Growers wonder why today’s new crop malt barley contracts are not being offered in the $6.50 to $7 per bushel range, considering that they can sign new crop feed barley contracts for $6. | File photo

Malt barley buyers count on reliable supply

Plummeting beer sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic put a cap on prices, even while those paid for feed barley skyrocket

Farmers and maltsters are not anticipating a dearth of malt barley this year despite sky-high feed barley prices. “I always find that guys who grow malt barley tend to stick to it,” said Leroy Newman, an Alberta Barley board member. He will not be switching to growing feed barley on his farm near Blackie, Alta., […] Read more

Canadian feeder pig shipments saw radical swings as COVID-19 unfolded, falling 21 percent in May but surging by 21 percent in September compared to summer levels. | File photo

Pork sector praised for adjusting to pandemic

Production was four percent higher than 2019, which showed processors’ ability to keep operating despite the challenges

Canada’s pork industry survived the shock, the shutdowns, the disruptions and the costs of the first year of COVID-19 and had a good year — overall. But expect to see some changes in the post-COVID industry, says a team of University of Guelph researchers. “The implementation of labour-saving technology … will be spurred by the […] Read more

Writing letters to family and friends has become a way to fill up a part of the day during COVID-19 lockdowns. | Getty Images

Letter writing helps ease the pandemic blues

The project matched a senior with a Grade 6 student, who was given time in class to write a letter to his or her pen pal

I was hesitant to pick up the senior’s package at the local library fearing that it would contain pictures to colour and notices about activities I could get involved in. I have difficulty embracing retirement and being a senior, in that order. The cover page of the package, however, drew me in — one of […] Read more


Rural politicians point to ‘nimble’ municipalities being able to ‘pivot’ to do what is needed for survival and mitigation. | Screencap via Twitter/@FCM_online

Ability to make decisions rapidly called rural strength

Rural politicians point to ‘nimble’ municipalities being able to ‘pivot’ to do what is needed for survival and mitigation

Necessity is the mother of invention, and rural Canada knows about both necessity and invention, a group of rural panelists agree. It has to be agile and innovative to get things done. “Rural municipalities have this great advantage and that is that we’re nimble,” said David Mitchell, mayor of Bridgewater, N.S. “We tend to be […] Read more

Companies say grappling with the concrete impact of COVID-19 has made them more conscious of the general health situation of employees, including their mental health. | Getty Images

Food companies anxious to get back to the office

Canada’s protein processors and their workers didn’t miss much work in 2020 and the first few months of 2021. Regardless of temporary plant shutdowns and office lockdowns, Canada’s food companies kept working, with white collar employees moving their operations off-site to home offices. They hardly seemed to miss a beat. But some of Manitoba’s big […] Read more


Many farmers needed employees last spring and summer, but few Canadians applied for farm jobs - despite record levels of unemployment across the country. | File photo

Canadians won’t work on farms: survey

About three million Canadians lost their jobs last spring as COVID-19 forced thousands of businesses to shut their doors or lay off staff. Many farmers needed employees last spring and summer, but few Canadians applied for farm jobs, despite record levels of unemployment across the country. A survey of farm operators has found that 41 […] Read more

Canada’s rail carriers recently announced that they have moved record volumes of grain, but Pulse Canada argues that there is more to being a global leader than just volume. | File photo

Grain movement needs to get better

Build back better. It’s a catchy slogan adopted by the United Nations, Canada and other countries and it’s a good idea. Throughout the pandemic, the Canadian agriculture and food industry has shown it is more than up to the task. But without the right practices, policies and infrastructure in place, it is becoming increasingly clear […] Read more

Eighty percent of the bees honey producers expected this year from New Zealand won’t arrive due to Air Canada changes. | File photo

Flight cancellations threaten bee supplies

Eighty percent of the bees honey producers expected this year from New Zealand won’t arrive due to Air Canada changes

Changes to airline flight schedules have jeopardized Canadian honey production and pollination services. Commercial beekeepers and hobbyists have pre-ordered 50 pallets of bees from New Zealand, enough to supply about 30,000 hives, but Air Canada flight alterations and cancellations could mean only seven or eight pallets arrive in time for use this year. Instead of […] Read more


Report credits much of the success to keeping Canada-U.S. border open, which helped companies keep goods flowing. | File photo

Food system withstood pandemic challenge

Report credits much of the success to keeping Canada-U.S. border open, which helped companies keep goods flowing

After a year of the pandemic, the ability of Canada’s food system to continue to function while providing generally affordable food has been proven, observed two agricultural economists. In the opener to a special edition of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, James Deaton of the University of Guelph and Brady J. Deaton of the […] Read more

In the U.S., 22,000 meat-packing workers have been infected or exposed to the virus, and 132 have died, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International union. | Getty Images

American packers slow to vaccinate

CHICAGO, Ill. (Reuters) — COVID-19 vaccines are making their way into the arms of American meat and agriculture workers, but companies and union officials say progress needs to be faster after coronavirus outbreaks idled slaughterhouses and sickened thousands of workers. Vaccinating food workers could help prevent further production disruptions that sent meat prices soaring in […] Read more