When China stops growing, what does it stop buying?

China has stopped growing. Did you hear? It’s a potentially world-changing and markets-disrupting development that while not entirely unexpected to happen sometime, certainly was not expected to be happening yet. Basically, China’s population is believed to have fallen slightly, as the lingering impact of its famous “one child” policy continues to sap China’s fertility rate, […] Read more

Industry “resiliency” is a never-given

Everybody hates getting their vehicle stuck and having to call for help. I’m sure the captain of the Ever Given, the gigantic container ship that completely blocked the Suez Canal for a week, was mightily embarrassed having to put out an emergency call to canal officials, tug boat operators and his bosses at the shipping […] Read more


The tectonic plates shift on China, and Canada’s one of the shifting pieces

The tectonic plates shift on China, and Canada’s one of the shifting pieces

But where will the plates end up, and what new mountain ranges and troughs will appear before it's all over?

I keep a globe by my desk. I spin it around to the relevant places whenever I write about global trade and geopolitics. It’s the best low-tech tool I have to get instant perspective on some of the more complex events that affect farmers, agriculture, commodities and our nation. Today I spun it to the […] Read more



Last hurrah of the pre-pandemic Canadian crop industry

Where were you a year ago? I was in Vancouver, on a big boat filled with hundreds of Canadian and foreign grain industry players and farmers, cruising around Vancouver harbour and checking out grain terminals, ocean-going bulk ships, giant container ships and railway infrastructure that rings the centre of one of Canada’s biggest cities. I […] Read more

Anecdotal reports are popping up from across the country about unusually firm blocks of butter that don't act the way some consumers expect. | Getty Images

The “hard butter” story is a weird one

I’ve seldom covered a story that’s drawn more reader feedback than the “hard butter” issue, which has numerous people across the country saying that their butter now stays hard at room temperature, rather than becoming soft and spreadable. It’s a weird story, because there’s no real data and solid evidence on whether or not Canadian […] Read more

There is a widespread perception that blocks of butter now, left at room temperature, do not get soft, as butter traditionally does. What's going on? | Getty Images

Hard questions on Canadian butter: What’s going on?

Foodies and home cooks across Canada have been chattering about Canadian butter and why it’s often so hard these days. Some toast butterers are fuming. (Look on Twitter and Facebook  to see just how many people are becoming engaged with this issue. It’s one of those “talkers” that gets people going.) There is a widespread […] Read more


The wonderful, wild world of commodities

It’s been an exciting time to be in the commodity markets, which applies to all open market crop growers. That’s true as well if you mine copper, extract oil, smelt silver or play with Bitcoin. (I see Bitcoin as a commodity, not a currency.) The world’s glutted situation since 2014 has suddenly evaporated, at least […] Read more

Farmers have bigger things than KXL to worry about

Farmers have bigger things to worry about than the generally-expected cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline by the new U.S. Joe Biden administration. Farmers obviously realize the oil industry is not a core part of the agricultural economy, but it provides lots of off-farm jobs to many farm folk, plus the royalties and economic activity […] Read more