I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan way back in 1980. CFQC Radio and Television in Saskatoon was looking to recruit a farm news reporter reasoning that it was more logical to take someone from agriculture and teach them on-the-job broadcasting than it was to take a broadcaster and expect them to be interested in agriculture.
At the time, Bill Story was the long-time farm commentator at the station, but Bill was in poor health and they wanted to have a plan for the future.
By graduation, I had secured six job offers, one of which was the farm news job at CFQC. It appealed to me and that’s the one I took despite it being the lowest pay with fewest benefits.
I spent 15 years at CFQC. The radio side was eventually sold and the television stations in Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton and Prince Albert merged. In return for merger approval, a great deal of local content was promised including agriculture news. I became farm news director with a daily farm news program during the noon hour and a half hour Saturday program called Farm Gate.
With two dedicated farm news employees in Saskatoon (I worked with Patty Townsend and then Howard Schmitz), one full-time farm reporter in Regina and part-time agriculture reporters in Yorkton and Prince Albert, we were able to produce some really good television.
A couple of highlights – a half-hour documentary following Canadian custom combiners in the U.S. and another revolving around European agriculture as a camera operator and I covered the GATT trade negotiations in Brussels, Belgium.
Sadly, with continuing cutbacks to local programming, each year less could be accomplished. I left in 1995 and Marlene and I created Hursh Consulting & Communications Inc.
With my television background, corporate videos for agricultural companies and organizations were a big part of the contract work in the first years of the consulting business. I also did a daily agriculture commentary for a number of Saskatchewan radio stations for a number of years.
For more than a decade, I served as editor for Farm Credit Canada’s AgriSuccess magazine. Working on farm management related stories with agriculture journalists from across the country was a great experience.
These days, my main tie to journalism is a weekly column for The Western Producer. I started writing a column for Saskatchewan weekly newspapers back in my early days in television and radio. For many years now, The Western Producer has had exclusive rights to the column. I’m also a contributor for a magazine called Farming for Tomorrow.
As the ag journalism side of the business has waned, other activities have picked up the slack. I currently serve as executive director of the Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan as well as the Inland Terminal Association of Canada. As well, I’m involved with an innovation called the X-Steam-inator which produces high temperature steam for non-selective weed control.
After farming with family members for nearly 20 years, Marlene and I began farming on our own a little over a decade ago. We grow a wide array of crops on our farm near Cabri in southwest Saskatchewan while maintaining a home office in Saskatoon.