Bernie McClean opens the Canadian Crops Convention

Optimism in the face of “extremely difficult conditions and challenges”

Canadian farmers and the agriculture industry are surviving the present plethora of problems better than many feared

A year ago, when China began its blockade of most Canadian canola, many farmers feared canola prices would fall off a cliff. “It didn’t happen,” noted Bernie McClean, the president of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, at the opening reception for the Canadian Crops Convention. Prices weakened and farmers did worse than most expected before […] Read more

Frontline of the war between economic reality and magical thinking

Canada's agriculture and export industries live side by side with the selfish and clued-out forces that threaten Canada's economic heart

Vancouver is a grungy, hardscrabble port and dock town that thanklessly grinds its living out of handling vast amounts of export and import bulk commodities and goods. It’s a solid pillar of Canada’s economy. Vancouver is a left-coast haven of kombucha-swilling vegan fantasists self-righteously strangling the very industries they rely upon to support their sanctimonious, […] Read more

Western Producer reporter Ed White sat down with federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau last week while she was in Winnipeg.  |  Supplied photo

A deliberate and unhurried hand at the agricultural policy tiller

Marie-Claude Bibeau isn't likely to shy away from tough areas, or be rushed into "fixing" them

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau isn’t scare of talking about agricultural policy. That’s a good thing, because one thing any Canadian Agriculture Minister must be willing to do is talk about ag policy. And talk and talk and talk. Everybody wants to talk to whoever the ag minister is, and in the agriculture industry that […] Read more

Risk isn’t simple

We all want an easy number or label, but it's complicated

Most people want to know what foods are “good” and “bad.” My wife sometimes asks me about whether or not certain foods are “good,” knowing I spend a lot of time listening to food industry and dietary health presentations at conferences, and I generally respond with the annoying answer of “It’s complicated.” Most foods aren’t […] Read more

It was a Big Bud. A thing of farmboy lore and it was made next door in Montana. On the Prairies, next door is anywhere within 350 miles and Havre, Mont., is 347 miles away from our farm.
 | Screencap via YouTube/Titan Tire & Goodyear Farm Tires

Is the future in steel weed management?

I love a good farm show. Heck, I’d love a bad farm show, but I can’t say I’ve ever been to one. My enthusiasm for farm shows began when I was a kid growing up on the farm. It was always a good day to miss a little school and go learn more about something […] Read more

Newspaper journalism has faced a digital tsunami

The internet and social media are cool, but the right-side/wrong-side journalism it has created are a curse

When I showed up at The Western Producer in November 1994 I was handed a Macintosh laptop and shown how the company email system worked. That was pretty cool. Instead of being shackled to a boxy desktop computer, I could take my sleek laptop wherever I was reporting from, plug into a phone line and […] Read more

This week the NFU held its 50th annual convention in Winnipeg with NFU members from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in attendance. At the event, the NFU unveiled a 98-page discussion paper called Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis. | Twitter/@NFUCanada photo

BLOG: NFU must do more to avoid fringe reputation

The National Farmers Union is a serious organization with serious ideas. But ordinary farmers may not be listening. This week the NFU held its 50th annual convention in Winnipeg with NFU members from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in attendance. At the event, the NFU unveiled a 98-page discussion paper called Tackling the Farm Crisis […] Read more

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

Lots changes, but much remains the same, in both farming and journalism

In 25 years of reporting on farming, everything seems both different and the same

How do you find a farmer? Finding farmers and getting their views has always been a core part of my job. It wasn’t easy to do 25 years ago, when the internet was a just-beginning thing, almost nobody had a mobile phone and most farmers lived far from the cities I was living in. Fortunately, […] Read more

Despite enjoying the support of a high proportion of western canola growers, Conservative party leader Scheer has sounded a hawkish rather than conciliatory note when talking about China.
 | Screencap via Twitter/@AndrewScheer

With Canada-China relations, how did things ever get so far?

An opportunity for China to calm down things with Canada?

How did things ever get so far? I’m hoping somebody high up in the Chinese government is thinking that today, as its relationships with multiple countries are strained and have suffered considerable damage in the last couple of years. Canada is not the least of those strained relationships and deepening bad blood, with two Canadian […] Read more