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Editorial: Hope springs eternal

What would possess someone of the pioneer era to try to farm here? This thought was much on my mind the past Easter weekend as I drove to the family farm in Saskatchewan for a holiday gathering. In mid-April, when the winter wheat is already well on its way in Kansas and Nebraska, here the […] Read more


There goes the neighbourhood

Farmers and ranchers pride themselves on neighbourliness, and rightly so. Rare is the season, after all, when the local newspaper or radio station doesn’t carry a lump-in-the-throat story explaining how neighbours of an ill or injured member of a farm or ranch family gathered for a day or two to do a month or two’s […] Read more



Editorial: Too small to bother?

There’s been lots of talk in the news lately about financially troubled corporations and how their plights are handled by governments. For example, the Quebec-based aerospace and mass-transit company Bombardier has been the subject of controversy after it proceeded to give 50 per cent pay increases to senior executives shortly after receiving yet another taxpayer-funded […] Read more


The auctioneer’s song

For someone who rarely attended auctions, my father somehow managed to host or co-host four different auctions in the last 20 or so years of his long life. The first, held in the mid-1990s, was a dispersal sale for the 100 or so Holstein cows, heifers, and calves that had remained on the dairy farm […] Read more



Editorial: By the numbers

Statistics Canada says there were just over 13.3 million households in Canada at the time of the 2011 census, a number that has surely grown since then. The numbers crunchers at the agency rather dryly define the term as “… a person or group of persons who occupy the same dwelling and do not have […] Read more


Accessing agriculture’s big data

For several years, farmers have been using technology that is accumulating massive amounts of data on production practices – also referred to as “big data.” But how might big data be managed? What information will be available to whom? Technology, for example, frequently fits the category of “private but available for a price.” The general […] Read more



Editorial: Market realities

Over the years people have done some pretty goofy things to make money. Probably the best example is Gary Dahl, the inventor of the hare-brained scheme that was the pet rock. The story goes he was sitting in a bar in Los Angeles with friends in the early 1970s, listening to them complain about their […] Read more


Food prices are… falling?

I stopped in my tracks recently when I heard food prices actually dropped last year. It was nonsensical… how could an essential such as food be going down in price, with the cost of living marching forward? “It’s true,” says Mike Von Massow, a University of Guelph agriculture and food economics researcher. “The price of […] Read more



Editorial: Family feud

Everyone has that cousin, uncle or sibling. You love them, they’re family after all, but sometimes you just don’t like them much. Maybe it’s their insistence on talking about their controversial politics over Christmas dinner. Perhaps it’s the way they can’t just talk about how much they like their new tractor without running down yours. […] Read more


Editorial: The missing link

Canada’s sheep and goat producers had better not be counting on me to earn a living. Don’t get me wrong, they produce excellent products, but neither of these protein sources has ever been a big part of my diet. I can’t remember the last time I had a lamb chop. A few years ago now, for […] Read more




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