Agricultural di-“verse”ification

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The tree is took down, the shortbread is all eaten So it’s time for our first annual New Year’s greetin’ In doggerel (verse that rhymes badly) we look at the past year Because in hindsight our view is always perfectly clear Speaking of hinds, I hear the coffee shop news is That the behinds of many producers are covered with bruises Such flexibility from farmers I wouldn’t have predicted Apparently the bruises come from kicks self-inflicted Says one “I figured that in September 07 it would be pretty nifty “To use a CWB contract to price all my wheat at $6.50” Then there’s a few, or maybe it was plenty Who passed on $17 canola – said “I’m waiting for $20” There are times when patience is not a virtue, but sinful Now they’re stuck with two crops which are still in the binfull But they were just heeding those who thought they were clever In predicting high prices that would go on forever “The world needs more grain, plant all you can afford” “Don’t worry about $1,500 phosphate! You’ll get your reward” Now the same traders who said “Grain, there’s too less of” Say “There’s too much, the supply is excessive” So next time to grow more, you farmers are called I’d take the traders’ advice with a small grain of salt

Though on the farm wasn’t only where low prices were felt down In 08 everyone else got swept up in the stock market meltdown Those planning on Freedom 55 may now have to wait The plan’s still in place, but with the first 5 changed to an 8 The secret to early retirement now is to be one of those bosses Of banks that get bailed out by taxpayers after billions in losses I’ve learned that first word in “free market” is the one that is key It means “The losses are for you, but the profits are for me.”

Last year the cattlemen said “Our two biggest problems are “High feed grain prices, and a loonie at par” Now corn and barley are cheaper, and so is the dollar So you’d think there’d be no problems about which to holler Except now there’s a new one, which has been quite unstabling Called COOL – not as in “hip,” but Country Of Origin Labelling The CCA’s up in arms, they say “To be COOL we don’t hafta’ “It’s a non-tariff barrier, and contrary to NAFTA” Maybe, but once more I think it behooves it To point out that will take five years in court to prove it And if we win, I think that’s it’s almost for shore That it will be another thing the Americans choose to ignore I think the COOL thing to do when it comes to beef labels Is to call the Americans’ bluff, and do a turn of the tables Put on a Canadian label, in great big red letters And then outsell the Americans by showing our beef is better

The prospect of Alberta-branded beef is exciting But to prove that it’s better means proof that’s in writing Though some don’t like it, Minister George is no quitter When it comes to writing down the age of the critter The Beef Industry Alliance says “It’s just what we need” Others strenuously object, in fact they’re quite ABPed They’ve met and protested with much stomp and stammer But what it comes down to is that George has the hammer “You don’t have to age verify; that’s fine if you won’t be a claimant “If you’re not we won’t send the other half of your payment”

Our federal minister of agriculture is certainly no slacker When it comes to uttering what’s become known as Ritz Crackers He sure managed to create a big national fuss After comments about death by a thousand cold cuts If you’re a wheat board supporter, you make his blood boil He says you wear a ring for decoding, and a hat made of tinfoil So based on the CWB elections, it seems most farmers are funny If you meet one, you’d better wear your shades if it’s sunny

Enough of the past year, let’s have no more dwelling I know that you want to hear my future foretelling Well, based on the entrails and tea leaves I’m reading I predict that if it rains, there’ll be moisture for seeding As for prices, I can predict realistically

That they’ll be on one side or the other of average, statistically And judging by the thickness of my Christmas turkey’s feathers I’m prepared to make the same prediction for weather But for 2009 there’s one thing of which I’m even more clear It’s our wish for good crops, good prices, and a Happy New Year!

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