A memorable year in the books, and another one on the horizon

The past year reminded us — once again — to take nothing for granted, 
and that change is a constant

The year ended with the provincial political scene being turned on its head and a debate on how low the price a barrel of oil could fall.

Who’d have thunk it — much less predicted it?

The January 5 edition of Alberta Farmer takes a look back at some memorable stories from 2014 and some topics that may make headlines in 2015. They are reminders that things change, often quickly and unpredictably.

The list of stories is by no means definitive, but isn’t meant to be — every producer in Alberta has their own version of the big story of 2014 and a major issue they need to keep watch on in the year ahead.

The two are connected — looking back naturally gets you thinking about what’s coming next.

Most cattle producers are wondering if prices really have hit a “new normal” and if they finally can close the door on more than a decade when break-even was about as good as it got. Grain and oilseeds growers heard that new-normal talk a lot until this past year. Now it’s back to the sharpen-your-pencil era.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was a carry-over from 2013, but it kept hog producers on edge all year long, and ushered in a whole new level of biosecurity. It’s difficult to imagine such a virulent and fast-spreading calamity hitting crop production — but easy to picture clubroot slamming a farm for the first time or something like fusarium causing a wreck on an individual operation.

These and many other topics will be on the minds of Alberta producers in the coming year, so we asked some experts to give us their thoughts on the future. Each of the Five to Remember stories has a look-ahead companion piece, and four topics — grain prices, herd expansion, disease outlook, and consumer attitudes — were chosen for the Four to Watch articles.

Hopefully, all are food for thought at a time when you’re planning for the year ahead.

Soon calving and seeding seasons will arrive, things will pick up speed, and before you know it, 2016 will be dawning.

About the author

Editor

Glenn Cheater

Glenn Cheater is a veteran journalist who has covered agriculture for more than two decades. His mission is to showcase the ideas, passions, and stories of Alberta farmers and ranchers.

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