For more than 100 years agriculture has been the major
economic force in the area of Canada’s central plains now known as Saskatchewan.
The farmers, their families, the scientists and the public servants
who built this industry in this region of harsh climatic extremes inspire
admiration and awe. Here we have a listing of some of the landmark developments
in that period.
| Vegetables and some cereals grown around fur-trading
posts to supplement meat diet.
||Chevalier de la Corne experimented with wheat growing
in the Carrot River Valley.
||Wheat, barley, oats and potatoes grown at Carlton
||Captain John Palliser assessed farming potential
of the Prairies. He saw good prospects for the parkland but warned
against sending settlers into a triangle roughly from Estevan to
Lloydminster and taking in Southeastern Alberta.
||The Province of Canada commissioned Henry Youle Hind
to assess prospects for agricultural settlement and he was much
more enthusiastic than Palliser. Worried about possible takeover
by the Americans, the government chose to believe Hind.
||Rev. James Nisbet established a farm with livestock
near Prince Albert.
|| Indian treaties were signed that opened the way
for immigrant settlement.
||The Dominion Lands Act gave homesteaders the right
for a $10 fee to prove up a quarter section of land. Having built
a house and cultivated a specified number of acres (this varied
according to type of terrain) the farmer could receive title to
the land after three years.
||Canadian Pacific Railway was completed from Winnipeg
to Calgary, opening the way for easier shipment of agricultural
|Middle to late 1880s
||Rapid industrialization and population growth in
Britain opened markets for food grains, notably wheat. It was soon
discovered that winter wheat varieties were not suitable for the
Prairies. Improvement in milling technology made hard red spring
wheat the miller’s choice for bread and the farmer’s choice in what
is now Saskatchewan.
||The federal government sought to increase the number
of settlers by encouraging colonization companies. Development was
slow with the total population of what became Saskatchewan at 33,000
||Settlers’ Rights Association near Prince Albert protested
to government about the sectional survey and seizure of the land
they had farmed since 1874. The land became part of land grants
to the railway, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Crown. William
Miller made the submission.
||Metis under Louis Riel launched an uprising against
the government over the feared loss of land on which they had squatted
prior to the survey. The rising was put down by force of arms and
Riel was hanged.
||General Middleton’s army fighting the Metis in 1885
had need of massive numbers of horses for transporting food and
supplies. Angus MacKay of Indian Head didn’t put in a crop in 1885
because his horses were being used by the army. He noted that when
he left 1885 fields in fallow they produced higher yields in the
dry year, 1886.
||The Council of the North West Territories passed
an ordinance to incorporate agricultural societies. Regina and Moose
Jaw had held their first exhibitions in 1884 and Saskatoon held
its first in 1886. Stated objective was to improve agriculture.
|| Indian Head Experimental Farm was established with
Angus MacKay as director. His experiments with summerfallow established
a farm practice that is still being used by some farmers more than
100 years later.
||Sir John Lister Kaye launched his ranching empire
in a number of large acreage tracts along what is now No. 1 Highway.
He had 500 Clydesdale mares, 7,000 cattle, 700 pigs of three breeds
and 10,000 sheep. He didn’t thrive but succeeding owners of his
Crane Lake ranch kept it operating under the 76 Ranch name until
well into the next century.
||First dairy co-operatives were formed to market farm-separated
cream and dairy products. This was the base from which grew what
is now Dairy Producers Co-operative Ltd.
||The federal government signed the Crow’s Nest Pass
Agreement with the CPR under which the railway would receive $3,000,000
to build a branch line from Lethbridge to mining resources in southern
British Columbia. In return settlers would benefit from low freight
rates for shipping in their effects and for shipping out the grain
||James Douglas, member for Assiniboia, introduced
bills in the House of Commons to establish the right of farmers
to bypass commercial elevators in selling their wheat. He also sought
an independent grain inspector to ensure farmers got a fair deal
on grain grades. His bills resulted in the Manitoba Grain Act of
1900, “the Magna Carta of western farmers.”
||W.R. Motherwell of Abernethy and Peter
Dayman of Indian Head organized the Territorial Grain Growers Association
to seek a grain delivery system not so loaded in favor of the railways
and elevator companies.
||The famous Sintaluta Trial saw the Territorial Grain
Growers win a lawsuit against the Canadian Pacific Railway. The
railway’s Sintaluta agent was fined for not allocating rail cars
to farmers on an equal basis to elevator companies. This was a violation
of the Manitoba Grain Act.
||John Brandt of Edenwold imported a number of Shorthorns
from Scotland and launched what was believed to be the first purebred
Shorthorn herd in Assiniboia (now Saskatchewan).
||Mossom Boyd of Prince Albert imported from the United
States the first two Polled Hereford bulls to come to Canada.
||Murdo MacKenzie obtained a 21-year lease on six townships
of land north of Swift Current where he established the famed Matador
Ranch. In summer the ranch stocked 6,000 cattle and in winter, 4,000.
It operated until 1921 when it became a provincial community pasture.
In the 1940s part of it was turned into a co-operative farm.
||Saskatchewan became a province. With more than one
million people settling on the Canadian Prairies between 1896 and
1913 this was an era of dramatic change.
||The TGGA was reorganized into the Saskatchewan Grain
Growers Association. It set up a farmers co-operative elevator company
called the Grain Growers Grain Company. Edward Partridge of Sintaluta
was first president of GGGA. Convinced the Winnipeg Grain Exchange
was working with major elevator companies to the disadvantage of
farmers, Partridge bought an exchange membership. Line elevator
representatives sought to have him expelled for paying patronage
dividends to GGGA members but the grain growers mollified them by
agreeing to stop paying such dividends. Out of the GGGA grew United
Grain Growers and the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Company.
||Local Improvement Districts Association was formed
with S. Chivers-Wilson of Regina as president. The organization
became the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM)
in 1911. Municipal organizations dated back to the 1880s but this
was the first province-wide body. Legislation in 1909 established
nine townships as the standard size for a municipality.
||The University of Saskatchewan was established in
Saskatoon with Dr. Walter Murray of Dalhousie University as first
president. It was decided its College of Agriculture would be equal
in priority with the College of Arts and Science. First dean of
agriculture was William John Rutherford who moved from his post
as Saskatchewan’s deputy minister of agriculture. He laid great
emphasis on research into better farming resources and methods.
|| On March 25 concurrent meetings were held in Regina
of cattle, sheep, swine and horse producers to form provincial associations.
First president of the Saskatchewan Cattle Breeders was P.M. Bredt
of Balgonie. Sheep breeders’ first president was F.T. Skinner of
Indian Head. The 1909 swine breeders’ board was headed by A. B.
Potter of Langbank and the Saskatchewan Horse Breeders’ first president
was Alex Mutch of Lumsden. Secretary for each association in 1909
was John Bracken, later to become premier of Manitoba but then he
was Saskatchewan superintendent of fairs and institutes. The livestock
associations were concerned mostly with organizing sales, fairs
and livestock events to promote their purebred industry.
||Canadian Council of Agriculture was formed with Saskatchewan
representation from the SGGA. This organization, that included farm
groups from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, faded out
in the 1920s. First women’s president of the CCA was Violet McNaughton
||Discovery of Marquis wheat by Sir Charles Saunders
in Ottawa gave Saskatchewan farmers a high quality earlier maturing
crop that made it possible to avoid many of the frost problems that
had been a recurring nightmare with Red Fife wheat. Marquis was
tested at Indian Head before release.
||Import of purebred stallions from Britain by horsemen,
such as Scotty Bryce of Arcola, improved the quality and performance
of horses which were the chief source of farm power. Huge steam
and gas tractors were appearing but it would be 30 years before
they would dominate.
||Edward Partridge’s demand for federal ownership of
terminal grain elevators and provincial ownership of inland elevators
was supported in a farmers’ march on Ottawa organized by the Canadian
Council of Agriculture. The proposal was not accepted but the federal
government did build big inland elevators at points such as Saskatoon
and Moose Jaw and the province did agree to provide aid in building
||Teaching homesteaders to farm under Saskatchewan
conditions was a priority with Commissioner of Agriculture W. R.
Motherwell. In 1910 this task was turned over to the university’s
College of Agriculture which pursued the task with vigor. Better
farming trains supplemented by meetings and seminars reached as
many as 68,000 people a year by 1914.
||Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevators Ltd., was formed
to build a farmer’s elevator system. Its first general manager was
Charles Dunning of Beaverdale. The following year it obtained a
seat on the Winnipeg Grain Exchange and it rapidly expanded into
the largest elevator company in the province.
||Saskatchewan Homemakers’ Clubs were launched when
F. H. Auld, university extension director, invited 42 women to meet
with him in Regina January 31. Members received the latest information
on homemaking, gardening and poultry raising. They discussed social
issues such as temperance, health and votes for women. This became
a key organization for farm women.
||Seager Wheeler, a seed grower from Rosthern, won
the first of his five world wheat championships in New York and
was awarded $1,000 in gold. His first three wins were with Marquis,
his fourth with Kitchener and his fifth with Red Bobs, the latter
two varieties he had developed himself.
||Farmers formed a cooperative to supply hail insurance.
||Violet McNaughton of Harris attended the 1913 convention
of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers with her husband, John, and was
instrumental in organizing a Women’s Grain Growers Association.
She was elected first president. This group convinced the SGGA to
support women’s suffrage and kept the cause of equal rights for
farm women to the fore.
||The First World War began and farmers, expecting
to be home by Christmas, enlisted in large numbers. The crop was
poor that year (74,000,000 bushels) so the government decided to
suspend taxes on the farms of soldiers (who didn’t make it home
by Christmas). The following year (1915) the Saskatchewan crop was
a new record of 215,000,000 bushels, and put pressure on a system
disrupted by war.
||University of Saskatchewan biologist Dr. W.P. Thompson
proposed that Marquis wheat be crossed with lower quality emmer
wheats. He had noted that while Marquis could be wiped out by rust,
emmer wheats had rust resistance. Using this idea plant scientists
produced a string of rust resistant wheats including Reward, Renown
and, in the United States, Thatcher.
||The federal government, as a wartime emergency measure,
set up a Board of Grain Supervisors Wheat Board) under Dr. Robert
Magill with monopoly control over wheat sales. The futures market
was shut down. With European agriculture disrupted by war, wheat
prices rose to $2.21 a bushel and then $2.63 by 1919.
||Following representations from farmers the Saskatchewan
government brought in the Saskatchewan Farm Loans Act to provide
credit for agricultural operation and expansion.
||Grain Growers Grain Company amalgamated with Alberta
Cooperative Elevator Company to form United Grain Growers Ltd.
||Saskatchewan government intervened to save cooperative
||Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers was formed to provide
a promotion and marketing arm for sheep producers.
||The First World War ended and veterans came home
to drought, hail and a severe grasshopper infestation. Wheat prices
were good but the 1919 crop was not.
||The federal government shut down the wheat board
and allowed the reopening of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. Grain
prices fell sharply to $1.50 a bushel in 1920 and 76 cents in 1921.
Farmers began to lobby for re-establishment of the wheat board.
||The Cooperative Stockyards Act was approved in the
Legislature and larger centres moved to establish sales yards for
||By Act of Parliament the Crow’s Nest rates on grain
were suspended for three years as the railways claimed post-war
inflation had made them uneconomic. The rates were restored in 1922
and enshrined in legislation when farmers and the Progressive party
raised a storm.
||Saskatchewan’s population had risen to 757,610, and
65 percent of its people were on farms or in rural communities.
||Tuberculin testing would be required for all purebred
cattle sales in future, it was announced at the Saskatchewan Livestock
||Farmers Union of Canada formed at Saskatoon headed
by L.C. McNamee of Kelvington and Louis Brouillette of Landis. It
sought a commodity pool to market wheat. Such was farmer unrest
that within two years it had 10,000 members and the SGGA membership
had dropped to 15,000. The farm union sought a compulsory contract
pool while the SGGA favored a voluntary, temporary pool.
||More than 9,000 farmers, faced with loss of farms
in the postwar depression, received aid from a provincial debt adjustment
||Canada set up a grading system for hogs that encouraged
bacon type production with a 10 percent premium on Selects. Since
that time the policy has been fine-tuned on a continuing basis.
||The federal government refused to restore a wheat
board so the drive began for a farmer-run contract wheat pool. Farmers
union and SGGA agreed to work together to this end. California lawyer
Aaron Sapiro weaved oratorical magic in convincing farmers a wheat
pool would work.
||Wheat production set a new production record of 452,500,000
bushels from 21,700,000 acres. Another 7,900,000 acres was planted
to oats, most of which went to feed horses.
||The Progressive, a weekly farm newspaper promoting
pooling, began publication at Saskatoon August 24. A year later
it became The Western Producer.
||Canvassers promoting pooling wheat succeeded in signing
up more than 50 percent of the acreage of the province and the Saskatchewan
Wheat Pool was launched. A.J. McPhail of Bankend was elected first
president and George Robertson of Wynyard named first secretary.
||Enthusiasm for pooling led to a drive that resulted
in organization of the Saskatchewan Livestock Pool and Saskatchewan
Poultry Pool. In 1927 the Dairy Pool was founded in Saskatoon.
||Saskatchewan Seed Growers Cooperative Association
was formed to market cereal and forage seed.
||Saskatchewan Wheat Pool bought out the Saskatchewan
Cooperative Elevator system, acquiring 471 country elevators, two
Lakehead terminals and a transfer elevator at Buffalo for $11,060,269.
||Farmers Union of Canada and Saskatchewan Grain Growers
amalgamated to form United Farmers of Canada, Saskatchewan section.
George F.Edwards of Markinch was first chairman.
||Canary Korndyke Alcartra, a four-year-old Holstein-Friesian
cow owned by B.H. Thomson of Moose Jaw, produced a world record
26,396 pounds of milk and 1,080 pounds of butterfat in 305 days.
||Rapidly declining wheat price caught Prairie wheat
pools with too high an initial payment and no reserves to cover
losses. Federal and provincial government loans kept the organizations
going but the federal government in 1930 took over the Central Selling
Agency. Saskatchewan Pool continued as an elevator company.
||A Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Seed Growers
Association was organized with R. D. Kirkham of Saltcoats as first
president. First meeting of members was in June, 1929, in Winnipeg
during the CSGA annual meeting.
||System of Advanced Registry for swine quality improvement
was approved. The AR swine test station was built at the University
of Saskatchewan in 1937 by the federal government.
||After decades of campaigning by farm groups for grain
handling facilities at the port of Churchill, this year saw the
first shipment of grain. The initial shipment was wheat from northeast
Saskatchewan, provided through Saskatchewan Wheat Pool.
||Saskatchewan Relief Commission was set up to relieve
distress in rural Saskatchewan brought on by the depression. Between
1931 and 1933 some 577 carloads of relief supplies were distributed
in Saskatchewan. SARM president Guy Hummel estimated rural municipal
tax arrears at $30,000,000.
||Wheat prices fell to the lowest level in 300 years
with No. 1 Northern yielding 38 cents, basis Fort William. Average
price of Yorkshire bred sows at the Regina spring sale dropped to
$18.33 compared to $52.42 two years earlier. Average price of Shorthorns
was down to $139.76 compared to $198 in 1930, of Herefords $108.12
as against $167.22, and of Angus $115.71 compared to $188.43. In
1934 yearling steers at the Moose Jaw Feeder Sale averaged $2.35
per hundredweight and stockyard prices were below that. The dirty
thirties were making their presence felt.
||The Canadian Council of Boys’ and Girls’ Club Work
was organized with Dr. John G. Rayner, director of extension at
the University of Saskatchewan, as a key charter member. Youth club
work began in Manitoba in 1914 and quickly spread to Saskatchewan
but 1933 saw the first formal national organization.
||The World Grain Exhibition and Conference in Regina
attracted agricultural scientists from 40 nations, states and provinces.
The show drew a total of 200,000 spectators. In the grain competitions
59 percent of the awards were won by Saskatchewan farmers.
||The federal government headed by R.B. Bennett passed
the Natural Products Marketing Act by which a commodity could be
marketed through one agency when two thirds of producers voted in
favor of a marketing board. This led eventually to marketing boards
for milk, chickens and hogs.
|| Farmers, faced by rising fuel prices, opened their
own Consumer’s Cooperative Refinery in Regina.
||Federal legislation provided statutory existence
for a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board.
||Canadian Chamber of Agriculture (later Canadian Federation
of Agriculture) was formed with J.H. Wesson, president of Saskatchewan
Wheat Pool, as first chairman.
||The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration was
established to find means to rehabilitate farmland that was threatening
to become desert and to help farmers on dried out land to cope.
Much land that had starved out its homesteaders was converted to
||Crop failure (wheat yield averaged 2.7 bushels per
acre) resulted when drought, heat, rust and grasshoppers combined
to decimate cereals.
||Following farmer complaints about machinery costs,
the Saskatchewan Legislature approved legislation incorporating
Canadian Cooperative Implements Ltd. It wasn’t until 1945 that financing
was in place to market tractors and to manufacture a limited line
||The Second World War broke out and enlistment of
young men drained off agricultural manpower. This accelerated the
move to mechanization, although equipment was scarce due to wartime
||Ottawa implemented the Prairie Farm Assistance Act
which provided some crop insurance. Farmers were charged one percent
on their grain deliveries and could collect $2.50 an acre on half
of their cultivated acreage when their yields dropped below five
bushels per acre.
||With grain export markets disrupted by war a huge
carry-over of grain forced institution of a quota system on grain
deliveries based on acreage. It was believed this system would give
farmers a fairer access to the available market. Initial prices
were pegged at 70 cents a bushel.
||Fred S. Mendel, fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany,
established Intercontinental Packers in Saskatoon.
||Four hundred Saskatchewan farmers traveled to Ottawa
by special train seeking $1 wheat to compensate for a government
order to limit deliveries to 230,000,000 bushels. They didn’t get
the dollar but later the initial price was raised to 90 cents from
||J. Gordon Ross of Moose Jaw began contracting the
growing of rapeseed for industrial oil. The following year Prairie
Vegetable Oils Ltd., built a processing plant in Moose Jaw that
launched a new industry for Saskatchewan.
||Federal government gave the Canadian Wheat Board
a monopoly on wheat trading in the west. In 1948, following farmer
petitions, oats and barley were included under board control.
||Financially troubled Saskatchewan Cooperative Livestock
Producers merged with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool.
||Dr. W. J. White at the University of Saskatchewan
began rapeseed research on samples selected by H.G. Neufeld of Nipawin.
This led 10 years later to the release of the first Canadian variety
of rape, Golden.
||The drive to provide bacon for Britain reached its
peak this year at 92,310,000 pounds. From 1940 to 1945 three and
a half billion pounds of Canadian pork, mostly bacon, went to Britain.
German occupation of Denmark and other former pork suppliers opened
up this wartime market.
||Federal government brought in a “temporary” Agricultural
Prices Support Act for farm products other than wheat. This included
butter, skim milk powder, apples, dried fruits and dried beans.
The legislation proved durable.
||A Horse Cooperative Marketing Association packing
plant was set up at Swift Current to reduce the horse population
made surplus by mechanization.
||2,4D, invented in 1940, came into general commercial
use in 1945 as a weed control weapon for farmers in Saskatchewan.
Use of farm chemicals for insect and weed control goes back to the
||British Wheat Agreement was signed providing for
guaranteed market volumes from Canada over four years totaling 600,000,000
bushels. The negotiated price was $1.55 a bushel for the first two
years and $2 for the next two. This became an issue as open market
prices rose above $2 a bushel.
||Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists was organized
with Dr. J.B. Harrington, head of the University of Saskatchewan
field husbandry department, as first president.
||Saskatchewan Wheat Pool built a vegetable oil plant
in Saskatoon and a year later a $3,000,000 flour mill to provide
broadened markets for its members. Initially the vegetable oil plant
processed flax but later focused on rapeseed.
||Sheep population dropped due to low prices and competition
of imports. Where numbers had averaged 3,000,000 annually for Canada,
they dropped to around 500,000.
||Restrictions ended against export of cattle to the
United States and the U.S. quickly replaced Britain as major importer
of Saskatchewan’s market cattle and calves. Prices rose in 1950
and 1951 to unprecedented heights. Canadian bacon also found a market.
Whether meat animals moved south or north across the 49th parallel
seemed to depend on the relationship between the Canadian and American
||Saskatchewan Wheat Pool paid off the final $465,000
of its $13,300,000 debt to the Saskatchewan government incurred
as a result of the 1929 overpayment on farmers’ grain.
||United Farmers of Canada Saskatchewan section reorganized
under Joseph Lee Phelps into the Saskatchewan Farmers Union.
||With strong support from Saskatchewan grain producer
organizations, an international wheat agreement setting out minimum
and maximum prices was signed and continued for 10 years. Such agreements,
setting out maximum and minimum prices, faded out by 1971 when parties
to the pacts decided rigid prices were not to their advantage. Canada
supported continuance of the IWA but its major competitors did not.
||Census reports showed horse numbers in Saskatchewan
had dropped to half what they were in 1921 and there was now an
average of one tractor per farm.
||Farm Boys and Girls Clubs reorganized into the Canadian
Council of 4-H Clubs.
||Foot and Mouth disease broke out in the Regina area
and the United States promptly closed the border to Canadian livestock
exports. To cushion the blow to farmers Agriculture Minister J.G.
Gardiner announced assistance plans for producers as all infected
animals and exposed animals were slaughtered. The border reopened
six months after the outbreak.
||First importation of Charolais cattle excited a new
trend in purebred cattle breeding, leading to the import of breeds
such as Simmental, Maine-Anjou, Limousin, Chianina, Pinzgauer and
Australian Murray Grey. Agriculture Minister Harry Hays in 1964
cleared the way for quarantine stations to ensure the imports were
healthy. This made possible profitable breeding stock sales to the
United States, where importing cattle from Europe was banned.
||Pedigreed cattle entries from Britain focused attention
on the British Commonwealth Hereford Show and Sale in Regina.
||Saskatchewan Royal Commission on Agriculture and
Rural Life under Prof. W.B. Baker brought in a blueprint for the
province’s rural development
||Saskatchewan’s long love affair with Yorkshire bacon
type pigs was reexamined when imports began of Danish Lambrace,
and the Lacombe hog developed at the Lacombe Research Station (registered
as a breed in 1957) gained a market share. Yorkshires remained dominant
but big commercial operations began focusing on fast growing hybrids.
||Canadian Wheat Board negotiated sales of wheat to
Communist China although Canada’s government didn’t recognize that
country’s government. This led to large sales in 1961 and in subsequent
years to China and the Soviet Union. An important share of this
wheat came from Saskatchewan.
||After many decades of failed political promises,
an agreement was signed to build the South Saskatchewan River Dam
near Outlook. Dreams of massive irrigation projects proved premature.
||Four trains carried 1,100 farmers (the majority from
Saskatchewan) to Ottawa to seek deficiency payments on wheat plus
a two-price system. The government granted acreage payments and
much later a two-price system was instituted.
||A crop insurance program was launched that involved
contributions from the federal and provincial governments and producers.
It was hoped this would reduce the need for government disaster
||Dr. Clare Youngs of the National Research Laboratory
and Bruce Cameron and Jack Reynolds of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool
in Saskatoon developed a processing method to make rapeseed more
acceptable for human and animal consumption. By 1969 Saskatchewan
farmers had 1 ,000 ,000 acres in rapeseed crop as new markets were
opened up, especially in Japan.
||The first Canadian low erucic acid rapeseed variety,
Oro, is released. It was developed by Dr. Keith Downey at the Agriculture
Canada Research Station in Saskatoon. Later researchers also managed
to breed for low glucosinolate rapeseed. This led to a major switch
to rapeseed-based cooking oil and margarine, with a margarine manufacturing
plant being built by Agra Industries at Nipawin in 1963. By 1971
rapeseed (later canola) had taken over the largest share of the
Canadian vegetable oil market and two decades later had made strong
inroads into the United States.
||National Farmers Union is organized with Roy Atkinson
of Biggar as first president. The farm union in Saskatchewan became
a region of the national body.
||Faced with what was regarded as a burdensome wheat
surplus, Wheat Board Minister Otto Lang launched a Lower Inventories
for Tomorrow (LIFT) program to pay farmers to take land out of production.
||Palliser Triangle Wheat Growers was organized with
Walter Nelson of Avonlea as first president. In later years this
was to become the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
||Gary Carlson of the Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture
called a meeting in Saskatoon to organize a Saskatchewan Agricultural
Hall of Fame.
||Major western agricultural show, the Canadian Western
Agribition, was launched in Regina with Chris Sutter of Redvers
as its founding chairman. This became the largest beef cattle show
in North America. Saskatoon Mexabition is annually scheduled for
the week prior to Agribition.
||Prairie Pools bought Federal Grain Company, a publicly
owned firm that handled 16 percent of grain marketed in the province.
Saskatchewan Pool’s share of provincial grain handlings rose from
51 percent to 63 percent as a result.
||National marketing agencies were authorized for eggs,
turkeys and chickens. Poultry production had moved away from small
sideline operations on thousands of farms to large scale production
in a few units. These specialized producers sought marketing boards
to stabilize markets and returns.
||Saskatchewan Cooperative Creameries, headquartered
in Regina, and the Dairy and Poultry Pool in Saskatoon amalgamated
to form Dairy Producers Cooperative Ltd. First president was L.L.
Gray of Weyburn.
||Saskatchewan Hog Marketing Commission was established
and became the co-ordinator of market hog sales in the province.
Manager Jim Morris, Saskatoon, became a spokesman for the industry.
||Railways were campaigning for abandonment of branch
lines. The federal government ruled 12,423 miles of prairie lines
would be maintained until the year 2000, 525 miles would be considered
for abandonment and a Royal Commission headed by Justice Emmett
Hall would assess a further 6,200 miles. Ottawa agreed to subsidize
rehabilitation of guaranteed branch lines.
||Cargill Grain bought out the National Grain Company
and announced plans to build an inland grain terminal near Rosetown.
||The federal government ended Wheat Board control
over domestic feed grains. Feed surpluses and low prices had created
a cross provincial border bootleg business in selling feed to feedlots
so the government changed the law to make such sales legal.
||The Western Grain Stabilization Act was passed and
this support program went into effect in 1976.
||Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture was disbanded
as a result of sharp divisions among member organizations over government
plans to replace the Crow’s Nest rates on grain with a diminished
subsidy to the railways. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool maintained its
link with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture through the regional
Prairie Pools Inc.
||Livestock producers negotiated national tripartite
support programs financed by producers and the federal and provincial
governments. The United States imposed a countervailing duty on
hogs, claiming Canadian farmers were unfairly subsidized.
||Canada Agriculture Minister Bill McKnight and Saskatchewan
Premier Grant Devine announced a billion dollars would be paid to
grain farmers who had suffered from low export prices caused by
the trade price war between the United States and the European Community.
Payments were cost-shared with the provincial governments and continued
until safety net programs could be instituted.
||Transport Minister Benoit Bouchard announced no grain
would be moving through the port of Churchill in the crop year.
Mass grain movement by large hopper cars was not possible on the
Hudson Bay Railway.
||Canada and the United States signed a free trade
agreement that provided for a panel to resolve trade disputes such
as the countervail on hogs. Canadian hog producers promptly won
a ruling in their favor but US producers continued to appeal and
demand further countervails. Despite a 3.5 cent per pound duty on
Canadian fresh, chilled and frozen pork, Canada shipped $634,000,000
worth of hogs and pork to the US
||Gross Revenue Income Program (GRIP) and the Net Income
Stabilization Plan (NISA) went into effect. These safety nets were
jointly financed by the federal and provincial governments and producers.
The federal government said large budgetary deficits meant it would
not be able to repeat billion dollar payouts such as occurred in
the late 1980s.
||Farmers now comprised only six percent of Saskatchewan’s
population as continued low grain prices over the previous five
years had caused an exodus from agriculture. Average farm size was
1,091 acres compared to an average 296 acres in 1911 and 551 in
1951. In 1991 there were 47,000,000 acres suitable for growing crops.
The 1991 wheat crop totaled 690,000,000 bushels.
||The North American Free Trade Agreement was signed
between Canada, the US and Mexico. Agricultural sales from Saskatchewan
to Mexico were relatively small.
||Summerfallowing advocated by Angus MacKay in 1886
has been questioned in recent years by soils authority Donald Rennie
and others who claim it pulverizes soil. Statistics Canada reported
25.7 percent of Saskatchewan farms now practice conservation tillage
and 10.4 percent zero tillage.
|| Personal computers were used by 6,756 Saskatchewan
farmers this year to help manage their farms.
||Saskatchewan’s beef cow herd rose to 932,000 head,
second only to Alberta’s 1,700,000 head among Canada’s provinces.
In all, Saskatchewan’s cattle population stood at 2,100,000. Hog
numbers also rose from the 1,100,000 head of 1992. Average increase
in hog population for the Prairies was 3.5 percent.
||A dramatic increase in special crops acreage resulted
from reduced international demand for wheat. Field pea acreage jumped
from 340,000 acres in 1990 to 1,150,000 in 1994. Canary seed rose
to 500,000 acres and mustard rose by 300,000 acres to 700,000. Canola
rose by 2,000,000 acres to 6,650,000.
||Subsidized exports of US durum left that country’s
domestic market short of durum for pasta so Saskatchewan and other
Canadian producers this year sold 2,500,000 tonnes into the US American
durum producers demanded a tariff deterrent to slow Canadian durum
||General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Uruguay Round
is signed giving hope that massive US and European grain subsidies
might not be such a big factor when seeking world markets for Saskatchewan
||Federal-provincial-producer negotiations resumed on a farm program
to replace GRIP, the gross revenue insurance program.
||Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame notes its 25th anniversary.
The age of computer technology has arrived for agriculture and a
new generation of farm leaders and innovators daily make history
that will earn them recognition in the Hall.