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In Brief… – for Aug. 13, 2009

One in nine Americans seeking food aid: More than 34 million Americans received food stamps last May, signalling one of the longest and deepest recessions since the Great Depression.

Enrolment surged by two per cent to reach a record 34.4 million people, or one in nine Americans, in May. It was the sixth month in a row that enrolment set a record. Every state recorded a gain in participation from April. Florida had the largest increase at 4.2 per cent. The U. S. unemployment rate of 9.5 per cent is the highest in 26 years. – Reuters

Expansion: LVB Milling of Elie is expanding its flour-milling business into Ontario. Construction of the $19-million flour mill and grain elevator on site north of Guelph is scheduled to begin early next year. President Andreas Boersch expects about 30 per cent of the wheat will be purchased from Ontario producers and the rest will be imported from the Prairies. When it’s running at capacity, it will mill about 400 tonnes of flour per day and employ about 25 people. The site is near to several large food plants in Kitchener and Cambridge. – Jim Romahn

Rescind approval: New Democrat Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko wants approval for the newly released SmartStax rescinded. “The Creators of ‘SmartStax,’ Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, are in the enviable position of having a government that is both their champion and their regulator,” said Atamanenko in a release. “As long as this conflict of interest continues there is no way to be assured that the pursuit of profit won’t trump the precautionary principle, and the way SmartStax has been approved is a prime example.”

Good thing they’re lovable: Your kids may be priceless, but they certainly don’t come cheap.

The price tag on raising a child born in 2008 to adulthood will set you back US$291,570, the U. S. Department of Agriculture says. And that doesn’t include college.

The figure, which amounts to just under C$312,000 at current exchange rates, covers food (16 per cent), shelter (30 per cent), education (16 per cent) and other necessities, the department says in its annual Expenditures on Children by Families report.

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