Latest articles

Wheat seeds spilling from hand, close-up

National Farmers Union fights for farm-saved seed

Farmers will invest more in variety development but won’t guarantee companies a profit

Farmers are willing to invest more into publicly funded plant variety development so long as they can see where their money is going and track the results, says Stewart Wells, 2nd vice-president of the National Farmers Union (NFU). “Our position is farmers aren’t remotely interested in end point royalties or trailing royalty contracts wherein the […] Read more

What will become of Cigi?

Merger talks between Cigi, created 45 years ago to promote Canadian grain exports, and Cereals Canada could come to a head this month

Cigi’s future could soon be clearer. For more than a year, the Canadian International Grains Institute, created in 1972 to provide market development and technical support for Canadian wheat and other field crops, and Cereals Canada, which represents the country’s cereals sector, have been considering merging. Cigi could decide on that during its annual meeting […] Read more

Proposed CWB class-action lawsuit takes another turn

Farmers were in court last week fighting Ottawa’s attempts to kill the legal action

A proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government and G3 alleging farmers’ money helped privatize the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) continues to slowly make its way through the courts. A year ago the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, which supports the proposed lawsuit, was jubilant. On May 28, 2018 Master Shayne Berthaudin of the […] Read more

Grain industry abuzz over ‘conflict of interest’ ruling of former CGC chief

Jim Smolik’s lawyer unsuccessfully argued there was no breach because there was no evidence he improperly took advantage of his former CGC office

Many people in Western Canada’s relatively small and collegial grain industry are puzzled how Jim Smolik ended up contravening Sections, 33 and 32(5), of the Conflict of Interest Act. A report prepared by the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner lays it all out. But according to several industry sources Smolik, a […] Read more

Flat revenue, higher expenses squeeze Canadian farmers

KAP president Bill Campbell says the trend to higher operating expenses adds to farmers’ risk when revenues stagnant

No matter how you measure it, Canadian and Manitoban 2018 farm income took a big, double-digit, hit in 2018. The two biggest culprits were flat revenues, in part because of trade restrictions, and higher expenses, including for commercial feed, interest and machinery fuel. Minto farmer Bill Campbell, having felt the “squeeze” in his own operation, […] Read more

Canola dispute a signal of new trade era

Times have turned more protectionist and Canadian canola is a casualty

Canadian canola has had problems in China before, but this time is different, says Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada. In 2009 China threatened to block imports over fears Canadian canola could infect Chinese rapeseed with Canada’s more virulent strain of blackleg, a fungal disease. In 2016 China wanted Canada to reduce […] Read more

KAP has a new communications co-ordinator

Val Ominski is retiring from KAP and Joey Dearborn has been hired to fill her position

Keystone Agricultural Producers’ (KAP) communications co-ordinator Val Ominski is retiring at the end of June. Joey Dearborn has been hired to fill the position. For the last seven years, Dearborn, who grew up in Emerson, Man., has been employed with the Manitoba government, most recently as a press secretary for Agri­culture, Crown Services, and Infrastructure, […] Read more

Blooming rapeseed field at sunset

Canadian canola hits great wall of China

China won’t discuss the situation with Canadian officials

Despite the ongoing efforts of Canada’s canola industry and the federal and provincial governments, China still is not importing Canadian canola seed, or even willing to discuss its de facto boycott that began in March. “It appears there is no immediate solution to this issue,” Canola Council of Canada president Jim Everson told a webinar […] Read more

Quick fix to China canola ban ‘unlikely’

There’s more to it than Huawei, according to a MarketsFarm’s report

China’s de facto ban on Canadian canola imports has depressed canola prices, which will remain under pressure until the ban is lifted, concludes a report prepared by MarketsFarm, a division of Glacier FarmMedia. “A quick resolution to the Chinese canola import situation is highly unlikely,” the report says. The same holds for Canadian and American […] Read more

Rain ok, frost less welcome on fields

Rainfall has topped up soil moisture, but it's too early to say if there was much frost damage

Farmers and crop insurance appreciated the rain late last week but not the frost. As of press time Monday farmers and agronomists across much of agro-Manitoba were assessing what, if any damage, below-freezing temperature had on crops early May 27. Manitoba Agriculture weather stations recorded below-freezing temperatures in most regions, with the central region seeing […] Read more