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Editorial: Di ‘verse’ ity 2017

The Co-operator’s in good hands, and I don’t mind crediting
That the staff is still doing a great job of reporting and editing
But while kids these days can tweet fairly tersely
They just don’t have what it takes to match two words versely
So when it came to performing the annual requirement
To review the past year in rhyme, they pulled me out of retirement

The old guys at coffee in this part of the nation

Used to trade “It was sooo… dry” tales about lack of precipitation
But when today’s future old farmers sip lattes from fresh-roasted beans
They’ll talk about how wet it was way back in the teens
Says one, “Remember 2016, and that three-month typhoon
“To combine my flax I needed to install pontoons.”
Says another, “At least you had a crop to give you the troubles
“Why, when I tried my air seeder all it did was blow bubbles.”
A third says, “I was paddling out in my pasture, and what did I sees
“But gophers mating with squirrels, and nesting in trees.”

Most farmers are finally convinced that all of that harpin’
Was right about filling the atmosphere with way too much carbon
Climate change may be fine if longer-season crops you are able
To grow, but the flip side is that things are much too unstable
That extra rain may help grow a bin-buster crop to haul in
But it’s a bust if you can’t harvest the buster to put in the bin

Since farmers have the most to lose from carbon pollution
It’s up to them to be part of the climate-change solution
It’s time to take better care of the topsoil by filling it
With all that carbon it lost by excessively tilling it
Some say that to fight climate change we should be starting
To have fewer bovines with all their burping and farting
On the contrary, I think the best way for more carbon storage
Is to eliminate tillage and grow more grasses and forage
When you harvest with livestock it’s not so bad if it’s wetter
And not only that, grass-fed meat tastes much better

More forage would also help with that problem endemical
Of weeds’ increasing resistance to just about every chemical
Last winter I attended an agronomical convention
On rotating your herbicides for resistance prevention
It made me think fondly of back in the day
When your choice was just between 2,4-D and MCPA
Now you’ve got amides, and chlorsulforons, and metolachlor
Pyrazon, hexazinone, quinclorac, desmedipham and chlopyrachlor

That’s confusing enough, and you want to throw up your hands
When you learn each is sold under about 12 different brands
But if you don’t use them in the right order, first thing you know
You’ll have a wild oat that you can only kill with a hoe

Hoeing, by the way, is about the only way to manage
Weeds in California crops such as broccoli, lettuce and cabbage
But the thing is that most of those who are doing the hoeing
Are illegals to whom Trump says, “Back home you are going”
When he figures that out I’ll watch with some humour
Whether he caves to the complaints of outraged consumers
If the prospect of higher veg prices raises their ire
The wall might turn out just to be a strand of barbed wire
But even if imported veggie prices cause consumers distress
Larry McIntosh will still have a recipe for ’em in every Free Press

That’s just one of my predictions; I know that you’ve waited
For a year to hear more, and with your breath bated
I’ve continued my Internet course studies, and now I can say
That I’ve received my diploma as an ag adviser MBA
Canola prices for instance? Well, I’d say my best call
Is to wait for them to peak, and then sell it all
Wheat prices? You can quote me; I really don’t like them
I think the decent thing would be for the buyers to hike them
As for what you should plant? Well, examine each field
And rotate into something different this year to ensure higher yield
What should Manitoba farmers seed? Well, let me assure ’em

It’s not a good idea to plant either lentils or durum
It’s not quite a wreck, but it’s rather annoying
To see cattle prices lower than we were enjoying
I think the solution is to make marketing much slicker
When selling beef, put a better name on the sticker
The name “chuck” for instance makes buyers turn colder
Let’s change it to “epaulette” (a fancy French word for shoulder)
As for the name “rump” I don’t much like the sound
If you called it “Derriere” you’d get a buck more a pound
I’m sure this idea would work, you’re welcome to use it
But will retailers share the beef profits with those who produce it?
I’ve many more profitable ideas, but once again I fear
That I’ve run out of space; you’ll have to wait till next year
Until then, on behalf of everyone here
I send you best wishes for a great farming year
May your calves all pop out without any assistance
May your weeds all die quickly without any resistance
May you have just the right balance of rain and of sun
And whatever you grow, may it grade number one!

John Morriss, Co-operator editor emeritus

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