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In Brief… – for Feb. 26, 2009

Grant program branches into trees:

The Hometown Manitoba grant program for community improvements now includes a tree-planting component, making up to $5,000 available for municipalities or town organizations to plant trees in public areas. The program also offers grants of up to $5,000 for communities to improve and enhance outdoor public areas and up to $1,000 for non-profits or small businesses looking to enhance or improve exterior building appearance or signage. Completed applications are due by March 15.

Argyle club has top leader:

The Canadian 4-H Council has named Laurie Slater of theArgyle 4-H Beef Club at Stonewall as one of its nine Volunteer Leaders of the Year for 2008, an awards program sponsored by the Co-operators insurance company. Each winner gets a $100 gift plus Co-operators and 4-H merchandise. Peter Leblanc, a 4-H leader from Nova Scotia, won the grand prize of a trip to the 4-H annual meeting in Prince Edward Island in May. “The amount of time devoted to 4-H is a reflection on the quality of these volunteers,” Canadian 4-H Council president Bob McAuley said.

Brazil seen needing wheat:

Brazil will have to turn to North America, most likely Canada, for wheat in mid-2009, with Argentina’s limited exports unlikely to meet the needs of one of the world’s largest importers of the grain, market watchers predict. Brazil is still working through the last half of a bumper six-million-tonne crop that ended harvest in late 2008, so its government is unlikely to drop a tariff on imports from North America until May or June, observers expect. “Around a million tonnes should do but the quota will close in July so not to hurt the local harvest,” one said.

Potato brain trust funded:

A dozen schools and agencies and 32 scientists, mostly in Eastern Canada, are to chip in on research devoted to new markets for Atlantic Canada’s potato industry. Ottawa has pledged $5.3 million over three years for the BioPotato Network, a new project focused on value-added uses, new health and pharmaceutical products, dietary properties, potato starch-based plastics and breeding naturally insect-resistant varieties. The network is to “harness the full potential of the potato in terms of our economy, health and environment,” Conservative MP Mike Allen said.

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