These days there are far fewer farms on the fields of Western Canada and it is easy to drive considerable patches of highway without seeing one. | File photo

Familiarizing non-farmers with agriculture a worthy goal

It’s getting tougher to be a farmer in a society that has fewer of them. For those of us who are in our second century of life, memories are still fresh of times when farms dotted the Prairies and for people in the cities, everybody had family back on the farm. The reality is very […] Read more

There are times when distraction can be a blessing, especially if the distraction is away from woes and hardship and toward a happy, productive task.
 | File photo

Seeding a welcome distraction from pandemic worries

Distraction can be a terrible thing, such as when operating machinery or driving. But there are times when distraction can be a blessing, especially if the distraction is away from woes and hardship and toward a happy, productive task. That’s what a lot of farm families are experiencing now, I think, as the busyness of […] Read more

Family lunches and coffee key to solo work at home

One thing I’ve always counted on: if you call a farmer’s home at noon, you’ll catch them at lunch. That appears to be true about 90 percent of the time, by my experience of 25 years. Why is that? Farmers work for themselves. They can set their own clocks. But most follow a rigid schedule. […] Read more


Dennis Pohl, left, and Dave Jordan aren’t farmers, but deep farm connections keep them active at the museum. Pohl is the resident volunteer who lives on the grounds of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum and Jordan is a weekend volunteer who drives out to Austin after spending the week working as a mechanic at an auto dealership.  |  Ed White photo

Many non-farmers remain connected to agriculture

How do you run a big farmer event without farmers? That’s what I was pondering — a compelling rural mystery — as I headed out to meet the volunteers getting ready for the Manitoba Threshermen’s Reunion and Stampede. After 65 years, the reunion is operating in a prairie landscape that contains only about one-tenth of […] Read more

Corporate social media does not have to be boring

This column is the third in a series about Instagrammers who focus on prairie farming. The grain-handling business can seem dull and dusty. And in this era of Big Concrete, it can appear to lack history and grace, to operate and exist unmoored to tradition and grandeur. But that’s not how it seems if you […] Read more


Jill Koop has gathered and created a wealth of rural western Canadian images, despite living in a big city.  |  Ed White photo

Beauty of the Prairies shared with others on Instagram

Do you think the Prairies are beautiful, bold, filled with drama and almost allegorical in their starkness? Are you disappointed in the way non-prairie people, and prairie urbanites, often describe the western plains as dull, boring, something to be gotten through on the way to somewhere else? If so, you should check out the Instagram […] Read more

Toban Dyck is learning how to harness the power of Instagram.  |  Ed White photo

Social media provides perfect showcase for farming

This is the first in a series of AgriCulture columns about farmers who use Instagram. When Toban Dyck took off for downtown Toronto in the late 2000s, he didn’t glance back at the southern Manitoba farm he was leaving behind. Now he can’t keep his eyes and cameras off of it. “When I moved away […] Read more

A fan of Japan’s soccer team prepares for the Japan-Columbia match in Cuiaba, Brazil, in 2014. | Flickr photo

How do rural folk keep tabs on favourite teams?

Recently Will Groeneveld was checking his pea acres in north-central Alberta — and chatting about the upcoming World Cup of Soccer. He was chatting about it with me, by phone, as I sat in my minivan after getting an oil change. We met through ag Twitter and discovered our joint passion for English and World […] Read more


New sense of openness finds its way into farming culture

Farmers have gone soft, in the best possible way. With the continuing evolution of the western Canadian farmer, topics that were once considered awkward, unmanly, weak or part of the “woman’s department” now seem eagerly embraced by many male farmers. I’ve come to this conclusion after talking to a retiring farm safety expert, from speaking […] Read more

Cultural diversity comes alive at small-town event

My wife was pleasantly surprised to hear all the Spanish being spoken around the “Frog Follies” festival in St. Pierre Jolys a few weeks ago. There were also quite a few Africans. And as you should expect, lots of French and Low German being spoken. The French comes from the original settlers, with German from […] Read more