Empty store shelves early on in the pandemic were one example of the lack of resiliency in the supply chain. The problem was eventually solved, but there are examples that would be more expensive to fix.  | File photo

Resiliency is a great idea, until you have to pay for it

Other than “unprecedented,” the term “resiliency” has been the biggest buzzword of the pandemic — at least in agriculture. I doubt I’ve taken part in a webinar, Zoom call or online press conference since March without the term being used prominently repeatedly. Resiliency is a hot concept right now, but what does it really mean? […] Read more


A food-insecure China will hopefully ease up on its belligerent attitude toward its trading partners when it realizes it doesn’t want to cut itself off from supplies of agricultural commodities from major exporters such as Canada.  |  Reuters/ Kim Kyung-Hoon photo

More self-interest in U.S., China would favour Canada

Canada’s best hope for better agricultural trade comes from the United States and China becoming more self-interested. That’s likely to happen in the U.S. now that Donald Trump appears to be heading for the political scrap heap, and we can hope it’ll happen as China recognizes the disaster its recent belligerent behaviour with so many […] Read more


Canadian farmers have found themselves on the front lines of the trade wars that have been breaking out with alarming regularity.  |  File photo

Canada struggles to redefine its role in new world order

What’s Canada’s situation in the world? That’s a tough question to answer these days. It ain’t what it used to be. The easiest thing in the world right now is to talk about the daunting challenges facing Canada, focusing on the complexities of the Canada-United States, Canada-China and Canada-European Union relationships. I hear a lot […] Read more

Harvest canola rally could pose threat to risk management

It’s great to see canola prices soar. Or rather, it’s great to see canola prices soar if you have canola and if you haven’t already priced it all at lower prices. The counter-seasonal rally is certainly an epic aberration from normal patterns to watch, and for those with unpriced canola, it’s an early Christmas present. […] Read more


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wave during happier times between the two countries. The best approach to take now with China might be to not kowtow to the Asian powerhouse but also endeavour to allow the situation to cool and avoid provoking the dragon.  |  Reuters/Chris Wattie photo

Canada can do business with China despite the yelling

You might have noticed that China is tightening the screws on Australia, telling Chinese importers to avoid buying Australian cotton. You might have heard China’s ambassador to Canada last week seeming to threaten Canadians living in Hong Kong if Canada accepts political refugees from the former British colony. Did you notice that Canada’s exports to […] Read more

For farmers, options are a sadly neglected tool in marketing and risk management. | Getty Images

Options are neglected tool in managing marketing risk

Option contracts are getting a lot of attention these days — for all the wrong reasons. They have been massively used and abused, often to disastrous results, by the hordes of homebound, overconfident young men idled by the pandemic, who flocked to trading platforms like Robinhood to make overnight riches. Many of them put everything […] Read more

Canadian farmers, with their relative lack of support from their governments, are in a vulnerable position. They won’t be the only losers if they don’t get more support to match U.S. and other subsidies and market measures. | Twitter/@WhiteHouse photo

Federal help needed to stop farmers becoming losers

Canadian farmers aren’t supposed to be the agricultural world’s losers. But they could become that if Ottawa and the provinces don’t step up to give them the level playing field they need. If other countries are going to back their farmers with money, inflicting damage to the global price structure for crops and meat, Canada […] Read more


Critics argue that the federal government must do something about the failure of Canada’s trade agreement with the European Union to deliver its promises for agri-food exporters. The meat sector has been particularly disappointed.  | Reuters/Benoit Tessier photo

Canada needs to adopt a new approach to the EU: URGENCY!

With all the frustration and abuse coming from Canada’s fraught trading relationship with China, it was easy to forget all about the third anniversary of the Canada-European Union trade deal (CETA) last week. But when Canada’s agriculture and food exporters turned their attention to that quieter relationship, it wasn’t with any joy. Nor were many […] Read more

For Angie Setzer, vice-president of Grain for Citizens in Michigan, imbibing oceans of market chatter is bad not just because it doesn’t lead to better-informed decisions, but it can also lead to decision-paralysis due to information overload.
 | File photo

Analysts warn producers about dangers of information overload

I haven’t logged into Facebook for a month and I feel great.Not only am I avoiding getting pulled into pointless and annoying discussions about all sorts of things, but I’m loving the extra time it’s giving me. I might only spend 15 minutes a day on that app, but in my busy life I’ve got […] Read more