, by the yield? For me it happens all the time. I’d like to believe that I can estimate crop yield by plus or minus 10 percent, but the variance is often larger than that. Part […] Read more


Failing to act in trespass cases is irresponsible

Freedom of speech and freedom to protest does not equal the freedom to illegally enter farms, to take animals, to threaten or incite violence or to wreak emotional havoc on farmers. But that is happening, and farmers have seen repeatedly that they cannot depend on legal authorities to prosecute law-breakers when protesters invade their properties. […] Read more

There is no middle ground in Britain between expensive local food and cheaper imports. Canada could fill the gap.  |  Reuters/Stefan Wermuth photo

Opportunities abound for improving food exports to EU

There are opportunities in Europe for Canadian agriculture and food products, but we have to learn to play their game. I recently spent a couple weeks in Europe visiting relatives and travelling with family. In Great Britain, the cradle of the local food movement I noticed that the need to label everything as British is […] Read more

The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission argues that western Canadian farmers appear to be largely unaware that the changes being proposed to breeding programs could have a significant economic impact on their businesses.  |  File photo

Barley growers want royalty analysis

Canada’s barley breeding programs could look a lot different in the future than they do today. Proposed changes to these programs are a great concern to us at the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission because the viability of our industry depends on strong breeding programs. We are also concerned that western Canadian farmers seemingly remain largely […] Read more


Creative director’s work recognized

For the past 26 years, I have had the pleasure of working with a skilled graphic journalist. And for many of those she has been garnering not only the appreciation of you for her visual storytelling, but also her peers in the industry. The editorial staff at The Western Producer belong to several professional associations. […] Read more

Farmers face dismal prices and dismal returns

At the average yields being projected by Statistics Canada and with prevailing price levels, none of the typical crops in Saskatchewan cover total expenses. Some crops don’t even cover all their variable expenses. Crop prices used in this analysis come from numerous sources and I try to use an f.o.b. farm price on everything for […] Read more