Consumers’ fickle wishes mean farmers must adapt

Surveys on consumer attitudes about farmers are often perplexing, and Cargill’s recent survey on expectations of farmers is no less so. Perhaps the oddest result is that only 55 percent of consumers listed the desire for “safe, healthy, abundant and affordable food” as their top priority.” What could be more important? Farmers understandably might think […] Read more

Dairy aid was reasonable, but grain sector needs help

Grain farmers looking at the $1.75 billion compensation package for Canada’s dairy farmers can understandably be dismayed. After all, grain farmers in Canada are facing extraordinary trade issues and there is no such compensation for them. Dairy farmers, who own quotas for production under Canada’s supply management system, lost about eight percent of their market […] Read more

This year looks like it will be close to a record year for grain movement in Western Canada.
 | File photo

Rail, infrastructure gains give reason for optimism

Canada’s two major rail companies have taken heat over the last few years for failure to provide consistent movement of agricultural products. However, now it looks like genuine change is underway. The turnaround is remarkable. After a difficult winter in 2013-14, which the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission says cost around $6.5 billion, and more difficulties […] Read more

Producers must take note of consumer trends

Cargill’s launch of its BeefUp Sustainability program aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of beef production across the supply chain is a welcome initiative. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases associated with livestock by 30 percent per pound of product by 2030. Conversion of its successful pilot program to a full-scale standing program is […] Read more

Senate lays groundwork for value-added efforts

Observers of Canada’s Senate have noted in the past that while the politics can be awkward, there is a lot of good work done at the committee level. And so it is with the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, which has produced a useful report on the future of Canada’s agriculture. The report […] Read more

Undermining science for votes is unacceptable

Should politicians use our public institutions as populist tools? Likely not. And when it comes to the de-sciencing of agriculture and food, definitely not. Just because we are entering the silly-season, when the writ drops along with politicians’ expectations of our IQs, it doesn’t mean it is an excuse to court votes through agriculture and […] Read more

Critics of China policy provide no firm solutions

Opposition MPs are tasked with poking and prodding the government to find weaknesses, which, in an ideal world, would bring about changes in policy to address those shortcomings. And so we have seen a lot of debate over what Canada should do to address China’s intransigence in the current trade dispute, but the opposition has […] Read more

Farmers should examine procedures following ban

If, as is suspected, veterinary health certificates for pork exports to China were falsified by an exterior source, it is ironic that Canadian pork quality is so well respected that it was deemed to be worthy of counterfeiting, and thus caused a disruption in trade. Such is the precarious state of trade with China these […] Read more

Food policy is a good start but must be taken further

Canada’s first attempt at a national food policy covers the foundation of the food supply, but it reads more like a check-off of an election promise than a roadmap to better nutrition for Canadians. The Liberals’ election promise of creating a food policy has ostensibly been met with the announcement of the “ambitious initiative” earlier […] Read more

Farmer co-operation can combat cyberbullying

The dilemma of consumer education about agriculture is intensifying. One important way to engage in consumer education about farm practices is online — specifically, social media. But now it appears that the rational voices of some farmers are being hounded out of social media through cyberbullying. Surveys show that farmers are the most-trusted source of […] Read more