The just-completed merger of Manitoba and Alberta Pools into Agricore took up much of our Dec. 3, 1998 issue. That included what became a somewhat controversial “Farming is everything” advertising campaign, that included the new grain company’s double-page spread of a farmer hugging a dairy calf.
The issue had an interview with Agricore CEO Gordon Cummings, who had been CEO of Alberta Pool. He reflected on failed merger attempts with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and said different times and different personalities might have led to a different outcome. “I think that if there really was a will, we’d find a way. I’m not sure we ever got to the will.”
Agricore had a short life, merging with United Grain Growers in 2001 to become Agricore United, which was in turn absorbed by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool to become Viterra in 2007.
A hog industry crisis was also prominent in the news, with Manitoba Pork asking the province to match an Alberta emergency loan program. Hog prices were about $70 per hundredweight compared to the previous five-year average of about $135. Many farmers who had invested in hog barns when the industry was heavily promoted in the early ’90s were learning a new term — “cash call.” They had not realized that they were required to make up operating losses.
Another story reported on the change of CBC’s “Radio Noon” program, which was losing its full-time farm broadcaster and moving to a “resource-based” rather than an “agricultural-based” format.