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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 4, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Boycotts, price hikes reawaken Canadians By JIM NEAVES, Canadian Press Writer A boycott of meat this summer and rising prices had the effect of reawaken- ing Canadians to the value of agriculture to the country's economy. That's the opinion of many western agricultural leaders who feel their in- dustry for many years has been largely downgraded and neglected in the face of growing urbanization, natural resource and mineral development and the emphasis on industry and manufacturing. Ian Bickle, publicity director for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in Regina, put it this way: "Agriculture has been so important to the economy for so long, I sometimes feel that most Canadians, and even many of our national policy-makers, tend to take it for granted. "They overlook its great significance." During the last five years the warnings and pleas ot western agriculture leaders that stability in the form of higher prices must be given to the industry seemingly fell on deaf ears. Now they say their cries are being listened to. WAS POOR RELATIVE Historically, agriculture was largely responsible for the development of the Prairies and, for many years, its importance was recognized. In recent years, agriculture literally became the "poor country cousin" as emphasis switched to industrial development and more young people moved into cities, lured by the pay and usually shorter. and less strenuous working hours. But while the rural pop- ulation declined, farm productivity increased, aided by modern technology, and the cost- price squeeze started to become a factor. Farmers were faced with higher costs for the goods and ser- vices they used, provided by the people, who had moved into the cities. It has become a case of fewer farmers having to increase their productivity to support growing city populations of non produc- tive workers those providing services. SOCIETY FELT IT Farm spokesmen point to the 1968-69 period when the western economy was hard hit by a lack of grain sales in international markets. It was felt by almost every segment of society in the West and resulted in huge staff reductions in farm machinery plants in Central Canada. Had it continued, the national economy would have been affected, they said. Harold Sneath of Win- nipeg. Manitoba Pool Elevators president, said Canadians must recognize Our Best Quality Your Best Value! breeze] LATEX eggs hell 55-010 Everyday Low Price GAL. Net BREEZE LATEX INTERIOR EGGSHELL FINISH A new washable, hard latex finish for today's decor easy to apply, dries in one hour quick clean up with warm soapy water. Choose from hundreds of pastel colors. SALE! VINYL WALLCOVERINGS Dry strippable, ready pasted vinyl coated Q wallcovering in patterns and colorings for every room in the home. Regular lo per single roll. Per Single Roll CHARGEX WELCOMEI LOADS OF FREE PARKING GENERAL PAINT WALLCOVERINGS 1020 3rd AVENUE SOUTH PHONE 328-9221 or 328-9222 that agriculture is "just as important to the economy as any other industry and more so because it is the lifeblood of the country." The problem was that in the 1968-69 period the lack of grain sales hit directly at the farmer and only in- directly at the non-farming sector of the population. Today, the whole popula- tion has been affected by rapidly escalating food prices. Mr. Sneath said wages in the non-farm sector doubl- ed between 1961 and 1972 while at the same time the price of food "stayed ex- actly the same." "Now it has moved up fairly sharply and I think with the publicity peo- ple are much more aware." HOGS WERE CHEAP He said that in April, 1971, hogs were being sold by farmers for 18 to 19 cents a pound compared with 53 cents a pound in April this year. "If people had been aware and said the farmer was not getting enough for his hog in 1971, we would not have had a shortage two years later and prices would not have taken such a drastic jump." A. M. Runciman of Win- nipeg, United Grain Growers president, said people now must stop and think abour keeping farmers in the business. North America had been blessed with an over abundance of food and this is the area where com- plaints were being heard about food costs rising. Mr. Runciman said com- plaints are not heard in countries where people spend up -to 40 per cent of their net income for food, most of it imported, com- pared with the 18 or 19 per cent spent by Canadians. "I hope it has driven home the point that food comes from farms and farms have to be economically viable or they will he said. Mr. Runciman said he is concerned because if the prices paid to the farmer for cattle and hogs are not they may sw- ing toward the production of grains. MAY IMPORT MEAT This might ultimately lead to a situation in which the .country's livestock production falls to such an extent that Canada might end up importing meat from countries that feed their animals on grains bought from Canada. E. A. Boden of Regina, Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture president, said public awareness of the importance of agriculture to the economy has "been woefully lacking." "It is encouraging there is a marked improvement among those not directly involved in agriculture and one of the main reasons the so-called meat boycott fell flat was that there was this greater recognition." Mr. Sneath added that many people started to "holler" earlier this year when statistics showed food prices increased more than three per cent during the first three months and after extending that calculation, decided on that basis food costs would increase 14 per cent by the end of 1973. "But during the same period at the start of this year, farm production costs increased 6.1 per cent and if you calculate that out to the end of the year on the same basis, it means an increase of 24 per cent and you have to relate one figure to the other." FARMER LOST Many farm leaders have said privately that low food costs have resulted in peo- ple being able to channel income into such luxury items as a second car, snowmobiles and color televisions at the expense of the farmer who provided cheap food. Mr. Bickle emphasized that agriculture is the most important primary in- dustry in Canada with about one third of the labor force directly or in- directly involved. He estimated total assets on Canadian farms more than billion. He estimated total assets on Canadian farms more than billion. Mr. Sneath said Canadians now must recognize farmers are receiving a much more equitable price for their products, even though it still could be improved. "Let's encourage the farmers to produce more hogs and beef even at this price level rather than see him give up the production because prices start to go down." New White 1870. Big cube, low rpm, 98 hp. Big, rugged 451 cube 6 cylinder diesel engine has a rated speed of only 1800 rpm 98 hp. True 3 shifts on-the-go in each of six gears with Hydraul- Shitt a total of 18 forward speeds Solid, comfort cab meets in- dustry standards for roll- over protection Two doors 6000 Ibs lift capacity on Cat. II or III hitch Wheat- land version features extra-heavy-duty wide- swinging drawbar Tilt- O-Scope power steering, adjustable seat, finger- tip controls plus many options LP-Gas model also available See the new 1870 at WHITE MOTOR CORPORATION Of CANADA I rMJTED WILLIAMS RANCH FARM EQUIPMENT LTD. 421 33rd Street North, Lethbridge Phone 328-1138 or 328-1139 Box 786 ;