Prairie farmers unite in industry optimism

Saskatchewan Wheat Pool officially opened its new all-steel elevator in Kenaston in February 1960. | File photo

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: Oct. 24, 1940

Stuffed grain elevators continued to worsen farmers’ cash flow problems. Early quotas had allowed farmers to earn enough to cover harvest costs and municipal taxes and a substantial extra quota was required to cover day-to-day living expenses.

However, The Western Producer continued to report that many farmers were unable to deliver on the new quota because of a lack of storage space at their elevators. Restricted grain markets because of the war were at the root of the problem.

The main message from the 40th convention of the Saskatchewan section of United Farmers of Canada was that prairie farmers had not lost their faith in a brighter future for agriculture nor their conviction that farmers would have to save the industry themselves, if it could be saved.

“There were fewer resolutions than in previous conventions,” the Producer wrote. “There was a sense of action in the air.”

50 years ago: Oct. 21, 1965

The Vancouver Grain Exchange complained to the federal government about the slowness of prairie grain movement, saying foreign buyers were unhappy and considering looking elsewhere for grain. Canadian Pacific Railway said it was ready to ship grain whenever elevators ordered boxcars, while Canadian National Railway blamed the problem on a labor dispute.

Saskatchewan Wheat Pool’s television series, Prairie Journal, was set to start a new season in late October. The series was intended to provide information “that will stimulate thought and perhaps provoke discussion.” It was broadcast on seven television stations across Saskatchewan.

25 years ago: Oct. 25, 1990

The Producer was unable to publish the Oct. 25 issue because of a labor dispute at its printer.

10 years ago: Oct. 20, 2005

Initial prices for Canadian Wheat Board grain were so low that producers were left wondering how they would pay the bills. Stewart Wells of the National Farmers Union accused the Liberal government of being too conservative when setting the initial price.

A strike at Lakeside Packers in Brooks, Alta., turned ugly as tempers flared on the picket line. Three workers were sent to hospital after trying to prevent a bus carrying replacement workers from leaving the plant. As well, plant managers were charged with dangerous driving after union president Doug O’Halloran was sent to hospital following a four vehicle accident, and O’Halloran was charged after a window on a bus carrying plant managers was smashed.

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