Must Reads


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Formal events during the day put on by Farm Credit Canada and other organizers were fine enough, but it was mostly preaching to the converted. | Screencap via

One group escaped the echo chamber on Agriculture Day

If the point of Agriculture Day is to celebrate and promote agriculture, it sort-of succeeded on the first and failed on the second. Celebrations were done mostly inside an echo chamber. Industry people went; nobody else heard much about it. Industry can look outside of itself to see there are effective ways to talk about […] Read more

The National Farmers Union argues the economic and farming models that producers accepted as a pathway to advancement are failing the majority of them, leading to higher stress and more fragile mental health.  | Getty Images

Mental health has economic roots

Prince Edward Island agriculture minister Bloyce Thompson said recently that more Island farmers are reaching out for mental health support through the P.E.I. Farmers Assistance Program. He noted that the number of calls in 2019 was 140, increasing to 293 in 2020. Thompson said navigating a hot, dry summer during the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult […] Read more

As Canadians, we need to figure out how we’re going to reconcile economics with morality when it comes to China. | File photo

Canada must find an answer to the China problem

Got to love China for all the products they buy from us. At the same time, got to deplore China for their human rights record. As Canadians, we need to figure out how we’re going to reconcile economics with morality. The Conservative opposition in Ottawa scored a big political win against the governing Liberals with […] Read more

The hullabaloo is based largely on anecdotal evidence — in other words, lots of people saying their butter doesn’t get soft anymore, even when they leave it out of the fridge. | Getty Images

Investigating the perplexing butter mystery

You may have noticed that The Western Producer has been following the simmering debate in this country over butter. Winnipeg reporter Ed White has written a couple of stories (the most-recent is here) about whether butter has become harder and whether palm oil in dairy cow rations is to blame. The hullabaloo is based largely […] Read more

It is uncertain how many Canadians knew their emergency benefits would be taxable. | File photo

Tax department claws back portion of COVID-19 benefits

The federal government has acted, in most cases, reasonably quickly to provide emergency funding to those in our economy who have been most disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. To its credit, the government also moved promptly to fill in the gaps in its original decisions that left some Canadians out in the cold. We now […] Read more

Letters to the editor – March 4, 2021

Grain drying vote was telling Recently Parliament voted on private member’s bill C-206.This bill would give producers a reprieve from carbon taxes associated with drying grain. The bill was supported by all parties except the governing Liberals. Jim Carr, the government’s special representative to the Prairies, along with Kevin Lamoureux, Dan Vandal and Terry Duguid, […] Read more

Last hurrah of the pre-pandemic Canadian crop industry

Where were you a year ago? I was in Vancouver, on a big boat filled with hundreds of Canadian and foreign grain industry players and farmers, cruising around Vancouver harbour and checking out grain terminals, ocean-going bulk ships, giant container ships and railway infrastructure that rings the centre of one of Canada’s biggest cities. I […] Read more

Spread the word — facts not all in yet on butter

Is butter really harder than it used to be? Some think it is. But what if harder butter is like other versions of the truth? You know, like the ones we learned in the past four years in the United States political scene. Some folks down there have successfully claimed secondary truths are just as […] Read more

Prairies need better voice on Vancouver port board

Canada’s international ports are highly regulated spaces and, in this country, they are only partially accountable monopolies. The Port of Vancouver is one example. Legal monopolies must be accountable to those they affect. Without market forces to apply pressure or firm regulations to ensure performance, there is significant danger that they will not be as […] Read more

Members of Parliament say the government should create and fund a new AgriResilience program “to help farmers transition to lower-carbon agriculture practices, thereby reducing the growing climate risk in this sector. An AgriResilience program would reward innovation and the adoption of new, more resilient farming practices, thereby helping to reduce climate risk.”
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Several items in this year’s budget could interest producers

The federal government’s next budget, whenever it is released, could have a significant impact on the future of Canadian agriculture. It’s worth paying attention to. Canadians didn’t get a 2020 budget: it was an early casualty of COVID-19, cancelled in the pandemic’s infancy. Instead we were offered economic updates and a series of spending announcements, […] Read more