Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don Baron made Country Guide
"a great farm magazine"

The funeral will be held Saturday for the noted farm writer and former editor of one of Canada's most prominent farm publications, Country Guide magazine, who has died at the age of 82. 
 Don Baron was a longtime author, editor and farm journalist and an outspoken critic of regulation in the grain industry of western Canada. He joined in 1952 as assistant editor, became editor in chief 10 years later and left the magazine in 1975 after a career spent documenting "the inevitable trend toward a market-based ag economy and away from government influence" said retired Guide editor Dave Wreford, as reported in a post on the Country Guide website.
Baron "made the Guide a great farm magazine and helped us all in our careers," Harold Dodds, former editor of the Guide's sister book Canadian Cattlemen, said in a separate email.
[He] was raised in Ottawa and graduated from the University of Guelph's Ontario Agricultural College in 1949, entering farm journalism first at Toronto-based Farmer's Magazine and then moving to Winnipeg in 1952 to become assistant editor of the Guide.
After leaving Country Guide, he took a job as the head of agriculture and resources TV with CBC Television in Toronto. According to a story at the Leader-Post in Regina, he lost no time in [airing]
a documentary based on the best-selling book Merchants of Grain, which gave Canadians an inside look at the little-known families, companies and government agencies that dominated the international grain trade. Another documentary, What Breadbasket?, attracted much controversy for aggressively arguing the "orderly marketing" of Prairie grain through the monopoly Canadian Wheat Board was bad for the Prairies' development and farmers, in particular.
He later moved back west to Regina to become executive director of the Palliser Wheat Growers Association, which later became the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. From 1983 to 1990 he was a speechwriter for then-premier Grant Devine and chief of staff to Joan Duncan, an MLA. 
Baron wrote four books, including Canada's Great Grain Robbery (1997), a study of grain politics on the Prairies, and Jailhouse Justice (2001), an account of Prairie farmers jailed following a series of border-hopping protests against the Canadian Wheat Board's export monopoly on Prairie wheat and barley.



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