Cowboys, masked men, risk and mitigation

Risk minimization appears to be a challenging concept

Why not go all-in on stocks right now? After all, we’ve had a three month rally going on. Sure, you can say markets go up and down, and there’s a lot of downside risk, but what if stocks only go up? As newborn day trader David Portnoy told Fox Business about market bears and the […] Read more

Empty grocery store shelves are among the factors that some point to when arguing for a wholesale overhaul of the country’s food production.  |  Reuters/Carlos Osorio photo

Will the COVID crisis cause a food revolution?

Innovative technologies are waiting on the shelf, but will they finally be embraced?

There’s been lots of blather about exciting food and agriculture industry technological innovations. “Smart” everything has been talked about for more than a decade. My newspaper has published dozens of stories about the possibilities of blockchain. The “internet of things” is a term buzzing away at every farm and ag conference out there. But it’s […] Read more

Don’t take farming and food for granted says U of C report

Canadians and Canada’s governments shouldn’t take farming and food for granted. That’s the bottom line of a June 9 report from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. “Food security in Canada is not something to be taken for granted and government policy action must reflect the essential service agriculture provides for our nation,” […] Read more


Let’s be hopeful, but not stupid, as COVID-19 wanes

There was shocking economic news today: U.S. non-farm payroll numbers increased by 2.5 million, rather than declining by expectations for more than seven million. Got that? The U.S. added jobs in May rather than continuing to fall into a hole dug by COVID-19. Is that number real? Is it a statistical aberration? Is it a […] Read more

Don’t expect too much, no matter what happens with Meng

Whatever happens Wednesday, China will not be a market we can count on again

Tomorrow (Wednesday) a B.C. Supreme Court judge will release the ruling on whether or not to uphold the validity of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s arrest and detention on a U.S. extradition request. A lot of people are hoping Meng gets released, goes back to China, that China calms down, the two Michaels are released and […] Read more


With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has killed more than 70,000 Americans, a number of large meat-processing plants have shut down because of infected workers. The result has been fewer markets to which to sell livestock and higher prices for meat. | File photo

Is North America’s food supply system a disaster or a success story?

Under the stress of COVID-19 both the flaws and resiliency of the Canadian and U.S. food systems have become popular topics

Is our food system a disaster? Widespread food shortages on grocery store shelves make some think so. In the early days of COVID-19, when I saw empty shelves for some dairy products, flour and toilet paper I got pretty spooked about food security. When I heard about packing plants becoming rife with virus, hundreds of […] Read more

In a joint statement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative listed a number of steps taken that should help boost U.S. exports of beef, poultry and other farm products to China, and said U.S. food and agricultural products exports were benefiting from Chinese tariff relief.|  REUTERS/Aly Song photo

Disputes with China accelerated and frozen by COVID-19

Where will Canadian farmers stand in a new Cold War?

In some ways the COVID-19 crisis has frozen Canada’s and other countries’ disputes with China, drawing everybody’s attention to the immediate needs of preserving national healthcare systems, protecting people’s health, and dealing with the devastating job losses and business failures provoked by the coronavirus. Just today the U.S. government announced that over 30 million U.S. […] Read more

As slaughter plants in Canada and the United States reduce line speeds, shifts or effect temporary closures to deal with COVID-19 concerns, analysts say supplies are likely to be affected. | File photo

Will the wild changes in the grocery, food and farming systems survive the pandemic?

What will create lasting changes and what is transitory?

The food, farming and grocery sectors have been shocked by the coronavirus crisis. Packing plants have been temporarily shuttered, creating crises on hog farms and cattle feedlots that can’t move animals they have no space for. Food products that everybody has taken for granted for decades, such as flour and yeast, have become suddenly scarce, […] Read more


Is picking up a takeout an act of civic duty?

What local decisions can farmers make that would help preserve the social fabric of their communities?

The other night I picked up a big takeout order at our favourite Indian restaurant in Winnipeg. I phoned in the order and picked it up at the entrance, where it was safely and distantly transferred into my hands. When I got it home I got everything out of the containers, garbaged all the packaging, […] Read more

Are crops and meat Canada’s best soft power tools?

An agricultural think tank thinks they could be

Are you hoarding toilet paper? How about white flour? Cheese? From trips to my local supermarket and posts on my social media accounts, it seems like lots of people are. If you were planning to spend this month baking bread and using a lot of toilet paper and haven’t already stocked up, forget about it. […] Read more