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

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

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This column is labelled GM-free

You’re walking through your local co-op grocery store in that browsing mode you sometimes fall into when you are waiting for the soil temperature to rise enough to go seeding. A smart-looking, brightly coloured label catches your eye on a bottle of orange juice. “This product does not contain strychnine,” it says, below a stylized […] Read more

The official story behind the ban of Canadian canola is that China claims to have found some potentially dangerous elements in Canadian canola exports and they are working with that nation to solve the problem. | File photo

Canada toes the official line on China

China’s pain has been inflicted mainly upon the plain, or the Plains to be specific. The official story behind the ban of Canadian canola, and one cannot blame Canadian officials for sticking to their talking points, is that China claims to have found some potentially dangerous elements in Canadian canola exports and they are working […] Read more

On the policy side, if you personally support petroleum production in Canada, it is hard to argue with buying a pipeline and expanding it to ensure exports, while waiting out court orders and regulatory impositions that no government could ignore.
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Canada: constitutional confusion

Where you live in the country and where your personal politics reside has a lot to do with how supportive one might be of our current federal government. But, it would be very difficult to take issue with the success of the economy or the levels of support, both fiscally and spiritually, the Liberals have […] Read more

‘Fake news’ term not to be used lightly

I have, in recent weeks, come across the term “fake news” when people want to express their concern with an element in a story or column. This term has caught on and is being used as a tool to denigrate other people’s communication. It is often used inappropriately. The term was popularized by U.S. President […] Read more

Gov’t tries controlling the message

Agriculture Canada tried to impose media talking points on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for the public release of a study that examined glyphosate levels in Canadian food. Before the study’s release, CFIA provided the Grains Roundtable an overview of the study’s findings on April 10, 2017, according to an Agriculture Canada internal report obtained […] Read more

Barb Glen won an award for her photo of Cal Wellman who lost his barn, corral, tractor and winter feed in the fire that devastated parts of southwestern Alberta last fall. | Barb Glen photo

Your Producer journalists served you well

Most of you might not be aware that in this craft of agricultural journalism, a subset of the larger media industry, we have professional associations. One of the highlights of being a member of these groups is the annual competitions that allow us to see what the current standards in our business look like. As […] Read more

Discerning readers will notice that we’ve been writing a lot about farmers’ use of chemicals lately.
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Our coverage of chemicals worthwhile

Discerning readers will notice that we’ve been writing a lot about farmers’ use of chemicals lately. There are four stories in this week’s Western Producer: one about the low thresholds used by Health Canada for neonicotinoids, one detailing how beekeepers in Western Canada are worried that a ban on neonics will result in farmers using […] Read more

‘Fake news’ tag harms useful info

I have, for the first time in my 25 years at The Western Producer, heard from farmer-readers that the professional press, including us, is “fake.” Lately, the term is being thrown around a lot. I was sitting in the sprayer, not so very long ago, going back and forth, as these things do when everything […] Read more

Ag organizations must earn a “social licence” before new technology will be adopted, Kevin Folta said. “It breaks my heart to (see the solutions that are available), especially in the developing world, that don’t get to their target, that don’t serve the people they were meant to serve.”
 | Screencap via Twitter/@GlobalFoodSecur

Trust vs. facts in debate over agriculture

We have often championed the virtue of good communications about agriculture to consumers, but Kevin Folta, a professor in the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida, has outlined a process to ensure the targets and the messages are effective. Folta, who spoke at the Global Institute for Food Security conference in Saskatoon last week, urged those […] Read more