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Amazon and the slow death of the traditional grocery store

The Amazon effect means consumers will have greater choice and convenience – from their homes

The bricks-and-mortar food retailing model is losing its lustre in Canada. The signs are everywhere. Loblaws is the latest grocer to commit to home delivery. Starting in December, Canada’s leading food retailer has an ambitious plan to deliver food for a fee from coast to coast. The company has spent millions to make many of […] Read more

Comment: A path forward for pulses

Governments must be cautious about what signals they’re sending the market and aware of unintended consequences

India and Canada are the two global superpowers of the pulse world. India is the world’s largest producer and the largest consumer of pulses. Canada is the world’s largest exporter of pulses. India’s growing population, strong economic growth, and inevitable variability in production and harvest quality (weather dependent) all point towards the need for a […] Read more

We haven’t seen anything like this in a generation

The rise of the ‘grocerant’ appears poised to revolutionize both grocery chains and the restaurant business

Food trends are difficult to follow these days. As with hip sectors such as the high-tech industry, the food industry is coming up with its own peculiar lingo when describing market shifts. One of the latest examples is ‘grocerant,’ a word combining ‘grocer’ and ‘restaurant.’ The term has been around for a few years, but it […] Read more

USDA forecast puts soybeans in uncharted territory

Acreage is up but production down in the latest USDA monthly crop production report

Just when analysts thought they had figured out the pattern in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. soybean forecasts, the agency’s latest estimate broke form and created even more uncertainty in the market. In its monthly U.S. crop production report on Oct. 19, USDA increased harvested area of the oilseed by 740,000 acres but lowered […] Read more

NAFTA’s potential end is Canada’s greatly needed wake-up call

Now more than ever the nation must expand its portfolio of allies and partners and take a strategic approach to trade

Despite Canada’s optimism, NAFTA talks seem to be heading nowhere. Wanting to push back on Mexico’s influence over the American economy, Washington now is indicating that the bilateral option with Canada is more appealing. In Trump’s playbook, multilateral deals are highly complex and can only benefit smaller markets to a greater degree. Bilateral deals are […] Read more

Winter wheat planting lags in U.S.

The big question is if it’s weather related or a sign of shifting grower intentions

There’s little doubt the planting of the 2018-19 U.S. winter wheat crop is off to what could be the slowest start in history. But the most jarring fact is that the lag appears to be at its worst in the top-producing state, Kansas, which brings the intended acreage — and thus production potential — under […] Read more

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