Your Western Producer journalists have produced some very interesting stories about living through this pandemic and how it has affected us and those around us.
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Navigating our uncertain path through the pandemic

Each year, we produce one special edition of your Western Producer. Our editorial staff starts planning for this project months in advance. Like the agriculture we are a part of, we expect it will be innovative, necessary and inspiring. This year, I wasn’t so sure it would be the case. This year, we decided to […] Read more

Noah Bergen skates on an outdoor area on a pond near Plum Coulee, Manitoba. | Dwain Bergen photo

We make our own fun here

There’s a good chance that if you grew up in the rural prairies, you have fond memories of skating under the sky and stars with your friends and neighbours. Times like that leave a lasting impression, and not just because of the frostbite. When this pandemic-mangled winter finally takes its place in the history books, […] Read more

Darryl Falzarano’s expertise with coronaviruses is invaluable in developing a vaccine against COVID-19.  | David Stobbe photo

Learning from COVID-19

With governments around the world rolling out several COVID-19 vaccines, are Canadian development efforts being left behind? “I think it’s too early for us to say, ‘OK, we can sit back and the problem is solved,’” said Dr. Volker Gerdts. “We first have to see how well these vaccines actually do.” Gerdts is director and […] Read more

Lack of students stalls research

Agriculture Canada employs hundreds of highly skilled professionals, who have PhDs and specialized knowledge of plant science, soil nutrients and livestock husbandry. But those experts need summer students to carry out the basic tasks of agricultural research — like seeding, tending to bee hives, harvesting crops and collecting data. This year, students couldn’t work at […] Read more

Ben and Stephanie Campbell of Grazed Right raise cattle on their Tullichewan Ranch near Black Diamond, Alta. They sold more beef in March and April than they normally do in a year amid supply fears.  | Ben Campbell photo

Supply-side worries send sales sky high

Food shortages at the outset of the pandemic sent consumers scrambling to fill their freezers and larders with local food

Consumers facing the growing uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis are seeking the security that comes from having a freezer full of locally-produced food, said an Alberta rancher. “Our sales have been just sky high,” said Ben Campbell, who sells directly to local customers from his Grazed Right business on the Tullichewan Ranch near Black Diamond, […] Read more

The biofuel industry is under pressure as fewer people commute to work and more electric vehicles are introduced to the market.  | File photo

Slow recovery for ethanol industry

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the ethanol sector and the grains that provide the feedstock for the industry. The United States supplies slightly more than half of the world’s ethanol. The U.S. Department of Energy is forecasting that the country will produce 13.8 billion gallons of the fuel in 2020, down from 15.8 […] Read more

Like many other trade shows, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, held each year in Woodstock, Ont., had to move to a virtual experience this year. | File photo

Dark days for farm shows

Restrictions on the number of people that can gather in one place have made farm shows and producer meetings difficult, if not impossible, since the pandemic swept through Canada. Some event organizers cancelled them outright, others held virtual meetings; something they hadn’t previously attempted. In many respects, online events fall short of in-person meetings, but […] Read more

The pandemic has created new business opportunities, ranging from online grocery deliveries to meal kits to ghost kitchens, where  grocery retailers prep and deliver complete meals.  | Getty Images

A radical change

COVID-19 has changed how people eat and shop for food, and there could be more change to come. Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, said food has been a complicated and complex issue during the pandemic. People hoarded some foods, turned to buying others online and decided to grow […] Read more

Food shopping patterns may have been forever altered as many consumers pay more attention to where their food comes from and how it’s produced. Some industry insiders say this will present new opportunities for agriculture.  | Getty Images

The future of food

With a little nudge by a pandemic, the curtain has been opened between the consumer and food system, according to Toronto-based Nourish Food Marketing president Jo-Ann MacArthur. “For the first time (consumers are) starting to read about it. They’re starting to ask questions and they’re starting to understand that distribution systems are different for retailers […] Read more