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Bin maker posts record quarter

Vicwest Income Fund, owners of Winnipeg grain bin maker Westeel, reported a record quarter based partly on “record output” from its agricultural storage business. The Oakville, Ont. income trust last week posted $16.3 million in net income on revenues of $126.38 million for its quarter ending Sept. 30, up from $11 million on $101.05 million in the year-earlier period. Looking ahead, “growing international demand for more sophisticated foodstuffs should lend (itself) to strong demand for farm infrastructure,” the company said.

Preston honoured

Dr. Allan Preston, the provincial Agriculture Department’s assistant deputy minister of agri-industry development and innovation, has been awarded the 2008 Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for excellence in public administration in Manitoba, presented by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). The institute last week described Preston as “recognized nationally as a leader in his profession and… active in addressing the challenges of ensuring the success and safety of the animal food chain for producers, consumers, industry and government.”

Sask. puts leased farmland on sale

Saskatchewan plans to offer its Crown agricultural land lessees a new incentive to buy the land. Under a five-year optional program starting Nov. 15, leaseholders will see a “sliding scale” incentive, starting in the first year (ending Dec. 31, 2009) with a 10 per cent discount on the price, decreasing to two per cent by the fifth year. The eligible Crown farmland will total about 1.6 million of 7.2 million such acres in the province. The government said its objective “is to see salable agricultural Crown land in the hands of private ownership.”

Maple Leaf names new safety chief

The head of the research and education arm of the American MeatInstitute will be the chief food safety officer for Maple Leaf Foods. Randy Huffman will take his new post Jan. 5. Huffman is now president of the AMI Foundation, run by the representative body for over 600 meat processors and industry suppliers worldwide, including Maple Leaf. Huffman was involved in the foundation’s task forces on listeria control and beef-processing best practices. Foundation programs focus in part on reducing hazards such as listeria in ready-to-eat meats.

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