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In Brief… – for Apr. 2, 2009

Awareness award:

The Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association (MFWBA) is launching a new award to recognize outstanding contributions to public awareness of agricultural issues. The annual award can go to an individual or organization. “This award will recognize the people in Manitoba who capture our imagination and interest, compelling us to learn more about agriculture’s role in our province,” said MFWBA president Crystal Jorgenson. Nominations are due by May 15. Nomination forms can be found at www.mfwba.ca.

Boosting canola production:

The federal government is investing $1 million into the Sustainable Cropping System Platforms for Biodiesel Feedstock Quantity and Quality (SBQQ) research network. The Sustainable Cropping System Platforms for Biodiesel Feedstock Quantity and Quality (SBQQ) research network will carry out a series of experiments conducted across the major soil zones and ecoregions of Western Canada to find out the most effective ways to increase canola production.

New hay plant owner:

Intermountain Forage Ltd., a hay plant in Dauphin, has a new owner. The Royal Canadian Hay Company of Montreal purchased the plant in December. The new plant manager is Christian Larochelle. Intermountain Forage sells compressed hay for the dairy and horse markets, primarily in the Middle East, Japan, Korea and other countries. The company is one of two commercial forage processors in Manitoba. The other is Sunnyside Farms of Russell.

Spinning straw into gold:

The federal government is putting $8.7 million into increasing the industrial value of surplus cereal straw left on fields. Led by the University of Western Ontario, the Agricultural Biorefinery Innovation Network (ABIN) will develop genetically improved varieties of cereals which will be sought after not only for the value of the grain but also for the value of the straw, a federal release says. It will also find more efficient ways of collecting the straw and develop new technologies to extract a range of valuable materials.

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