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

Supply? Demand? What are we dealing with?

Economists and analysts are wrestling with enormous uncertainty

Most of what goes into creating the price of crops and livestock comes from supply and demand. More supply and less demand? Probably lower prices. More demand and less supply? Probably higher prices. It’s a little bit more complex than that, but those are some of the basics. But how do you project future prices […] Read more

Farmers: Show homebound town and city people something to smile about

What you're doing today could help cheer up the rest of our society

It’s spring. Snow is melting. In some places like here on the eastern Prairies it’s getting nice enough to spend time outside just sitting in the sun. It’s Easter. It’s a time of rebirth and hope for a new year. It probably doesn’t seem much like that in millions of houses and apartments in the […] Read more

Chill days of spring

Thinks about neighbours, friends, everybody you deal with in this fraught spring

Recent days on the eastern Prairies have been surreal, as beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the teens have melted snow and allowed the self-isolated masses to get outside into backyards, front steps and balconies, despite the overwhelming gloom emanating from every news broadcast and new story people can see and read. Today, as ice […] Read more

Saskatchewan reported an additional six confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, while Manitoba has one. | Getty Images

Risky COVID-19 choices coming, and there’s no dodging them

Our leaders face tough decisions. There are none without severe costs to people or our society

Choices have to be made about how to deal with COVID-19. None of those choices are going to be easy. And nobody’s likely to get it “right.” But our planet’s leaders face an excruciating set of choices on how to cope with the dual risks of disease deaths for humans from coronavirus and permanent damage […] Read more