Farmer Focus: Richard Crewe

Mother”s Day in Canada is not until May 8, which gives an indication of when the spring flowers emerge.

Here, we are still in winter sports mode. That is apart from NHL ice hockey, whose season was cancelled after team owners could not agree on salaries with players.

One famous hockey dad stated he has “no sympathy for big shots in suits or in skates”. I agree, but which is worse England losing at rugby or no hockey?

Curling, the other winter obsession, has been wonderful to watch, with the world championships due soon in Paisley, Scotland. Watch out for the Canadian teams.

Another Canadian icon, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, is in turmoil. A farmer-controlled co-op, which had 70% of the province”s farmers as members in its hey day, is now a shadow of its former self, because of crippling debt and bad diversification decisions.

 Delegates last week voted away its farmer control, so becoming a publicly traded shareholder company. That will inevitably make the pool ripe for a take-over and give the big shots large pay-offs.

 The US border should have re-opened to live cattle exports on Mar 7 after being closed for 22 months because of one case of BSE. But it remains closed after a court injunction was granted in Montana to a group called R-CALF USA opposed to the reopening.

 I recently heard the US Agricultural Secretary Mike Johanns expressing concern that increasing Canadian slaughter capacity would cost jobs in the USA.

We are not in cattle, but it has to be better to keep the border closed, given the newly-built slaughter and packing plants due to open soon in the Western Provinces, boosting the Canadian economy by adding value and jobs.

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