The wildfires that swept across southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan last October have long been extinguished. But is the region prepared if it was to happen again?  |  File photo

Prairies brace for new fire season

Know the risks


Tinder-dry conditions this spring might have residents of southwestern Saskatchewan a little more on edge than usual. It’s been seven months since the Oct. 17 wildfires that the province’s fire commissioner has described as catastrophic. The area is typically dry, but after a summer with below normal rainfall, it was drier than usual. That evening, […] Read more

Fires left a ravaged landscape, such as this area near Burstall, Sask., and now farmers are trying to seed crops into the damaged land.  |  File photo

A land heals after devastating fire

As the dust devils dance in southeastern Alberta, farmers in the Hilda, Schuler and Acadia Valley areas plant seeds and hope for quick germination and roots that will cling to the soil. They’re planting into land ravaged by an October prairie wildfire that burned more than 25,500 cultivated acres in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Amid flames […] Read more

The fire near Bindloss, Alta., was allowed to spread as far as it did because volunteer firefighters were at one point stopped from entering the Armed Forces base to combat the flames.  |  File photo

Army base improves communications after fire

AFTERMATH CFB Suffield was blamed for a fire in Alberta last September that killed 120 cattle and scorched thousands of acres

Tempers were almost as hot as fire last year when residents from the Bindloss, Alta., area met to discuss a Sept. 11-12 prairie fire that spread from Canadian Forces Base Suffield. The blaze burned down one rancher’s home, killed about 120 cattle, burned winter feed supplies and scorched thousands of acres of native grassland and […] Read more


Getty / WP illustration

Fires continue to take toll on injured farmers

The scars of Oct. 17, 2017, won’t soon fade for those caught in prairie wildfires that night. The Hargrave family lost 35-year-old James, a rancher and volunteer firefighter with the Walsh, Alta., department, in an accident during the fire near Hilda, Alta. Father and son, Ron and Evan Wedrick of Carmichael, Sask., were severely injured […] Read more

Are women under-represented on agricultural boards on the Prairies, and should more be done to close the gap? Kelly Smith-Fraser, 
who ranches near Pine Lake, Alta., and is Alberta Beef Producers’ finance chair, says all that should matter is whether the right person 
is appointed to the right job. Edmonton reporter Jeremy Simes examines the issue in this week’s edition of The Western Producer.  |  Jeremy Simes photo

Getting on board

When Allison Ammeter discusses the future of pulse crops with her fellow board members, she doesn’t feel like she’s giving the “woman’s point of view.” Instead, she says she’s asking questions that her male colleagues aren’t asking, and that’s a good thing. “The men ask certain types of questions and us women ask certain types […] Read more


After Brexit: how the United Kingdom is coping with a new trade landscape

When voters in the United Kingdom decided to sever a 40-year-old relationship with the European Union last year, few of them likely considered the potential consequences of punishing tariffs and the loss of free access to the European market of 500 million consumers. STONELEIGH PARK, U.K. — Voters in the United Kingdom may have decided […] Read more

Last year, Ireland exported more than $16 billion of agricultural products to 175 markets. Some farm groups worry what the trade impact will be on the country with its withdrawal from the European Union   |  Bord Bia photo

Irish farmers worry about loss of U.K. market

DUBLIN, Ireland — Ireland and the United Kingdom may have had their differences over the years, but the two share a strong interdependent business alliance. Bound by cultural ties, proximity and a common language, the two are each other’s best and largest trading partners. As the U.K. prepares to withdraw from the European Union, that […] Read more

Many Scottish producers remain optimistic they will find good export markets for their products.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Uncertainty reigns in Scotland as Brexit looms

EDINBURGH, U.K. — British farmers need to start preparing for all contingencies once the United Kingdom gives up membership in the European Union. “If farmers stopped thinking about the politics of Brexit and started getting some business planning in place so that when the implications of Brexit actually do come to rest, their mindset is […] Read more


English producers prepare for breakup with European Union

STONELEIGH PARK, U.K. — When voters in the United Kingdom went to the polls in June to decide whether they wanted to stay in the European Union, many thought people would opt for the comfort of the status quo. “The expectation from everybody was that it would be close but that it would be remain,” […] Read more

The commodity supercycle: is a big drop coming?

Farmers might not know much about commodity supercycles. Some might not believe in them. But supercycles are real, and whether or not farmers believe in them, they believe in farmers, declares a convincing chorus of specialist economists. “It’s not just a regular business cycle,” said economist Bilge Erten of Northeastern University in Boston, in an […] Read more