Anxiety, uncertainty and perplexity: the mood in Washington this week

Is he actually going to do these things? Does he even understand them? Will we get anything done? Those questions seemed to be swirling around the Washington, D.C. agriculture and trade policy community this week as I and a group of agricultural journalists met with congressmen and farm policy experts in the U.S. capital. Anxiety, […] Read more

Twilight of the freedom to farm?

Are we living in the twilight of farmers’ freedom to farm? Until the last few years farmers have been able to choose their crops, choose their methods and choose their products and tools based almost entirely on their own choices and decisions. It’s always been the way, until very recently. And it’s still the way, […] Read more

Who is standing up for hog farmers?

I was delighted to hear that Manitoba’s film industry experienced its best year in a decade in 2016,  keeping 1,600 workers busy with $127 million in projects. That’s a big deal here in Winnipeg, where I write. In my own neighbourhood you can often see strings of trucks lining side streets as one home or […] Read more


In a recently released study canola is claimed to have an almost identical economic impact as the Canadian aerospace industry. | Screencap via www.canolacouncil.org

VIDEO: Canola finally getting its due?

There’s been a huge amount of newspaper ink spilt and radio time yakked-up by discussions about high-tech companies like Bombardier and (once important) Northern Telecom. Yet canola, arguably as important to Canada as the aerospace industry, gets far less attention. In a 2016 report, Canada’s federal science ministry said aerospace provided a $28 billion economic […] Read more

Trumpian uncertainty in farm and food markets

A perfect example of how the market isn’t one thing, one being, or one organism was the immediate sell-off then almost immediate rebound of stock prices with the surprising and shocking election in November of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Stocks sold off dramatically as those panicked by his ideas and behaviours (or assuming others […] Read more


In his inauguration speech Friday, Donald Trump didn't tone down the anti-trade rhetoric. | Screencap via cbc.ca

“Buy America” means “build export capacity” for Canadians

In his inauguration speech Friday, Donald Trump didn’t tone down the anti-trade rhetoric. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” he said. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families . . . Protection will lead […] Read more

Trump had vowed on the campaign trail to revise or tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under which Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States. | Screencap via www.cnn.com

Time to be statesmanlike and make nice with Mr. Trump

When Donald Trump shocked the planet and won the U.S. presidential election, many were outraged, disgusted, furious, upset and traumatized. Protestors took to the streets – even here in Canada – and everybody’s Facebook and Twitter feeds filled with infuriated rages and hurtful screeds from those who despise the man. A few world leaders essentially […] Read more

The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. | Screencap via www.fao.org/pulses-2016

Pulses no longer in a dusty corner of farming and the ag research world

One of the nicest features of the International Year of Pulses is that it not only recognizes that pulse crops no longer struggle in the shade of the farming and research world, but also that millions more people around the world now realize the crucial role the crops play in nutrition, farming and environmental protection. […] Read more


Canada, the U.K., CETA, Brexit, trade and hedging markets

Canada and the U.K. share one present problem: Dealing with a vexatious, tricky and grudging European Union. But our two countries have one major difference: Only one is utterly reliant upon one major trading partner. And the reliant one isn’t the U.K. That might surprise some people, who assume the U.K. does almost all of […] Read more

Often at this time of year the state of a farmer's crop is pretty well understood, so the biggest worry is that wet weather or frost will damage the quality that's already there, waiting to be combined. | File photo

VIDEO: 2016 crop still a big question mark

What should you move, price and hedge – and when? That’s what some farmers think about every early harvest season, especially if they have big bills due soon and haven’t forward-priced and arranged delivery for enough to cover them. Often at this time of year the state of a farmer’s crop is pretty well understood, […] Read more