Farmers must reduce antibiotic use or gov’t will set own agenda

The warning by Herman Barkema, a leader in infectious disease in livestock, about antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is ominous: “If we do not get our act together they (regulatory bodies) will come with measures whether we like it or not.” The World Health Organization developed a plan to tackle the issue in 2015 with the One Health […] Read more

Wall government gave agriculture portfolio respect

The response to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s announced departure from politics last week has been largely laudatory — even to the point of eye-rolling, with former Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeting that Wall “will go down in history as the man who turned the fortunes of Saskatchewan around.” Inheriting a budget surplus and then running […] Read more

Mandatory labels create inefficiencies bad for all

The arguments behind Italy’s move to require country-of-origin labelling for pasta are as limp as over-boiled spaghetti. The label requirement is a protectionist trade barrier and unwelcome when beneficial global trade is under attack on many fronts. Canada must respond aggressively against the labels because it hurts Canadian farmers and sets a regressive precedent. The […] Read more

Ag carbon reduction policies must jibe with food demands

Given the diversity of carbon regimes in place — or about to be launched across the nation — there is one thing in the agricultural industry that is certain: farmers don’t like it. In fact, many farmers are downright angry. This was evident long before The Western Producer’s three-week series on various carbon reduction efforts […] Read more

If livestock sector fails to police against abuse, government will

Farmers tend to view covert video taken by activists working as temporary employees as invasive at best and sinister at worst. Trouble is, the tactic keeps showing its worth by revealing abuse of livestock; abuse that can’t be tolerated by the agriculture industry or by society as a whole. Such was the case at several […] Read more

U.S. ag secretary pours oil on troubled trade waters

It’s doubtful that U.S. President Donald Trump was thinking of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign-policy advice — speak softly and carry a big stick — with his approach to NAFTA and agriculture in particular, but the United States is nonetheless following that counsel — sort of. Trump bludgeoned and blustered his way through criticism of the North […] Read more

Creating national food policy will require give and take

Sometimes during an election, a candidate will choose an event at a farm or farmers market to solemnly state that Canada for too long has been without a national food policy. Most voters will nod in agreement and applaud. But the problem is that different people have different ideas of how a national food policy […] Read more

Farmers leery of grain company mergers

Farmers concerned about how a wave of consolidation in the agricultural chemical sector will affect them, might soon see the trend spread to grain companies. Glencore Agriculture Ltd., the giant commodity corporation’s joint venture that owns Viterra, last week made an informal approach to global grain trader Bunge Ltd. regarding a “possible consensual business combination.” […] Read more

Transportation reform bill addresses most farm needs

Rarely has proposed federal legislation met with such widespread farm group support. The new Transportation Modernization Act, called Bill C-49, has a host of measures designed to improve the movement of people and goods in Canada, but farmers are most interested in the part that addresses grain transportation. Farm group news releases “welcomed” the legislation, […] Read more

Alta. livestock head tax sign of infrastructure challenges

The rubber has hit the road in southern Alberta’s Lethbridge County, where a per-animal-unit tax imposed last year recently survived a court challenge. Faced with the need to raise funds for road and bridge improvement, the municipality imposed a “head tax,” which particularly targets confined feeding operations. In the region colloquially known as feedlot alley, […] Read more