Farmers’ attitudes and realities evolve over a quarter-century

(And so does the observer)

Farmers sure have changed in the past 25 years. Or have I changed in the quarter-century I’ve been covering farmers and farming for The Western Producer? Do the same things just look different to my older, more experienced and physically degraded eyes? It’s probably a bit of both, but looking back over these 25 years […] Read more

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spoke Sept. 12 at a campaign rally in Edmonton. |  Jeremy Simes photo

Producers release their key issues for election

Political parties running in the federal election will be asked for their solutions to the growing loss of market access

Farmers want the federal election campaign to focus on solutions to their market access challenges. From canola, soybeans and meat in China to durum in Italy, pulses in India and other products in other countries, farmers say these issues must take priority. “They know the problems, or they darn well better know the problems we’re […] Read more

Sustainability, best practices and processes should be verifiable.  |  Katelyn Duncan photo

Verification systems necessary for best practices

The word sustainability means something different to everyone, and this is somewhat problematic. If I were to ask an entire room of farmers if their farm is sustainable, likely every one of them would raise their hands. It seems odd, considering that no two farms are the same. Current sustainability dialogue for grain crops is […] Read more

International trade is becoming increasingly complicated when it comes to maximum residue limits (MRL). The PMRA is the federal agency that helps Canadian trade teams work through MRL concerns with trading partners.  | Robin Booker photo

Ag Drag

PMRA’s decision to reduce international engagement when it comes to MRLs could impede Canadian agricultural exports.

Health Canada is under pressure from Agriculture Canada and the standing committee on agriculture and the standing committee on finance to change how the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) operates. Farm groups have lobbied the government for the PMRA to take their needs into consideration because the agency’s activity has significant bearing on the agriculture […] Read more

McCain’s french fry plant at Coaldale, Alta., which is undergoing a $1 billion expansion, is part of Canada’s food production and processing industry that makes up 6.7 percent of Canada’s economy.  |  File photo

Agriculture big contributor to Canada’s economy

WINNIPEG — A new report from Agriculture Canada says agriculture contributed $111.9 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product in 2016, which accounted for 6.7 percent of the country’s total GDP. The annual report, called An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and AgriFood System released Nov. 10, provides a summary of the economic performance of the […] Read more

Students at the University of Guelph's Ontario Agricultural College should have no trouble finding a job because there are four jobs in Ontario for every OAC graduate. | Screencap via

Four jobs for every ag grad: university

It’s a great time to be an agriculture student. Maybe the best time ever. Students at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College should have no trouble finding a job because there are four jobs in Ontario for every OAC graduate. “It’s great news for students entering and coming out of the programs because of […] Read more

As China’s population rapidly urbanizes and demands safe, quality food, the government is pushing a reorganization of agriculture toward larger operations and moving livestock away from cities.  |  Reuters photo

China inspires economic envy

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The ex-traordinary transformation of the Chinese economy has the world agog. For companies like Alltech, which manufactures feed ingredients and additives, the agriculture revolution is equally exciting. The company has been in China for 25 years and observed the growth of a youthful urban middle class as well as changes on farms. […] Read more

Send me an email and photos of your farm-rescued dog. I can be reached at or on Facebook at

A friend in need is a friend indeed

A bite on the butt and an unplanned visit to a western Manitoba veterinary clinic was the price my miniature schnauzer, Asta, paid for yapping in the face of a mean, feral farmyard dog. The vet’s bill was the price I paid for this unique risk faced by agricultural journalists and their assistants, but it […] Read more

Who else is buried out there across Western Canada, lying almost anonymous in the thousands of tiny rural cemeteries that are more evident than many of the towns and villages that produced their occupants but that now no longer exist?
What tales are being forgotten? | Ed White photo

VIDEO: Who is buried in a cemetery near you?

Any like me who drive down rural roads regularly, pass many cemeteries, giving them little thought or maybe not even noticing as they flash past. These quiet green fields of marble and granite, in which generations of farmers, pioneers and townsfolk lie buried, often contain more names than the phone listings of the diminishing towns […] Read more

Research and development support is needed to help bring agricultural innovations to market.  |  File photo

Innovation, research key to our future

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains says he wants to make innovation a core Canadian value because it’s “the path to growth, the path that leads to a stronger middle class and higher quality jobs.” Canada’s agricultural equipment manufacturers have known this for years. In fact, innovation is at the heart of Canadian […] Read more