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

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


A healthcare worker tests people for COVID-19 at a Calgary Rural Primary Care Testing Centre drive-through location at the High River, Alta., Culture Centre. The town is home to Cargill's beef packing facility in Alberta. |  Mike Sturk photo

Cargill closes High River beef plant

The Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alta., which slaughters 40 percent of the cattle in Canada, announced temporary closure effective April 20. Date of reopening is unknown but the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said it could mean industry losses of half a billion dollars by June if the closure lasts that long. Halt of […] 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


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

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

Supporters watch the results come in at the Conservative leader Andrew Scheer's campaign headquarters during the federal election in Regina.  |  REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Life in the afterglow of the commodity boom: Is this why we’re all so mad and raging?

Everybody wants somebody to blame. Better blame Mr CommoditiesCycle

It’s a truly dark time in Canada, with the rise of an angry, raging, denunciatory politics taking over this nation the way that it has been doing in the U.S. for a few years now. The federal election supplied ample evidence of this, with ill will and personal attacks hanging over the entire campaign. Beyond […] Read more


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump after signing a joint statement on trade during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City Sept. 25.  |  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst photo

Could Canada run a two-track trade policy?

One track for the rules-following folks and one for the cheats?

We keep hoping this present worldwide binge of protectionism, geo-political bullying and bad-will will fade, subside and JUST GO AWAY! But if it doesn’t, what does Canada do? How do Canadian farmers adapt to that fact? It’s like with climate change: We hope it can be stopped, but if it can’t be, what do we […] Read more