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In Brief… – for Feb. 18, 2010

Three-year plan:

“Plan. Farm. Safety.” is the theme of a three-year Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign that will be launched March 11 at MacDon Industries. This year the campaign will promote “Plan” with safety walkabouts and planning for safety. In following years, the focus will be on implementation, documentation and training and on safety assessment, improvement and systems development. Each year in Canada an average of 115 people are killed and at least 1,500 are hospitalized for farm-related incidents.

Recall expanded:

Unsafe conditions have prompted a California meat company to recall another 4.9 million lbs. of beef and veal, expanding its previous recall to nearly 5.8 million lbs., the U. S. Agriculture Department said Feb. 14. No illnesses have been linked to the meat, produced as early as January 2009, but USDA said the expanded recall was in connection with a criminal investigation.

Huntington Meat Packing Inc. of Montebello, California, initially recalled 864,000 lbs. of beef on Jan. 18 due to suspected E. coli contamination.

Bush’s legs optional:

Russia, the largest buyer of U. S. poultry meat, has sufficient resources to force Washington to accept its import terms or otherwise squeeze it from the lucrative market, Russian analysts and producers said.

“We are capable of solving the supply issues,” Vladimir Fisinin, president of the Russian Poultry Breeders’ Union told Reuters.

Russia has been purchasing large volumes of U. S. poultry since the early 1990s, when it turned to the United States to supply low-cost meat, mostly chicken leg quarters, commonly known as “Bush’s legs.”

U. S. farm stats:

There are more very small farms and slightly fewer big farms in the United States, the result of lower crop and livestock prices, said the Agriculture Department Feb. 12.

Overall, there were 2.2 million farms in 2009, almost the same as in 2008. “Lower commodity prices and smaller value of sales” reduced by one per cent the number of the largest farms. At the same time, the number of the smallest farms, with less than $10,000 a year in sales, grew by 0.5 per cent to 1.228 million, more than half of the U. S. total.

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