Urbanites have to get out more

And learn first-hand where the necessities of life come from

Urbanites have to get out moreThe old saying goes, “No news is good news.” But in the 21st-century smartphone/internet era, it should read, “Good news is no news.” Driven by today’s ultra-competitive media, headlines have increasingly become what has been coined “click bait” – capture eyeballs with something awful happening to somebody somewhere. That’s why you’ll never see “7.9 Billion…

Ford carrot-dangling the return of the Northeastern Ontario rail service

But is the government truly committed to getting it done?

Ford carrot-dangling the return of the Northeastern Ontario rail service“To the people of Northeastern Ontario, you have my word. We will bring the Northlander back to Timmins and Cochrane,” said Premier Ford during his swearing-in ceremony at Queen’s Park this summer. Folks, this could only mean one thing; we’re getting our passenger train back ... right? Just like when it was promised to us…

Trees near farmland pay environmental dividends

Shelterbelts and hedgerows reduce emissions of greenhouse gas by an average of 89 per cent

Trees near farmland pay environmental dividendsBoth dead and alive, trees are an essential ally for farmers in helping the environment, a new University of Alberta study shows. Preserving and planting shelterbelts and hedgerows – and keeping the deadwood they contain – next to cropland helps store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Retaining those live and dead trees, and planting…

A Farmers’ Convoy could prove fatal for Trudeau

If 200,000 truckers scared him into introducing the Emergencies Act, what will he do when 650,000 angry farmers descend on Ottawa?

A Farmers’ Convoy could prove fatal for TrudeauAre Manitobans tired of suffering from high food prices at the grocery store? Well, the Trudeau government believes it is your God-given right to suffer even more as it imposes ever more onerous climate policies on farmers. The Trudeau government announced at a recent meeting with other levels of government that it has plans to…

How to be eco-friendly when mowing your lawn

Helping insects survive is more valuable than practically anything else we do to help nature

How to be eco-friendly when mowing your lawnI recently wrote about haying and the delicate balance between harvesting a crop and protecting nesting birds. Today, I would like to offer some advice to help us protect the beauty and functionality of our properties while simultaneously protecting wildlife. Why should we care? Wildlife is more than just an attractive feature of the landscape;…

A looming chickpea shortage is on the way

Chickpeas are nutritional powerhouses for consumers who don’t necessarily opt for animal proteins

A looming chickpea shortage is on the waySince the start of the pandemic, we have heard about shortages countless times. Most sections of the grocery store have been hit by tightening supplies for one reason or another. But the latest headlines we are seeing are about chickpeas. Many analysts are expecting chickpea inventories to drop significantly in months to come. For westerners,…

Plant diversity promotes healthier land: study

Increases phosphorus needed for plant growth and reproduction

Plant diversity promotes healthier land: studyA new study is the first to show on a global scale that conserving plant diversity boosts a nutrient crucial for healthy land, including productive croplands. An analysis of 180 studies done worldwide on farm fields, grasslands, forests and pot-grown experiments showed that overall, mixtures of diverse plant species increased the availability of phosphorus in…

The politics and precarious nature of travel in the North

The Trudeau government is out of touch with the issues and deficiencies of intercity transportation in Canada

The politics and precarious nature of travel in the NorthThe familiar sound of a passenger train can once again be heard in areas of Northern Ontario that are served by VIA Rail Canada. The Crown corporation officially restored passenger rail services to pre-pandemic levels after more than two years of on-again, off-again, limited or indefinitely suspended train schedules. Life appears to have returned to…

When is the right time to mow hay fields to protect birds?

Knowing birds' behaviour and nesting habits allows nesting and mowing to coexist

When is the right time to mow hay fields to protect birds?Every year about his time I feel sadness for the many birds and small mammals killed by haying. I know there are many and varied reasons why fields are cut, and I respect that, so please don’t think I am criticizing farmers. Mowing hay fields is a necessary and important part of agriculture. We forget…

New soil database will help Alberta farmers plot out sustainable practices

Digging into decades’ worth of data to gauge soil health across the province

New soil database will help Alberta farmers plot out sustainable practicesA new project is, for the first time, harnessing information from thousands of soil samples into one big database to get an idea of how healthy the province’s agricultural soils are. The two-year initiative brings together decades of data collection on soil samples from 44 benchmark sites across the province so that they can be…

New strains of wheat sought with built-in resistance to wheat midge

There’s currently only one genetic defence to protect from wheat midge – but researchers want to change that

New strains of wheat sought with built-in resistance to wheat midge Agricultural scientists in Western Canada are teaming up to give wheat a boost of built-in resistance to a destructive pest. “Wheat midge is the number one insect pest threatening wheat crops across Western Canada,” says James Harynuk, a professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science. Harynuk notes that wheat midge can cause about $60…

Plant diversity minimally affected by intensive cattle grazing: study

The large-scale study adds to the understanding of how different grazing practices affect the land

Plant diversity minimally affected by intensive cattle grazing: studyThe way ranchers graze their cattle doesn’t make much difference in plant diversity on the land, according to a U of A study. That’s important because plant diversity is a useful metric to gauge the resilience of a landscape, including rangeland used by cattle producers, says Jessica Grenke, first author of the study. Researchers compared adaptive…

Inflation drives a stake through the backbone of the country

Visiting rural Canada, seeing the impacts of high gas prices, is gut-wrenching

Inflation drives a stake through the backbone of the countryI recently visited my mom in Saskatchewan, in a little town up in what’s called the province’s northeast but really isn’t. It’s the parkland border between farms and forests, no further north than Edmonton. The region is sparsely populated; if you drew a circle around Momstown with a 65-km radius, that circle would include maybe…

Perennial rye crop shows potential for greener agriculture

Experimental crop absorbed CO2 equivalent to a vehicle burning 35,000 litres of gasoline

Perennial rye crop shows potential for greener agricultureAnnual crops are the farmer’s bread and butter, the crops they rely on most, but at least one type of perennial grain is proving much more beneficial to the environment. A crop of perennial rye absorbed a substantial amount of carbon dioxide, or CO2, a University of Alberta study showed, while an annual crop had no…

Rural physicians get to participate in cradle-to-grave medicine

Rural learning programs help medical students to become rural family physicians

Rural physicians get to participate in cradle-to-grave medicinePonoka family doctor Greg Sawisky grew up in Kelowna, B.C., before heading to the University of Alberta for medical school. After a couple of shadowing opportunities in Fort McKay and Stettler, he threw himself into the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry’s Rural Integrated Community Clerkship program and hasn’t looked back. “There is something so wonderfully…
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