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.
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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

Canadian farmers can still count on the global market, despite threats to access that they have faced recently in various parts of the world.  |  File photo

Battered markets are more resilient than they might seem

China knows how to stick it to Canadian farmers. The Europeans know how to keep out Canadian farm products, but they do it with more subtlety and grace. With the United States, who knows what Donald Trump or Joe Biden will do with North American free trade in the next four years? It’s hard to […] Read more

Farmers will have to work hard to help Chrystia Freeland, the new federal finance minister, put the brakes on proposed “green project” spending that would be bad for agriculture.  |  Reuters/Blair Gable photo

Don’t let the Green agenda trump the Growth agenda

Chrystia Freeland has a tough balancing act ahead of her and farmers should hope she succeeds. As the new finance minister, she must deliver on her Liberal party’s and her prime minister’s desire to create a formidable “Green” legacy, while protecting this country’s ability to do business, to produce goods and services at world-competitive costs, […] Read more

Do farmers understand the economics of owning land? | File photo

Understand farmland economics, not just the farmland market

Farmers are sometimes accused of knowing lots about how to produce crops, livestock and other agricultural commodities, but little about agricultural markets and marketing. (If you’re reading this column, you’re probably not one of those.) However, when it comes to the most important market farmers operate within — their local farmland market — the average […] Read more

We can look on these foreign situations with horror or smugness, but instead, I suggest we gaze inwards with humility and thankfulness. Canada still has a government system that works.
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Let us give thanks to our systems, government and politicians

The images of Beirut shattered by a mushroom cloud, right on the 75th anniversary of the A-bomb attack on Hiroshima, stand as a powerful indictment of a government and civil society that has failed to manage a known risk. Terrible accidents happen, but the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that exploded on Aug. 4, in […] Read more

Infrastructure such as the Port of Vancouver needs protection from other interests that aren’t always friendly.  |  Ed White photo

Agriculture export infrastructure’s future not guaranteed

There are a lot of things you can take for granted in a First World nation. The rule of law applies. Civil liberties have the force of law. Property rights are protected. National interests trump local concerns. Actually, you can’t count on the last one. In a federation like Canada, the world’s second oldest federation, […] Read more

It’s hard to find a silver lining to this winter of woe.
 But for those farmers who survive its many travails and get a better year in 2020-21, perhaps stronger farms and Canadian farming system will arise.
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Tough couple of years could end up making farmers stronger

It’s hard to find a silver lining to this winter of woe. But for those farmers who survive its many travails and get a better year in 2020-21, perhaps stronger farms and Canadian farming system will arise. That’s the kind of wisdom I sensed developing among farmers and those who serve them during the Canadian […] Read more

Manitoba Agriculture’s cost of production data for 2020 found corn to be the most profitable of all large acre crops grown in the province, but also number one on the list of insurance risks.  |  File photo

Corn and oats most profitable in Man., but corn most risky

Looked at one way, oats and corn are the obvious best big-acreage crops to sow this spring. Looked at another way, the two crops are both likely to be profitable for farmers on the eastern Prairies. Looked at still a different way, oat crops look super-safe to grow and corn looks super-risky. It’s all a […] Read more

Prairie farming and agriculture feel very different as we roll into 2020 from the place we were at the beginning of 2010. But what is that difference? | File photo

Decade began with the wheat board and ended in chaos

We roared into the 2010s raging about the Canadian Wheat Board as we rode atop a raging commodity bull market. We stumble out of 2019 savaged by dreadful weather, struggles to break even and a suddenly harsh world environment. And in the midst of it all, we saw farmers make some great profits, suffer some […] Read more

No matter where I have gone this fall and winter, I’ve picked up a constant murmur of anxiety and worry from the farmers I talk with. 
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Stress, anxiety can result in poor decision-making, risk

How much value-at-risk (VaR) is your farm carrying this winter? And what’s the chief cause of that risk? With so much of this year’s crop in poor condition and in perilous situations, the average prairie farm’s revenues could swing by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how well those crops are treated […] Read more