The right to repair your own farm machinery

(March 28, 2017) Most of us have purchased a DVD movie and watched the threats of jail and fines for copying the content on the opening screen.  Any farmer who has purchased private sector based canola seed (and paid seven times the cost of publically created Certified Seed) knows about these types of draconian copyright notices and contracts as well. What many farmers may not know is the same...

Read More

International Women’s Day 2017

(March 8, 2017) In several previous posts about international women’s day the important role played by prairie grain farmers and their organizations in advancing the equality of women in Canada has been highlighted.  From the 1890s the Territorial Grain Growers Association adopted a policy that women would be full and equal voting members and the web of support developed from there. How wide...

Read More

Are farmers dealing with 117 year old problem?

(February 28, 2017) One of the most well founded complaints from prairie grain farmers is about not getting fair weighing and grading of their grain by elevator companies.  In fact 117 years ago this March the Senkler Royal Commission tabled its report documenting how prairie grain handling companies were exploiting farmers through price fixing, dishonest weights, and even more dishonest...

Read More

CETA enables giants in agriculture

(February 16, 2017)  The approval by the European Union of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) makes the world safer for the global agricultural cartels and much less pleasant for Canadian farmers and the consumers in both jurisdictions. Industry friendly farm groups, like the Alberta Wheat Commission, are accentuating the positive while closing their eyes...

Read More

Looming problems in antibiotics a warning for plant breeding

(January 19, 2017) I had an aunt who only lived for nine days in 1919.  Like so many children and young women in the age before antibiotics she was killed by a simple bacterium that can now be cured with a short round of antibiotics. From the 1930s onward those antibiotics were developed by dozens of private companies driven by a profit motive usually provided by government procurements to...

Read More

The year farms got smaller

(January 4, 2017) Like an old Queen once said of another year, 2016 was an Annus horribilis for most prairie farmers.  Bumper crops ended up snowed under or degraded by excessive rainfall.  The pull-type combine made a comeback with many farmers adding a four wheel drive tractor on standby to rescue combines stuck in the mud.  But hey, when not stuck in the mud or buried in snow, the yields...

Read More