From the Archives: Beef researchers scolded for lack of marketing policies

The Western Producer takes a weekly look at some of the stories that made headlines in issues of the paper from 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

75 years ago: July 2, 1942

Farm organizations and the three prairie provincial governments — each of a different political stripe — gathered in Saskatoon to discuss how “to tackle the vexed and intricate problem of farm debt.” The meeting, called for by the Alberta government, was the first time that the three provinces had attempted unified action to deal with the debt issue.

L.B. Thomson, superintendent of the Dominion Experimental Farm at Swift Current, Sask., partly blamed researchers for the sorry state of the beef business, which was called the most disorganized of the agricultural sectors. “What have we done, as technical men, to guide any policy for the marketing of beef cattle?” he said.

Thomson said research often had no connection to market demand, and production studies were seldom followed up.

50 years ago: July 6, 1967

The large reservoir being built in central Saskatchewan was officially named Lake Diefenbaker. Premier Ross Thatcher had requested the name, to which Prime Minister Lester Pearson agreed.

Manitoba’s industry and commerce minister said the federal government’s obsession with developing east-west transportation was holding back development of the port of Churchill. However, he said modern technology and the establishment of the Prairie Economic Council, which had made the “Bay Route” a priority, was tipping the scales in favor of the port.

25 years ago: July 2, 1992

Manitoba Pool Elevators and Saskatchewan Wheat Pool said they wouldn’t increase primary elevation tariffs because of the tough times facing farmers. The move was expected to pressure other line companies to follow suit for competitive reasons.

The Saskatchewan government ended its subsidy to help feed livestock to market weight, prompting some to predict that 117,000 cattle would leave the province, forcing the closure of a packing plant. The FeedGap program had paid feedlots $13 a tonne, or $26 per head.

10 years ago: July 5, 2007

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Mark Wartman grudgingly supported new national programming agreed to during the ag ministers meeting in Whistler, B.C., but he also wasn’t able to hide his anger over federal refusal to change the traditional 60-40 federal-provincial funding formula. “We are clearly dissatisfied with the traditional funding formula and we would hope that we’ll see a more equitable formula developed in the future,” he said.

Manitoba crops were at serious risk of fusarium head blight infection. “Fusarium risk depends on heat and humidity. For a while there, we were getting those in spades,” said David Kaminski, Manitoba Agriculture’s manager of farm production extension services in Carman.

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