Category: Opinion

Trump revives U.S. agriculture’s CPTPP hopes, at no cost

President Donald Trump revived the U.S. agriculture industry’s hopes of participating in the trade deal now known as CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) on Thursday, but until there’s concrete action showing he’s serious, U.S. farmers and CPTPP member countries, including Canada, should not get too excited. The president is well aware that… Read more »

Sitting on the right side of the fence on a trade war with China

This week has been laced with trade threats, drama, and fear for agricultural commodity markets, all based on the possibility of a trade war between the U.S. and China. Most economists agree that though a trade war has yet to start, there is a serious flirtation with one. And no matter what President Trump tells… Read more »

CFIA now says Non-GMO Project Verified doesn’t mean non-GMO

After forcing some companies to change their labels over complaints of the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) now says the “butterfly” label does not imply a non-GMO claim. The regulatory enforcement change came last year, after complaints poured in from across the country regarding products that featured the Non-GMO Project… Read more »

Agriculture commodities caught in China-U.S. tit-for-tat tariff threats

When you feel that you have nothing to lose, you are at your most dangerous. With China proposing steep tariffs on U.S. pork, soybeans, cotton, tobacco, frozen orange juice, and corn, the market is trying to determine the probability this all comes to fruition as the bluster heats up. When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN,… Read more »

Staking a claim for ag in the social media jungle

Marketing and farming go hand in hand, says UK communications specialist Simon Haley. In a swing through Ontario that starts later this week, he’ll be urging farmers to use their intrinsic marketing skills to get back in touch with consumers. “Farming is where marketing started,” says Haley. But over the years – as nations became… Read more »

The unintended benefit of signing up to raise ag awareness

Over a hundred thousand people, including our family, visited the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon, Manitoba, last week. The list of things the kids wanted to see had three things on it: horses, the SuperDogs, and all the farm animals. Given the size of the crowd in the ‘Thru the Farmgate’ area, there’s no… Read more »

Pop the bubble: Why farm groups need to spend more on lobbying

Whether the government brings forward small business tax change legislation, the U.S. closes the border to Canadian cattle, or a bill (i.e. C-49) ends up locked in the Senate and going nowhere fast, our industry associations and member-based organizations lobby for change on behalf of farmers. According to Wikipedia, lobbying is defined as: the act of attempting… Read more »

Farmers want a long-term solution for grain transport crunch

This has been a very challenging winter for grain shipments, to say the least. Much of the finger pointing has been directed at the railways but should more of the blame fall to more than CN and CP? It’s clear operational performance must improve, but the railways have been operating in the environment that they… Read more »

What farming and rural Ontario needs, Mr. Ford

This is an open letter to Doug Ford, newly elected leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, with the assumption that he becomes the next premier of Ontario. It actually doesn’t matter if he wins or not, of course. The wants and needs of rural Ontario remain the same, and must be addressed by the next… Read more »

Trump takes NAFTA hostage with threat of steel tariffs

We were warned early on by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland that the NAFTA talks would be rocky. She was right. We are through seven rounds and more clouds hang over the talks than ever. With a Mexican election on July 1, and the fall U.S. midterms surely pushing talks into 2019, the U.S. President… Read more »

The business of peddling fear and fake hope

The first time I read it, it seemed like some kind of sick joke. A man, convicted in the death of his son, was recently slated to speak about healthy living at a “wellness expo.” Some backstory: David Stephan and his wife believed herbal treatments would cure their son’s meningitis. When they finally called 911,… Read more »

The farming problems the shared economy can solve

We live in an age of disruption. Middle man getting in the way? Just work around them. Whether it’s ride-sharing such as Uber, house rentals via Air BnB, or crowdfunding to make something happen, several established industries are in the midst of a I-can-do-it-myself revolution. For highly competitive, highly regulated industries, such as taxis and… Read more »

SpaceX launch could be a step toward solving the rural internet problem

Slow internet speeds and poor coverage are a major problem in many rural areas. It’s a competitive disadvantage for farmers, ranchers and businesses who generally have no choice but to settle for slower, more expensive internet than people living in urban areas. Traditional internet service providers, unless they’re regulated or funded by government, see little… Read more »

The crux of populist politics for agriculture

Farmers and ranchers across Canada and the United States identify with a hard day’s work, family, and a life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You would have to drive many dirt roads before you found a farmer in either country identifying with “the elites.” In the Right Honourable Stephen Harper’s recent… Read more »

The incredible foolishness of boycotting Alberta Beef

Despite British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s assurance that getting involved in a trade war is not his intent, rumours of a looming Alberta Beef ban in the province continue to circulate. And where the rumours aren’t, the sudden, ill-advised political activists are — threatening boycotts of their own. It all stems from an ongoing dispute… Read more »