Homeowners get riled up when rabbits and squirrels visit their gardens. And sure, it's frustrating, putting a lot of work into a project, only to see it devastated by uninvited wild — or sometimes domestic — animals. So imagine the kind of damage deer can do, tromping through the flowers and vegetables, indiscriminately munching on whatever looks appealing. Or worse, elk. Can you see an elk in your garden? There'd be nothing left standing. Or how about a coyote skulking around the backyard, looking longingly at your pet, your livestock or your child?

Predator problems are the focus of my Urban Cowboy column this week in the Guelph Mercury. No sooner had the column been published than my communications colleague Lucy Goddard at Agricorp called me to note her organization offers crop insurance to help protect farmers against predators. I appreciate the feedback.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is petitioning Queen's Park for increased levels of support. I think the federation has a more European-style support program in mind, which basically pays farmers to feed wildlife, rather than eradicate them or buy crop insurance.