Conference Board Food Strategy Consultation a Smokescreen
For those of us who care deeply about locally based food systems and who recognize the role food can play in strengthening our communities, ecosystems and economies, it can be tempting to jump at each and every opportunity to get a piece of our vision mentioned in larger discussions about food and agriculture. As part of its Canadian Food Strategy project, the Conference Board of Canada is inviting organizations and individuals to public consultations across Canada this winter. The National Farmers Union received such an invitation.
Are Our Pensions Retiring the Family Farm? Op Ed by Matt Gehl
In recent years, pension funds have started buying up farmland around the world, seeing it as a safe, long-term investment. Farmland investment companies like AgCapita, Assiniboia Capital, Bonnefield Financial and Prairie Merchants are sowing the seeds of speculation across the prairies. Saskatchewan, with our low land prices and a farming population averaging 58 years old, is shaping up to be very fertile ground for them.
Proudly Canadian: Viable, Modern Dairy Sector
by Randall Affleck, NFU Board MemberI am proud of Canada’s national agriculture policy for dairy; supply management. Like many rural initiatives of the past, it has deep cooperative roots that have nurtured the development of a viable, modern dairy sector in every region of Canada.
Final words: ag and world hunger
The World Food Program, an agency of the United Nations, announced two weeks ago that the number of hungry people in the world rose this year to more than one billion. It is a startling number. It says that, though the world continues to grow richer in many senses and for many people, it is growing poorer at supplying more of its citizens with food.
Romance of small farms is fine
The Jan. 15 Western Producer editorial entitled “Banish romantic notion of small farm” left me a trifle uneasy. While it seems to be a critique of very small farms in poor countries, it implies that North American romantic notions about small farms constitute some kind of danger.
Livestock support sorely needed
God help the beleaguered cattle producers of Canada. As prices plummeted like the proverbial stone in 2007, we were told it was because of the high cost of feed grains and the soaring Canadian dollar that briefly took on the American greenback and pummeled it.
Government Rewards Railways
In the last few weeks of his government’s 10-year reign, before the Liberals under Jean Chrétien officially took power, Mulroney signed an agreement with the railways that gave them renewed control over the hopper cars the federal government had purchased for the movement of prairie grain.
Rising Dollar, Rising Interest Rates, Falling Farmers
Two pieces of economic news this past week bode poorly for farmers, and both of them relate to factors far beyond their control. One is the continuing rise of the Canadian dollar against its American counterpart. The dollar neared 92 cents American, a level not seen since 1977.
Low Reform Expectations Realized
I have written frequently about problems farmers have experienced with rail service. Though my friends who work for the railways are quick to tell me I’m unfair to them (what else would they say?) I have always maintained the problem is not the railways.
Cheap food not good answer
I recently saw a story about farmers reducing fertilizer use in response to high prices. The story warned that this was dangerous, as farmers should not be reducing inputs in an age of food shortages. It went on to argue that farmers will benefit from maximizing production. Another news report the same day pointed out
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