Sustainability is crucial for prairie farm survival

Sustainability is crucial for prairie farm survival

Sustainability — it’s a word you have heard more often in the past decade. Within the last two years a mention can be found several times in every edition of this publication. But what is sustainability? It’s farming, Prairies-style. As a capital-intensive business with inconsistent returns and oft-needed recapitalization, prairie farming is almost exclusively a […] Read more

Western Producer reporters Doug Ferguson, Ed White and Robert Arnason look at the challenges and opportunities created by an increased focus on ag’s carbon footprint — and the pressures farmers face to get it done. | WP illustration

The carbon crunch

The world must cut agricultural emissions by an estimated two-thirds by 2050 to help fight climate change while simultaneously producing 50 percent more food, said an American researcher. Serious efforts must be made to put “real money into what I call collaborative projects … where farmers, scientists, the private sector are working together to explore […] Read more

Canada’s beef production system enjoys some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of beef in the world, according to Tim McAllister, principal research scientist for Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge. | File photo

Beef sector’s sustainability defended

It is vital to separate fact from fiction when it comes to climate change and the Canadian beef industry, said an expert. “Really, what we’re talking about here in most agricultural systems is trade-offs,” said Tim McAllister, principal research scientist for Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge. “There’s no one system that’s perfect.” However, he said Canada’s […] Read more


Fertilizer is a sustainability risk for the crop, but carbon sequestration may be an opportunity due to no till. | File photo

Sustainability focus may benefit canola

Fertilizer is a sustainability risk 
for the crop, but carbon sequestration
 may be an opportunity due to no till

Palm oil has a reputation problem. In 2019, 41 percent of respondents in a United Kingdom survey said palm oil was “environmentally unfriendly”. That number was much worse than other vegetable oils — only nine percent said rapeseed oil (canola) is environmentally unfriendly, five percent for sunflower and two percent for olive oil. Sustained campaigns […] Read more

Perhaps putting effort into opposing the carbon tax is a distraction from embracing the opportunity for producing low-carbon food, says Lee Moats, a long-time agronomist who switched to production agriculture and now operates a family farm at Riceton, Sask. | WP illustration

Low carbon footprint seen as marketing edge

Farmers need to flip some of today’s annoying consumer demands into tomorrow’s advantages, says an agricultural representative turned full-time farmer. Embracing those consumer priorities might be one of the few things that can make up for the Prairies’ landlocked position. “What if the new quality isn’t just talking about the protein content of our wheat, […] Read more


The soybean industry says U.S. president Joe Biden’s campaign promise to move the government fleet to electric vehicles is more of a threat to ethanol than biodiesel.  | Reuters photo

U.S. soy sector has high hopes for Biden

The American Soybean Association thinks it may have a receptive ear in Washington when lobbying on some of its key policy objectives. That is because president Joe Biden’s administration is keenly focused on addressing climate change and promoting sustainability programs. Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the ASA, hopes that means the U.S. Environmental Protection […] Read more

The project, through Field to Market’s Continuous Improvement Accelerator program, will take place on fields in southern Saskatchewan, mainly the Regina Plains area, that produce Avena’s oats and pulses. | Screencap via fieldtomarket.org

Avena Foods joins sustainability program

Regina-based Avena Foods has signed on to Field to Market Canada and enrolled in a project designed to set a sustainability base line. The project, through Field to Market’s Continuous Improvement Accelerator program, will take place on fields in southern Saskatchewan, mainly the Regina Plains area, that produce Avena’s oats and pulses. Vice-president of sales […] Read more

Saskatchewan moves to small battery recycling for 2020.  |  Mike Raine photo

Battery recycling program for Sask.

Saskatchewan will implement a battery recycling program beginning Jan. 1. The 73 SARCAN collection depots, along with other designated sites, will accept single-use and rechargeable consumer batteries that weigh less than five kilograms each, excluding lead acid batteries. The program will be operated by a non-profit environmental stewardship organization called Call2Recycle Canada. It has been […] Read more


It is a difficult word to define that changes depending on the commodity, but an important one for consumers and international standards. The Canadian AgriFood Sustainability Initiative (CASI) will look to bring those definitions together under one umbrella. | File photo

Project to define ‘sustainable’

The oft-used phrase of “sustainability” may be getting some clarity in Canadian agriculture. At the end of February, the Canadian AgriFood Sustainability Initiative (CASI) was launched in partnership with the federal government, which is pitching in $560,000 over three years. “It’s a platform to bring together sustainability initiatives to align with international sustainability standards in […] Read more

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in glyphosate use.  |  File photo

More sustainability scrutiny called new reality

Grain buyers and end users are increasingly asking producers for details about their production practices on the farm

BANFF, Alta. — Jason Lenz’s farm was one of the first in Alberta to discover wild oats resistant to Avadex. It was an eye-opening experience and the impetus to keep better records of all farm activities, he said during a sustainability discussion at the Prairie Cereals summit held in Banff Dec. 11-12. “There has been […] Read more