In Brief… – for Aug. 26, 2010

Correction:To vote in Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) elections you must be a producer (actual producer or interested party) of one of the seven major grains listed in the act. That has been the case since 1998 when the election of CWB directors was introduced. What ministerial orders changed in the 2006 and 2008 CWB elections is that only farmers who delivered grain to the CWB during a prescribed period were automatically on the voters’ list and automatically sent a CWB election ballot. Incorrect information appeared in an Aug. 19 story. Robust demand:Deere&Co. reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results, lifted by robust U. S. demand for its biggest tractors and harvesters, but warned of growing weakness in Western Europe. Deere said it expects North American agricultural equipment sales to rise five per cent to 10 per cent this year, lifted by solid commodity prices and low interest rates.

But it said it now expects industrywide sales in Western Europe to fall 15 per cent to 20 per cent because of weakness in the livestock and dairy sectors. Fishing for funds:Dauphin is the biggest fish so far in a Torontobased cable channel’s contest to find “Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town.” WFN: World Fishing Network is offering $25,000, plus a TV special, in its contest at www.wfn.tv/fishingtown. A first round of online voting runs to Sept. 1; then voters pick a winner from 10 finalists by Oct. 4. As of Aug. 19, Dauphin led in the West, with Russell at No. 5, then Flin Flon (19), Lockport (22), Selkirk, Lynn Lake, Rossburn (24- 26) and Lac du Bonnet (40). Miramichi, N. B. and Nestor Falls, Ont. led in the Atlantic and Ontario. – Staff Land dispute:Angry Indian lawmakers disrupted Parliament last week over the killing of farmers protesting land being expropriated for a highway. At least three farmers were killed in Uttar Pradesh state when police fired at protesters demanding more compensation for land to build a six-lane highway to connect the Taj Mahal city of Agra with New Delhi.

The incident was the latest in a string of violence surrounding government efforts to acquire farmland for industry in India, where two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population is dependent on agriculture.

In the running:Dauphin-area farmer Ernie Sirski is running in this fall’s District 9 Canada Wheat Board election. Sirski is a longtime director of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and former director of United Grain Growers and Agricore United. Asked whether he supports the CWB retaining its single-desk marketing authority or an open market Sirski replied: “I support a Western Canadian Wheat Board that can meet the vast majority of wheat and barley growers’ needs.” He said the CWB’s mandate will be determined by Parliament, not the CWB’s board of directors. – Staff Donor appeal:Only a small fraction of the six million Pakistanis desperate for food and clean water have received any help as the United Nations battled donor fatigue and appealed urgently Aug. 17 for more funds. With hundreds of villages marooned and highways and bridges cut in half by swollen rivers, food rations and access to clean water have only been provided to around 500,000 flood survivors, the UN said.

The UN has warned that up to 3.5 million children are threatened by deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects. Honoured:Fourth-generation farmers Glen and Dawn Ekert of Moosomin, Saskatchewan are the 2010 recipients of The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) from the Saskatchewan Stockgrowers Association. “The Ekerts have been innovators in their land and herd management techniques. They are a family that understands the connection between environmental stewardship and profitability and that is the embodiment of this award,” says Chad MacPherson, general manager of SSGA.

The Ekerts raise certified organic cattle under holistic management. Deal closed:Canada’s largest grain handler and farm retailer, Viterra Inc. said Aug. 17 that it had closed its acquisition of U. S.-based 21st Century Grain Processing.

Viterra acquires an oat mill in South Sioux City, Nebraska, a wheat mill near Dawn, Texas, and a corporate office in Kansas City, Missouri.

The acquisition complements Viterra’s existing oat-milling operations and grain network in Canada, the company said.

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