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Comment: Death, taxes, and food

Getting taxation right for the agriculture and food sectors will require something other than one-size-fits-all thinking

Up until recently there were two things certain in life: death and taxes. We can now add a third one: Botching the promotion of a tax reform for political gains. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s tax reform has been a communication disaster. Various claims made about Ottawa’s intentions to revamp our tax system for small corporations […] Read more


Farmers need more light, less heat, in tax proposal debate

The sector’s reaction to proposed changes has been needlessly alarmist

The federal government is proposing changes to the Income Tax Act aimed at collecting revenue from corporations that are using certain measures as loopholes to shelter profits from being taxed at the same rate as other Canadians’ income. There is a very heated debate in the farm community about these tax proposals, largely because some […] Read more



Ritz leaves lasting legacy

The colourful and often controversial agriculture minister undoubtedly left his mark

In time Gerry Ritz will receive his due for his accomplishments as federal agriculture minister, an eight-year stint that marked the agri-food sector’s emergence from obscurity to growing recognition as a powerhouse of the Canadian economy. Although Ritz handily held his riding in the 2015 election and switched to being international trade critic, being in […] Read more


Technology troubles in the agriculture sector

Human nature and the cycle of technology adoption affects commodity price cycles

Today, we are in the middle of an agricultural downturn. Just a few years ago, the production agriculture sector was booming, along with most input suppliers. Now, net U.S. farm income has fallen 81 per cent and the near-term prospects are not positive. Production agriculture has been through this phenomenon many times in the past, […] Read more



Four wooden spoons with dried peas and lentils

Give peas a chance

If we do, they’ll grow the western economy

The Canadian Prairies are well known for being global leaders in pulse production and exports, but we didn’t get here by being complacent. We are now in the midst of an opportunity to become the premier region for pulse fractionation, a relatively new processing technology that breaks pulses into protein, starch and fibre fractions for […] Read more


NAFTA renegotiation is a failure of education

Trade enhances productivity, improves real wages and grows economies, but not enough people know how or why

Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement has got underway. Canada, Mexico and the United States have begun a complex, time-consuming and difficult process that could change everything — or almost nothing. For all countries involved, the risk and uncertainty outweigh the potential rewards, because we already had the ultimate reward: free trade. Only […] Read more



Canada’s supply management system for dairy is no longer defensible

It’s unfair to consumers and has significant hidden costs when it comes to making trade deals

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear: Dairy is high on the U.S. agenda for NAFTA. And Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has also made it clear that this government is committed to protecting supply management. Three of the top-six milk-producing states in the United States — Wis­consin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — helped […] Read more


Stock market chart on LCD screen. Selective focus.

‘Group think’ let market watchers down

Markets were surprised by the latest optimistic yield expectations for corn and soy from USDA

Farmers, traders, and analysts alike were left shocked after the U.S. Department of Agriculture published its optimistic corn and soybean yields earlier this month, though the market’s narrow expectations going into the Aug. 10 report may carry some of the blame. Analysts were looking for USDA to lower the U.S. corn yield to 166.2 bushels […] Read more



Analysis: AgriStability review welcomed, but can it be fixed without more money?

KAP says in 2013 the program switched from farm income stability to disaster relief

After cuts to AgriStability five years ago, then Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) president Doug Chorney predicted “AgriStability will be losing support… from farmers because it really has got to be questionable if you’ll ever see a payment.” He was right. Participation is down. In 2013, there were 7,015 Manitoba farmers enrolled in the federal-provincial ‘business […] Read more


NAFTA ‘absolutely essential’ for U.S. dairy industry

Dairy executive fears U.S. could lose Mexican market share to New Zealand and EU

Excerpts from testimony by Stan Ryan, president and CEO of Darigold and the Northwest Dairy Association, to the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, July 18.
 As we look at how to ensure we can continue a positive track record of export sales supporting farms and good jobs back here at home, NAFTA, […] Read more