What’s that smell? It’s the past, of course

I’ve said it before in this column and I’ll say it again — those Europeans are a funny bunch. We’ve spilled quite a bit of ink lately writing about the European Union’s refusal to recognize basic science when it comes to agricultural production, whether it be genetic modification, glyphosate or growth hormone use in cattle. […] Read more

“The media” is blamed for just about everything, whether it’s political correctness, invasion of privacy or our kids’ low self-esteem. | Michael Nigro/Pacific Press via Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock photo

Working in the media but not in ‘the media’

The demonization of mainstream journalism in the United States over the last four years is just the climax of a more general disgruntlement with “the media” — not just south of the border but all over the world. “The media” is blamed for just about everything, whether it’s political correctness, invasion of privacy or our […] Read more

This newspaper has always been in the business of not only providing farmers with information to help them do their jobs better but also to show them what their occupation looks like at a particular moment in time.
 | Christalee Froese photo

Publication does not mean endorsement

One of my earlier Western Producer memories is of an innocuous front page photo sometime in the first year of my tenure here. It showed a canoe and paddlers on a river and shouldn’t have caused much controversy. However, someone wrote to the paper complaining about the photo because the paddlers weren’t wearing life jackets. […] Read more


WP reporter/photographer William DeKay recently took second place in the landscape photography category at the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation annual awards for this photo he shot of a farmer kneeling in a sand-blasted canola field.
 | William DeKay photo

WP reporters recognized for their work

Agricultural communicators usually dress up for the Canadian Farm Writers Federation’s annual awards ceremony. This year, they could have attended in their sweatpants. I’ve been lucky enough to take in a few of these events over the years, and they are always given the gala treatment, occurring between supper and dancing on the last night […] Read more

A couple of weeks ago one of our stories told the tale of a young farmer who is using innovative approaches to his farm’s operations. And we left something out.
 | Nathan Jones photo

More apparent than real

A couple of weeks ago one of our stories told the tale of a young farmer who is using innovative approaches to his farm’s operations. And we left something out. Few stories in The Western Producer run as they are written. The silent hands of editors are at work between you and the writers. The […] Read more


How many old elevators, railway stations and small-town movie theatres do we need to keep? | Duane McCartney photo

How much old stuff do we need to keep?

The debate over protecting heritage architecture is often portrayed in black and white terms — either you like old buildings or you don’t — but it’s not always that simple. Three glass and metal skyscrapers are being built in Saskatoon along the South Saskatchewan River to replace a former legion hall, built in 1929, and […] Read more

Corn in central Iowa flattened by the derecho storm. |  USDA/Jeremy Davis photo

Storm hits 37 million acres

Of all things that could go wrong with farming, weather is still the most troubling. Likely this is due to the complete lack of control that farmers have over it. Farmers can get insurance for it, but that never makes up for the losses if it is catastrophic. Once in a great, long while a […] Read more

There’s something about folding out a newspaper, grabbing hold of the edges and getting down to the serious business of “reading the news” that I’m still not ready to abandon.
 | Flickr.com/Lisa Pinehill photo

Not ready to give up on my newspaper

For all the advice that is available from public health authorities about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it still seems like we’re on our own out here in the real world. Do you wear a mask or not? All the time or only indoors around other people? If so, how many people? […] Read more


An editorial by Brian MacLeod, entitled, “Canada should consider adjusting biotech regs” was among several winning WP entries. | File photo

WP writers recognized for their work

Western Producer reporters don’t do what they do for the awards. Their motivation is based largely on a natural curiosity and a desire to provide western Canadian farmers with the information they need to successfully produce food and feed the world. However, everyone likes to be recognized for their achievements, and it’s no different for […] Read more

The Impossible Foods burger still requires some farmed building blocks for microbial providers, such as yeast, to sink their little single-celled sugar suckers into, as well as others to transform farmed-plant proteins into something similar to meat, with the same molecule supplying the bloody hemoglobin. Still, it’s not meat as we typically know it. | Screencap via impossiblefoods.com

Made in the laboratory you say? Pity

Meat without animals. Coffee without beans. Milk without cows. OK, the last one we have had for a while. Farmers have been ranching almonds, oats, soybeans, rice, hemp, peas, cashews and coconuts for years. Those little milking machines are so cute. There are farmers making base products for those milk-like substances, just like milk, most-times […] Read more