Latest articles


NAFTA-USMCA

The USMCA is stupid

Only four words on this trade deal: bad, bad, bad and very bad

I hate to say that anything that comes out of Donald Trump’s U.S. government is a good thing, so I will wait for more feedback before I decide if the new NAFTA agreement — now known as the new USMCA (U.S., Mexico, Canada-Agreement) is a really good thing or not. Maybe since my facts are […] Read more


Well here is a game changing concept

Profitable crop production with little or no added inputs. Is someone talking nonsense?

Talk about an interesting contrast in messages! In one week during my summer travels I attended a first-in-Canada Soil Health School in Manning (Alberta Peace River region) and a few days later I was eating dust at a tillage demonstration at the Ag In Motion farm show at Langham, Sask. My old brain had to […] Read more



You never know who’s out there

From a small town in the Basque country to the passenger seat of Lee Hart’s car

I don’t usually pick up hitchhikers. Partly because I really don’t see that many on the roads I travel, and largely because I usually have so much stuff — snacks, drinks, assorted wrappers, garbage, camera bag, briefcase — piled on my passenger seat that it becomes a major project to make room for someone. But I recently made an […] Read more


From barley seeding to beer sipping

Long-time Alberta farmers tap into vertical integration with malt barley

The photo above may look like some Alberta grain farmers taking a break in a barley field, but they are really brewery executives collecting inventory for an inter-national microbrewing industry. These are members of the Hilton family (Hilton Ventures) a fifth-generation farm near Strathmore, Alta., (just east of Calgary) and they are farmers having a […] Read more



Landscape featuring a harvested grain field.

Interesting twist on high cost of farmland

These high prices are great news for sellers, but they leave buyers out of the game

Just about every farmer I talk to in all parts of the country has a common buyer’s complaint — they want to expand their farming operation but land prices are high. It is difficult for established family farms to grow and new farmers are finding it almost impossible to get into the business on land […] Read more


Tragedy helps us find sense of community

Tragic accident brings back memories of communities, and a new search for them

With the nation and a good part of the world riveted for a couple of weeks on the tragedy of the bus crash north of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, in early April that resulted in the death of 16 members of Humboldt Broncos hockey club, there was one uplifting message: Canadian and, perhaps more broadly, human compassion […] Read more



We’re going somewhere in a handbasket

We could take the train to get there, but unfortunately there are no rail cars

The movement and marketing of natural resources vital to western Canadians isn’t that important — oil and grain can wait. Let’s focus on the real priority — getting cannabis into the hands of consumers. And maybe that’s the strategy. Get people high on marijuana and then they won’t really notice that governments aren’t doing anything. […] Read more


Humble egg raised to new level

Next time you’re in Calgary track down the Crack’d YYC food truck

Many years ago at a folk festival I was inspired by the message on a T-shirt worn by an old hippie that read — “Beer — so much more than just a breakfast drink.” Some variation of that might be adapted by Canadian egg producers… maybe “Eggs — so much more than just a sandwich […] Read more



Nufarm working its way up the middle

Don’t be too hard on the Aussies — they have to deal with Canadian winter

Be ready for the Aussie invasion. Some of them are here now, and more are likely to follow. It is probably a slight exaggeration to say having lunch with the fairly new-to-Canada country manager of Nufarm is really an Aussie invasion, but Lachie McKinnon is the second Australian I have met in the past 20 […] Read more


Cutaway of Plant and Roots in Dirt

Don’t trust your oats with any secrets

Hart Attacks: You don’t want to know what plants are saying about you behind your sprayer

Today’s take home message: watch what you say or do out in the buckwheat patch. Plants aren’t exactly seeing, but they could be listening and they are definitely communicating. That’s what Jack Schutlz, a biologist and zoologist at the University of Missouri, whose business card describes him as a chemical ecologist, tells me anyway. Schultz […] Read more