Latest articles

Comment: Let us pray

Political turmoil and gridlock in the U.S. is just one symptom of a world in gridlock that can’t solve problems

Man, that ended badly. December limped to an ugly conclusion as nearly everyone from Wall Street to Main Street took a year-end pounding not seen in three generations. Pick an investment sector (stocks, bonds, commodities); a nation state (the U.S., China, or the European Union); or a political system (a democratic republic, parliamentary, or single-party […] Read more

Funds view grains and oilseeds more favourably

Investor sentiment has clearly shifted in the past 12 months

Speculators rang in 2019 with a much less pessimistic take on Chicago-traded grains and oilseeds than a year earlier, though trade tensions and the lapse in U.S. government data are providing the market with plenty of uncertainty. As of Jan. 2, trade sources suggest that commodity funds held a very slight combined net long position […] Read more

Comment: Romaine calm

An industry-led food safety program appears to have got complacent and self-congratulatory

So, we finally went from a slew of alerts on romaine lettuce to a series of clearcut recalls affecting various produce items, including romaine lettuce and cauliflower. This is the worst time of year for Canadians as our economy is more vulnerable to outbreaks in imported produce. Chances are cauliflower will be very expensive and […] Read more

Comment: Flexitarianism on the menu

A large and growing group of Canadians are becoming ‘part-time vegetarians’

Restaurants are struggling to get a good handle on how consumers are rapidly shifting away from animal protein. According to a recent study by Dalhousie University, nearly one in five Canadians have decided to either reduce the amount of meat they consume or have outright eliminated it from their diets. Add the fact that 63 […] Read more

Comment: Another war to end all wars

No one knows when — or even if — the ongoing and looming trade wars will end

This year marked 100 years since the end of the First World War, which U.S. President Woodrow Wilson called “the war to end all wars.” Wilson saw himself as a historic peacemaker; instead he became an ironic phrasemaker. The Great War never brought an end to war, or even an end to that war. The […] Read more

Palm Reading Hand Gesture on White Background

Comment: Reading the facts at hand — or in your palm

If you ignore bad news because you don’t want to hear it, it’s at your peril

Years ago, an enterprising neighbour operated a palm reading business from her home with just a secretary, fax machine, and telephone. Her business model was simple: After clients faxed their photocopied handprint and sent some form of payment (rumour had it, it was $20), our neighbour telephoned them with the results of the “reading.” While […] Read more

Comment: A painful experience

Why self-checkouts at the grocery store never seem to work properly

Some Canadians detest going to the grocery store. It’s repetitive, tiring, and quite unpleasant at times, especially when the store is busy. Picking up groceries and lugging them back home is work, something most would rather avoid. On the other hand, many of us do enjoy visiting food stores and discovering new products or new […] Read more

Comment: Brother, can you spare a cup of water?

Agriculture is a very thirsty industry and that could spell trouble

Humanity depends on three critical threes: Without oxygen, most humans will die within three minutes; without water, life expectancy is three days; without food, we’ve got three weeks. Few here give three seconds of thought of any of these life-ensuring elements because, here, food is safe and plentiful, air quality laws are in place and […] Read more

Comment: A more transparent regulatory system is key to public trust

The deepening controversy over glyphosate is only the tip of the iceberg

My parents decided in the mid-1980s that they wanted to do a better job of caring for the soils on our southern Manitoba farm — and tillage had to go. However, eliminating tillage meant coming up with another way of controlling weeds that would otherwise choke out a fledgling crop. One of the tools they […] Read more

Comment: Sonny warned ’em — twice, in fact

Trump can’t claim he wasn’t forewarned about agriculture trade calamity

It’s Thanksgiving week recently here in the U.S., so let’s be generous: The White House trade policy, marked by its heavy use of import tariffs and presidential tweets, continues to confound economists and trading partners alike. A more accurate, less generous view of President Donald J. Trump’s trade policy would declare it an unhinged mess […] Read more