Left on the desk, Aug 10: Disappearing prime ministers, Saudi relations, and hot swaths


We are back for week two of Left on the Desk, my weekly attempt to clear my desk of all paper, data points, and extraneous information so I can start next week fresh.

I got some great feedback on the new column last week so I thought it was enough encouragement to give week two a go. By the way, if there is something that you saw this week you want to bring to my attention, do not hesitate to send me an email at [email protected]

      • Canadians are struggling with their past as former sins are being judged through a current lens which in my opinion is terribly unfair, even the first Prime Minister of Canada is not immune from the memory cleansing. Is anyone safe?
      • It was a tough week for the Saudi Arabia/Canada relationship. This has been a great example of money talks, even in diplomacy. The Canadian government has yet to back down from its original tweets but is also looking for some vocal friends.  The United States, European and British allies have all been quiet.  Although Canada and the Saudi’s have a limited trade relationship where annual trade is equal to two days of U.S./Canadian bilateral trade the soured relationship could set some precedents Canada looks to avoid.  As I mentioned the US has been quiet on the issue in the same week that a Saudi Prince invested $500 million in U.S. tech companies.
      • Meanwhile in Canada, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh supports cutting off the purchase of Saudi oil and says that Canada could purchase from countries that support human rights.

I would suggest that Mr. Singh not look to far to replace the Saudi oil imports as Alberta has ample supply to provide Eastern Canada.  If only the Energy East pipeline had not been abandoned and lobbied against by Quebec.

  • India is a dairy cow superpower.  With 300 million cows, lower productivity, many consumers, and low quality standards, the country has untapped dairy potential. There is a new startup attempting to bring modern quality standards to India to prevent the need for customers to boil their milk.  Even with low productivity, India produces the most milk in the world, as a country. Just imagine if India decided to improve productivity and enter the export market? Just what the world needs, more milk.
  • This week in Nebraska there was a record breaking ICE raid that impacted several farms in the region that were employing illegal immigrants. We all know that agriculture in the U.S. has a dependency on immigrant labor and it’s not all above the table in terms of how they got on the farm. Meanwhile the crackdown on Visa’s in the U.S. is creating opportunities for countries like Canada to attract top flight talent in industries like technology.  We always talk about the brain drain south to the US but could the trend be reversing to the benefit of the Canadian economy?
  • Farm accidents continue to plague the agriculture industry. Another tragic accident in Alberta this week on top of of others this year. No matter the reasons, excuses or explanations for these accidents, we have to be better at farm safety.

  • The grocery market is very competitive where margins are thin, online shopping is becoming more prevalent and there is plenty of disruption.  This week Whole Foods announced that it is allowing online orders to be picked up at a physical location, About 15% of digital food and beverage sales go to online grocery pickup, according to ratings firm Nielsen.
  • The heat in parts of the Prairies has some canola growers not only abandoning their swathers but also the desiccant as well.  The challenges of swathing in the heat in 40 degrees force night time operation to prevent blasting which is not ideal for many growers.  At the same time the dry down in happening due to hot and dry weather that growers are wondering if the desiccant is even required.

Have a great weekend everyone, and please enjoy the all of the great content on RealAgriculture.com!

Categories: Features / Left on the desk

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