Producers must have a say in seed research dollars

If more private investment is needed to develop seed varieties, the two models proposed by Agriculture Canada are not going to work. In reality, we have to wonder if the federal government has lost its drive to do this, given the intense resistance by producers to the process so far, and frankly — given the […] Read more

Canada needs to consider tougher approach to trade

Should Canada stop being nice when it comes to agricultural trade? That seems to be the gist of October’s policy note by research firm Agri-Food Economic Systems. The argument in the report is solid. The options for Canada range from nice to naughty. So, at what point should Canada’s government and the agri-food industry accept […] Read more

Parties address agriculture using a variety of promises

All major parties have vowed to put agriculture at the heart of their decision-making. A review of their policies that affect prairie farmers places agriculture in various stages of importance. Farm groups have issued their priorities. Addressing market access issues is on everyone’s list. A federally funded program to address damage from market issues has […] Read more

Stress must be managed properly in this tough fall

In recent days, the warmer weather returned, the snow left the fields and the combines were back at work. It should have been a good time for farmers, drinking up the fields with their machines, but instead it will be another intensely stressful harvest. And if forecasts are correct, they’ll be facing snow again shortly. […] Read more

Ag debate a good airing but left many questions

Political debates offer parties the opportunity to explain their priorities and challenge their opponents. In that respect, the agricultural debate held Sept. 24 was moderately successful. Liberal Marie-Claude Bibeau, who was minister of agriculture in the Trudeau government, and Conservative agriculture critic Luc Berthold were handcuffed by their parties’ decisions not to release their agricultural […] Read more

The five research superclusters developed through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada were chosen by industry experts in competitive processes to create the incentives to drive research that would likely not have been undertaken by industry alone.
 | Screencap via

Supercluster funding not a corporate subsidy

Elections can bring out the truth of a party’s intentions, but often the most ideological elements of a political group remain hidden from the larger population until after it has won the election. Last week, the Conservatives showed some of their true colours when taking a run at the research superclusters, suggesting they are somehow […] Read more

Federal election must address agricultural issues

Anyone who checks out Maclean’s magazine’s policy platform tracker for the federal election campaign would be disappointed when they click on the tab for agriculture. Under every party’s name, it reads only, “No specific proposals yet.” This despite a 2017 report by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth identifying agriculture as one of […] Read more

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