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

Canola: it’s nice to matter (during the PM’s trip to China)

UPDATED: A TEMPORARY DEAL HAS BEEN MADE. SEE THIS STORY FOR DETAILS   In the lead-up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to China this week I was watching half-hopefully and half-cynically to see how the canola-to-China dispute would be handled. The hopeful part of me said: JT understands how important exports and commodities are […] Read more


On Tuesday Statistics Canada found that Western Canadian farmers have less canola and more wheat coming, or at least that was the situation at the end of July when it did its major crop production survey. | File photo

VIDEO: Less canola, more wheat: what do you do?

On Tuesday Statistics Canada found that Western Canadian farmers have less canola and more wheat coming, or at least that was the situation at the end of July when it did its major crop production survey. Nobody is talking about a 20 million tonne canola crop any longer, but the 17 million tonne estimate was […] Read more

Churchill: it needs to be owned by a vested interest

Everybody hates vested interests this year, at least in U.S. politics, it seems. Bernie and The Donald have ridden that horse pretty far. But there are times when the vested interest is the only likely saviour for a struggling entity that needs big help. To me, that’s the situation for the port of Churchill, Manitoba, […] Read more


Perilous life on the frontier of the world of grain

It was very sad news last night that OmniTrax is laying off most of the workers at its Churchill, Manitoba, grain elevator and handling facilities. It’s terrible for the people relying on that seasonal job to help them through another year, awful for the vulnerable town and regional economy, and worrying for farmers and people […] Read more

Harvesting Hope and forgetting about the dollars

Farmers talk about themselves and their farms as if it’s all about business. Hardcore business. It’s never really been true, but many farmers believe it and most want to believe it. Being a tough-guy businessman can seem more impressive than being a soft-hearted agriculturalist. However, sometimes the cloak of myth is shrugged off and the […] Read more

Brexit an opportunity for Canadian farmers and food?

Lots of people are shocked by the Brexit vote, which saw citizens of the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union. I was surprised. I was a Remain supporter. (My parents were born and raised in the UK and all my relatives other than my sister’s family live in England and Wales. I am […] Read more


A pleasant lack of porcine crisis at the World Pork Expo

A challenge I faced while down covering the World Pork Expo (WPX) in early June, and a continuing challenge I’ve had as I’ve been going through my notes, video and recordings since getting home, has been dealing with the lack of crisis within the industry. Often at the WPX there is a crisis consuming industry […] Read more

Wisps of smoke but few fires at the 2016 World Pork Expo

Like the fragrant BBQ smoke that drifts across and through the Iowa State Fairgrounds every year at this time, some theme or set of themes always seems to set an underlying tone to the World Pork Expo. Sometimes it seems thrust into your face and impossible to not recognize. That was the case when Porcine […] Read more