The Americans’ recent bungling of trade files means their country is far behind Canada, which must make the most of these new-found opportunities.  |  File photo

U.S. trade mess is Canada’s chance to gain advantage

So, what now? With the U.S. midterm elections done, we have more certainty about who has the power and influence in Washington for the next two years. Unfortunately, that doesn’t provide a lot of certainty for trade. Will the U.S. approve NAFTA2? Will the U.S. attempt to get back into the new Trans-Pacific Partnership? Most […] Read more

The failure of interest rates to rise during the financial crisis in 2008 is credited with spurring the massive agricultural expansion that followed.  |  REUTERS/Mark Blinch photo

2008 crisis showed importance of interest rates

Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a series of columns looking at the lessons learned from the financial crisis of 2008. Basic assumptions failed. Reasonable expectations were vexed. Predicting the future became perilous for any prognosticator. However, Phil Shaw found an old lesson verified in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-09: interest […] Read more

Supply management could be ready for some further consideration after the trade deals that have recently given up ground to international markets.  |  Michael Raine photo

Canada’s supply managed sectors must now avoid stagnation

Ed White’s series on lessons learned from the financial crisis of 10 years ago will resume next week. Now is the time to face up to the bad math that threatens to throttle the future of the Canadian dairy industry. In the aftermath of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, there is a lot of talk of […] Read more


Traders in the corn options pit at the CME Group signal orders shortly before the closing bell in Chicago, Feb. 11, 2011. Large speculators trimmed their net-long stakes in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures and options by adding shorts to their position as prices approached 2-1/2-year highs.  |  REUTERS/Frank Polich photo

Manage farms like low-margin, high-volume businesses

Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a series of columns looking at the lessons learned from the financial crisis of 2008. There’s no sure-fire way for a farm protect itself against crash risk. The 2008-09 financial crisis proved that, and it sent a shockwave through the farming and agriculture industries, causing immense damage and […] Read more

A sign hangs in a window at Fishs Eddy store in New York Dec. 24, 2008. The global recession manifested itself in big and small ways, most gloomy, some quirky and often reflecting the inventive human spirit. A series of Hedge Row columns will look at the lessons Canadian farmers can learn from the crisis.  |  REUTERS/Michelle Nichols photo

Remembering the lessons from the 2008 financial crisis

Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of columns looking at the lessons learned from the financial crisis of 2008. Do you remember where you were 10 years ago when we fell into a worldwide financial crisis? (It still doesn’t have a generally accepted name, with the Great Contraction, the Financial Crisis and […] Read more


The Class 7 solution seemed to solve some of the Canadian dairy sector’s problems, but the export component angered the American industry.  |  File photo

Supply management in trouble even if it survives NAFTA

The worst outcome from any North American Free Trade Agreement deal would be a supply management system that survives but is weakened. Saving free access to the United States, if that happens, will be a blessed relief for all the Canadian crop, livestock and food businesses. And if dairy supply management manages to survive, even […] Read more

Hog producers are seeing prices that, if sustained, would crush the industry. Profitability is hard to predict, but the fall season might provide relative opportunities.  |  Michael Raine photo

Diving hog prices more of a grey swan than black swan

It’s been 10 years since the world learned what a black swan was, embracing the concept as the best-feeling explanation for the 2008-09 worldwide financial crisis. Today it’s worth looking back at that concept and book, by trader and supremely arrogant pontificator Nassim Nicholas Taleb, to see if we’ve learned its primary lessons, because we […] Read more

The most likely impact of the Turkish lira crisis is that the Canadian dollar might slip a couple of pennies against the American dollar in the next few weeks if the crisis continues or spreads.  |  REUTERS/Murad Sezer illustration

Measures advised to help protect against falling loonie

Do you know how the Turkish crisis is going to work out? Me neither. But while I get to watch the situation in a professional capacity, getting intellectual joy out of it, you get to worry about how it is going to affect the value of hundreds of thousands or a couple of million dollars […] Read more


Not knowing how long the trade dispute between China and the United States will last makes the pricing and hedging of continentally and internationally traded commodities a riskier proposition on both sides of the border.  |  File photo

Assuming trade war will end soon is risky marketing move

Assumptions and reasonable expectations can be risky when the world goes crazy. That’s true in agricultural markets right now, with United States President Donald Trump’s multi-front trade war just beginning to bring economic bloodshed. It makes hedging everyday production risks more fraught than usual. Before I discuss these risks a bit more, let me muse […] Read more

Closed market access because of the discovery of genetically modified wheat plants in Alberta may upend the predictable market cycles on which hedging is based.  |  File photo

Unpredictability makes hedging difficult for producers

There are some things you can count on in the crop and meat markets: Crops are volatile but rise from spring toward August and then sell off as weather worries arise and then dissipate. Pork prices rise into midsummer as barbecuers work their grills, and then sell off. Except when those things don’t happen, like […] Read more