Farmers’ returns were a theme running through our issues in October 1958. In the main front-page story in the Oct. 9 issue, we reported that the three Prairie pools had raised concerns with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker about the prospect of tolls on grain going through the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway. Their brief said that costs of farm inputs had risen 50 per cent over the previous 10 years, but wheat prices had declined 21 per cent.
An analysis by University of Manitoba agricultural economist A.W. Wood said that in 1951, a Winnipeg housewife paid an average of 70 cents per pound for beef (carcass basis) of which the producer received 47 cents, or two-thirds. In 1957, she paid an average of 48 cents, of which the farmer only received 25 cents, or about one-half.
At a meeting of the National Dairy Council in Montreal, Dairy Farmers of Canada president W.B. Reddie raised similar concerns. “To ask agriculture to supply Canadians with their daily fare at world prices and buy their supplies under the protected conditions under which the other branches of the economy operate is rank discrimination,” he said.
In a speech in Brandon, Manitoba Premier Duff Roblin said his government planned increased financial aid to young farmers, additional aid for those wishing to study agriculture and expansion of the farm economics division of the Department of Agriculture. “A lot can be done to increase farmers’ take-home pay,” in this field, Roblin said.