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More New Year ad-verse-ity

Yes, that time again, it’s become a tradition

To editorialize in verse in the year’s first edition

We review the year past, then with great perspicacity

Predict the next year’s events with remarkable accuracy

Well, most of the time, because I have to confess

That the advice I gave last year was not quite the best

So far I’ve always been right when I’ve said you could do worse

Than when a politician gives you advice, to do the reverse

Last year around now, as I’m sure you’ll recall

Ritz said, “No more CWB monopoly; seed wheat wall to wall”

So based on past experiences, and you’ll agree there’ve been many

I said the best advice for wheat acres was not to plant any

The minister was right, though maybe not for the right reason

Wheat was a pretty good choice as it turned out last season

Because when things get a bit dry, as they do often enough

Wheat shows what it can do when times are a bit tough

While canola, without cool weather and regular showers

Lives up to its image of being a delicate flower

If you don’t baby it along with costly sprays what you sees is

That canola is like candy for various pests and diseases

Lygus, sclerotinia, diamondback and bertha can all cause a disaster

Then last year there were some kind of yellows named aster

Aphids, moths, aphids, flea beetles and weevils

Clubroot, maggots, cutworms, plus various more evils

To me the Guide to Canola Production reads like the plot

Of a Shakespearean play with some witches stirring a pot

If you don’t get your rotations in shape there’s more trouble in store

Maybe you should listen to the experts, who say one year in four

That’s easier now; once when you took an August drive out of town

The crops in Manitoba had pretty much all turned yellow or brown

But last year it seemed that every second field you were seein’

Had remained nice and lush, a brilliant colour of green

Who’d have thunk we’d have soybeans to add to our rotation

And it would become the third-largest crop in this part of the nation?

I seem to recall, and not back so many years

When we had a grain surplus; corn coming out of our ears

The way to keep prices out of the tank and farmers out of the red?

Just that — put the grain in the tank, and make alcohol instead

So they did; I’m not saying whether it’s for good or for harm

But whatever; the point is the idea worked like a charm

Now that it has and prices are back in the black

There’s much wringing of hands that things are off track

That depends; if you grow grain things are tracking quite nicely

But if you have to feed livestock then things are more dicey

Back when grain farmer and feeder were one and the same

These things came out in the wash without so much pain

Now that the two sectors have become quite distinct

One can only make money when the other drowns in red ink

This trickle of a dilemma has so far not become a Niagara

Because of government programs that all start with Agri-

No longer I fear; the provinces and feds with a certain agility

Have pretty much pulled out the plug on AgriStability

The message is clear, I think the governments are showin’

That from now on farmers will be pretty much on their own

So keep that in mind for your future protection

If you’re tempted to pay too much for that next quarter section

Though maybe this time it’s different, no end to high prices in store

Just like it was different this time five or six times before

If you’re one of those farmers who are runnin’ some dogies

You could celebrate last year, and light up a few stogies

After a long stretch starting with BSE there’s been so much grief

But the past couple of years have brought some relief

Except for a hiccup or two such as the one this past fall

Like the fiasco with the Brooks XL beef E. coli recall

To say who’s at fault I don’t have the abilities

But should almost all of our beef come through just two facilities?

Call me a dreamer, or maybe in the past I’m just stuck

Wanting to buy Manitoba beef that isn’t back from Alberta by truck

Enough of being stuck in the past, I’m sure the main reason

You’re still reading is to know what’s best to plant for next season

Should cereals, oilseeds or pulses be part of this year’s crop picture?

Definitely — just be sure that you choose the right mixture

When to sell? My advice is, and you can be sure it’s unbiased

Is that the best time to sell is when the prices are highest

For similar advice market analysts always charge a big fee

But if you read the first Co-operator of the year we give it for free

That’s it for now, for better or worse

We’ve run out of space to squeeze in bad verse

So please accept our best wishes from all of us here

For good crops and good prices, and a Happy New Year!

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