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Reporter’s Notebook: Times are changing everywhere

Corn, soybeans and a changing society on the other side of the border

In late July, I flew to Nebraska to get an idea of what the ag industry looks like in that state. Before I even left my hotel in Omaha, I had my first clue. The Omaha World-Herald ran a front-page story on the $12 billion ag aid package with a rhyming headline. “Farmers: Thanks for […] Read more


Reporter’s Notebook: Keeping community volunteers engaged

Many rural activities facilities and activities are run by volunteers. Keep yours happy

Volunteers power many facilities and services in our communities. What motivates people to volunteer and how can non-profit boards engage their volunteer corps? I spoke to two women, from different rural communities in different provinces. Both have experience as board members and in the volunteer corps. Because I wanted them to speak openly without creating […] Read more



Reporter’s Notebook: How will we be farming in 20 years?

Lisa Guenther points to two agronomic problems shaping our future cropping plans

Agriculture has undergone big changes in the last century. Yesterday’s farmers would be amazed by the technology contained in a tractor and seeder these days, or by the vaccines that protect livestock from disease. Or even by the phones we tuck into our back pockets, and occasionally drop in the muck. It’s an interesting exercise […] Read more


Reporter’s Notebook: A Grainews reporter’s spring travels

From Griffin to Gimli, Lisa Guenther hit the highway to gather new information

In mid-April, I packed my car and headed south. At home, there was still enough snow to Ski-doo. For several hours I drove through intermittent garbage weather (snow in the north and sleet or rain in the south). For two days, I stayed with Leeann Minogue’s family near Griffin, Sask. While there I visited the […] Read more



Reporter’s Notebook: Idealizing a particular view of a culture

When you romanticize what you don’t understand, disappointment is inevitable

I learned a new word this week. “Indianthusiasm,” a term coined by author and professor Hartmut Lutz, describes people (often German) who have an exaggerated, ahistorical, romantic infatuation with North America’s First Nations people. This was just one gem among many in Canadian author Drew Hayden Taylor’s short documentary, Searching for Winnetou. Winnetou is a […] Read more


Reporter’s Notebook: Where’s our federal ag minister?

From taxation to transportation, there’s a lack of understanding of agriculture showing

Some days, you really have to wonder where our federal ag minister is at. Last year, the federal Liberals attempted to roll out tax reforms that raised the hackles of many in the ag sector. The proposed changes to capital gains exemptions seemed likely to threaten many producers’ abilities to pass the operation to their […] Read more



Reporter’s Notebook: Working with other boards

Making one non-profit board effective can be hard. Now, try bringing 2 together

A basic principle of horsemanship is that you should make the right thing easy for the horse to do, and the wrong thing hard. For example, if your horse doesn’t want to stand still, don’t try to force him to stand still. Instead, make him work — sidepass, turn on the foreleg, etc. The idea is that the […] Read more


Reporter’s Notebook: From combine to customer

A trip to the Cigi course on export grains is teaching Lisa Guenther the fine details

I’m writing this column after my second day at the Combine to Customer tour, the crash course in the wheat supply chain organized by the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) in Winnipeg. It’s one of those info-rich events where I have more material than I know what I can do with so watch for more […] Read more



Reporter’s Notebook: Four questions to ask yourself

Before you get involved in an ugly social media argument, take time to think it through

When I look at the state of public discourse these days, the phrase that comes to mind is “dumpster fire.” My theory is that our society hasn’t had time to adapt to rapidly changing technology (i.e. social media). These days, anyone can tweet or post anything. Some of those opinions are insightful and worth exploring. […] Read more


Reporter’s Notebook: The other side of ranching

A new book focuses on the role of women in Alberta’s ranching history

In a recent column on clubroot, I suggested that Sask Crop Insurance look at a carrot-and-stick policy to crop rotations in the province. Later, I was a little worried some might interpret that part of the column as me shaking my finger at farmers with tight rotations. That wasn’t my intention. There are plenty of […] Read more