Category: Opinion

Slow rural internet speed is our competitive disadvantage

Excuse my ranting, but I am so frustrated with slow rural internet. In fact I am getting to the point of pure outrage on most days in trying to function without reasonably fast internet as we try to run a media company from a rural farm office. The scary thing is that I am not… Read more »

Should ‘vertical’ factory farms get a free pass?

In a recent Fast Company magazine article there was a feature on the benefits of using technology to produce food. The article praised the efficiency gains made by implementing the latest in what technology could provide. The farm in the article is located in San Francisco. That’s right, it’s a vertical farm. The company’s name… Read more »

Neither side wins with ‘Pig Trial’ verdict

The recent court case of Anita Krajnc, informally called the “Pig Trial,” has come to a close, and the farming community leaves the courtroom with disappointment. Sort of. Rather than a one-sided legal rout for animal rights activism, the verdict delivered in this criminal mischief case actually supports Ontario farmers in a number of ways. Let’s… Read more »

We can thank technology for 24% of the U.S. corn crop being planted in one week

Have you ever looked across the road at the neighbour and thought, “Man, he has a lot of equipment for the acres he farms!” I think that conversation must be happening more than we think because the USDA has reported that corn planting is 71% complete in the U.S. That’s 1% ahead of the long-term… Read more »

The push to end supply management signals waning public support of farming

Over the last few months, the Conservative leadership contest has thrust a highly emotional issue for rural Canada into the spotlight— is supply management worth keeping or not? If you aren’t aware of the issue, one candidate, Maxime Bernier, is looking to eliminate the system. The rest of the field of candidates have said they… Read more »

Could Investing in Rural Canada Make for Affordable Cities?

We know that housing prices – regardless of whether you buy or rent — are out of sight, especially in Canada’s major cities, and in particular, Toronto, where housing prices have jumped more than 30 per cent in one year. As part of what’s called the Fair Housing Plan, announced Thursday, April 20, Ontario Premier… Read more »

Is Glyphosate the Next Honeybee?

When I’m knee-deep (ankle, for most of you) in discussions about challenges in agriculture, I often ask, “What’s the next bee?” I’m used to the funny looks I get, but what I mean, once I clarify, is what is the next issue in agriculture that will be debated and perhaps regulated not necessarily on the… Read more »

On the Hunt — This Week in the Grain Markets

Grain markets headed into the Easter holiday weekend on a bit more volatility, helping most futures stay in the green. Oats were the big winner, rebounding up 4.15% since last Friday, closely followed by 3.5% and 3.15% by soymeal and corn respectively. The U.S. dollar was the big loser of the week, down 0.6%, which supported… Read more »

Cultivating the Promise of the North

Last week, I woke in the middle of the night to go north. Well, northwest, then north, then more northwest. It took over nine hours to get to Kapuskasing, a mostly mining and lumber town of about 9,500 people. Kap sits in what’s called the Great Clay Belt of Northern Ontario — approximately 16 million… Read more »

Carbon Tax Misses the Mark in Agriculture

This column is long overdue. It should have been written shortly after Trudeau announced plans for a mandatory national price on carbon emissions during harvest in early October. Or even earlier, when some provincial governments started announcing their carbon tax or cap and trade programs. For all the time that’s passed and words that have been said since… Read more »

What’s next for Ontario’s processing-vegetable growers?

What happens when a supplier and a processor can’t agree to a contract? In some cases, the parties walk away from the deal. In others, such as is usually the case between Ontario’s processing-vegetable growers and processors, there’s a set out and agreed upon mediation process. If that doesn’t result in a deal, the parties… Read more »

Trade, Trump, and Protectionism

A guest editorial by Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada There have been a lot of questions about trade since the U.S. election. The new President promised to take the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and he did just that with his first Executive Order. President Trump has also promised to renegotiate NAFTA, causing… Read more »

CFIA’s Mixed Priorities Holding Back Canadian Agriculture

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is one of the cornerstones of food safety in Canada. Federal inspectors monitor meat and food processing plants, feed mills, and even farms. But beyond what we tend to hear in the media about inspections, the CFIA has much larger responsibilities, some of which need to be separated from… Read more »

NCBA Tells Tomi Lahren That Her MCOOL Rants are Fake News

Sometimes when you respond to someone attacking you verbally you need to communicate in a way that will resonate with the people you are trying to influence.  Due to the creation of the term “fake news” by Donald Trump, this term has become mainstream but it resonates with people.  Trump followers have rallied around it…. Read more »

Herbicide Resistance: The Cost of Convenience

“If it doesn’t impact me, I don’t care…” I have attended many conferences across Canada and nothing gets farmers to fall asleep faster than speeches of the threat (actually, it’s reality) of herbicide resistance. For many farmers, it seems, they either don’t see this as something that impacts them or they don’t think it’s as serious an… Read more »