From the Archives: NFU boycotts equipment buying to influence gov’t policy

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: April 9, 1942

Insect pests made it to the floor of the Saskatchewan legislature — not literally, of course, but grasshoppers, saw flies, cut worms and warble flies were part of a debate among MLAs. Agriculture Minister J.G. Taggart announced more funding to fight grasshoppers and said the government was looking for effective ways to combat saw flies. CCF MLA M.H. Feeley urged the government to make a serious attempt to stamp out the warble fly menace, which was causing heavy damage to livestock.

The dominion government asked farmers to grow 20 million bushels of flax in 1942, which was three times as much as what was produced in the previous year. It was thought that an unusually large amount of available summer fallow meant there was a good chance the target could be met.

50 years ago: April 13, 1967

Exporting and importing countries agreed to a one-year extension of the International Wheat Agreement. The agreement was established in 1962 and extended twice. It was based on a minimum of US$1.62 1/2 a bushel and a maximum of $2.02 1/2, basis No. 1 Northern at the Lakehead.

The National Farmers Union’s farmer boycott was officially launched. Producers were urged to sign pledge cards committing them to not buy new farm equipment “until government policies are implemented to ensure the social and economic well-being of farms.” NFU president Roy Atkinson urged non-NFU members to join the boycott. Similar actions were reported in North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

25 years ago: April 9, 1992

The threat of American retaliation against Canadian cattle imports was prompting politicians and industry leaders to consider eliminating the national tripartite stabilization program. Cattle producers in the United States called the program an unfair subsidy and demanded that their government impose duties on imports. Canadian Cattlemen’s Association general manager Dennis Laycraft said dumping the stabilization program was definitely an option, while Alberta Agriculture Minister Ernie Isley said it would be better to switch than fight.

Weyburn Inland Terminal in southeastern Saskatchewan started selling grain storage space to farmers, calling the 5,000 bu. storage units condominiums. Other grain companies were watching the Weyburn project with intent.

10 years ago: April 12, 2007

Farmers in Alberta’s Peace River district were worried about how much snow was still on their fields. Two and half metres of snow had fallen during the winter, and a metre was still on the ground. Farmer Bryan Woronuk said he wasn’t changing his seeding plans yet, but he was getting oat and barley seed ready just in case.

Alberta Agriculture was reported to have suspended an employee for two months for sending an offensive email to a website supporting the Canadian Wheat Board.

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