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THE ART OF THE RENTAL DEAL

Renting rather than purchasing land can be a smart short- and long-term farming strategy. While it makes especially good economic sense for young, cash-strapped farmers starting out, land prices in the $3,500 to $6,000 per acre range make renting a sound strategy for established farmers as well.

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SCALE UP

Research plots dot the Prairie landscape and provide farmers a glimpse of what may come from new crop varieties in yield, disease resistance, standability and more. About the size of a pickup truck and just as numerous across Alberta, these plots are an inescapable component of agricultural research. However, dimensions and conditions continually leave something to be desired. Highly manicured and cared for by research scientists in specialized environments, the plots don’t simulate real life and that’s a real problem for farmers who farm sections, not square centimetres.

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SOW WHAT?

The websites of specialty fertilizer companies now often resemble a love letter to the periodic table of elements. Boron, zinc, manganese, oh my! Each shiny product is designed to sell farmers a nutrient they either didn’t know they needed or simply cannot live without.

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IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT

It’s no secret that Canada is one of the world’s top producers of consistently high-quality wheat. Millers in countries such as Ecuador, Indonesia and Japan rely on Canadian wheat to produce top-quality flour for their customers. And while American millers contend with wheat consistency issues, new marketing opportunities for Canadian wheat have popped up in that country. In a highly competitive market, quality is what sets Canada apart from its competitors.

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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Blood dripped from Liz Roberts’s hand. She needed help but her cell phone showed no service. She stepped away from the fence stretcher that had gashed her hand. Driving to get medical help, she stopped several times to phone for assistance without success. From her family’s farm south of Cereal, Roberts arrived 30 minutes later in Oyen, a town of 1,000 hardy souls perched just south of Highway 9 in southeast Alberta, relieved to have remained conscious long enough to find a doctor and stitches for her wound.

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SURFING THE BLACK SEA

Increasing wheat yields in
the Black Sea region of Russia and Ukraine may send chills down the spines of Canadian farmers, but those in the know say changes in global production spell opportunity, not catastrophe, for Canadian wheat farmers.

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