Sometimes, as a writer, when you get weary of coming up with new ideas, you simply take an older, successful idea and recycle it. Two examples of this: tabloids running a “Celebrity Pregnancy Shocker” piece and W5 running a “factory farming animal abuse” story filmed entirely by undercover animal activists. And so this last week, when the CTV-produced program ran an “investigative journalism” bit on the egg production chain in Canada, I couldn’t help but let out a sigh and prepare for myself for the ensuing onslaught of “Farming is murder!” and “Buy (insert marketing buzzword here) and none of this would ever happen!” This time around, however, the fallout brought about a shining light in the form of veterinarian Mike Petrik, a poultry vet who wrote this post about the realities of Canadian egg production, the hard truth of so-called alternative production and the failings of journalistic pieces supported only by “under cover” footage. Agriculture needs more experts like Dr. Petrik willing to speak up. Seriously.
To switch gears let’s, for just a moment, talk about basic budgeting. Whether it’s your home, a business or a government, this is how things go: pay for needs first, then, you pay for wants with whatever is left over. This basic principle has apparently been lost on Manitoba’s government, as the incredibly indebted province chose, of all things, to re-name a slew of ministries instead of, oh, I don’t know, encouraging economic growth or slaying debt. What’s in a name change? For starters, costs. While the provincial NDP may claim that the move is a re-focusing and a set up for the next two years of campaigning, it’s nothing more, really, than a giant administrative cost and burden. Here’s an idea: perhaps prioritize stick-handling crumbling services, popping bloated bureaucracy and cutting economy-suffocating taxes before you spend a whack of cash (you don’t have) on new business cards, signage and letterhead.
The highlight of my week was spending yesterday six-feet-under, though thankfully just in an open soil pit, discovering the wonders of what lies beneath Manitoba’s clay-rich, sometimes very clumpy but always very productive top soil. The difference in pits only 70 yards from each other was staggering, and “reading” the soil profile was nothing short of amazing — from observation, we picked out an old plow layer, measured rooting depth (seriously deep!), determined natural draining capabilities and more. Watch for more on the site on this topic soon (I’d have written something already but there was so much to learn I have to sort it all out first.) In the meantime, click here to see some of the images I captured.
Some very productive things happened This Week on RealAg, too. My favourite production post of the week goes once again to Debra, who has somehow found herself knee-deep in machinery-type stories. Her tips for winterizing the seeder (Now with controversial kitty litter action!) lost out to the very Saskatchewan video on tips for growing corn in non-traditional areas of the Prairies. This video spawned a wonderful discussion of bunnyhug vs. hoodie on Twitter, which basically means we won the Internet this week, and that’s a win in my books. (For the very curious, a bunnyhug, we discovered, has NO zipper or is any sweater with a front pocket and hood in Saskatchewan. Write this down; there will be a test.)
Yours in farm-loving,