From the Archives: Changes to Crow Benefit distribution riled Sask. farmers

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: May 7, 1942

Farmers were urged to grow more flax as part of their patriotic duty. “Vegetable oils provide a double-barrelled weapon for the assistance of the democracies’ fight in that it provides both food and explosives,” said Gordon Taggart, food administrator for Canada’s Wartime Prices and Trade Board.

Agriculture Minister James Gardiner made public the names of seven people or companies who received more than $5,000 for prairie wheat acreage reduction. The program had been intended to reduce 1941 acreage below that of 1940.

50 years ago: May 11, 1967

The Canadian Centennial Wheat Symposium was expected to be “the most important event in the long history of this cereal grain” when it was held at the University of Saskatchewan May 10-12.

Sixteen scientists were to make presentations at the event, which was expected to attract 250 specialists in agricultural technology.

The symposium was a Canada Centennial project of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Alberta Wheat Pool, Western Co-operative Fertilizer and Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

Board members from Sask Pool and Federated Co-op met to discuss each other’s plans in the farm supply business. The two organizations committed themselves to work closely together to obtain a higher share of the Saskatchewan market for farm supplies.

25 years ago: May 7, 1992

Manitoba proposed allowing each province, and even individual farmers, to choose their own method of receiving their share of the $720 million Crow Benefit. Alberta was on board, but Saskatchewan refused to discuss the idea.

Saskatchewan farmers continued to protest changes to the Gross Revenue Insurance Plan, even while Alberta crop insurance officials analyzing the changes said they had “a lot of merit.

Farmers in Saskatchewan were unhappy to be paying higher premiums for less coverage, but defenders of the changes said they were necessary.

10 years ago: May 10, 2007

The federal auditor general re-leased a damning review of the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization program, calling it too complex, unpredictable, slow and secretive. Sheila Fraser said her auditors found evidence that thousands of farmers had received less than they deserved and yet CAIS administrators concentrated more on clawing back overpayments than correcting underpayments.

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate lost its appeal of a ruling that denied farmers the right to launch a class action lawsuit against Mon-santo Canada and Bayer Cropscience regarding the introduction of genetically modified canola.

“The application for certification was replete with weakness in ever respect,” the three judges said.

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