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In Brief… – for Jul. 9, 2009

Low on the radar: Shifting consumer demand is shaping a new reality for Canadian agriculture, but it doesn’t rate high on the radar screen for many producers and agribusiness operators. In a recent survey of FCC’s 9,000-member Vision panel, consumer demand ranked last when producers and agribusiness owners were asked what factors were driving any changes they planned to make to their operations in 2009. Their top choices were business and succession planning, and the global economy. – Farm Credit Corporation

Barn fire: A Zhoda, hog-feeding operation lost a barn and 7,500 pigs in a July 1 fire. Fire officials say by the time they got to Four Pines Farms, a finishing operation, it was too late to save either the building or the hogs. Damage from the blaze is estimated at between $2 million and $3 million. RCMP and the Manitoba fire commissioner’s office are investigating.

Party-poopers: Rambunctious fans in the 20-kilometre lineup along highways before the Dauphin Countryfest site opened July 1 went home with some special souvenirs from local RCMP – numerous liquor-related and traffic charges. One 24-hour drug-related driver’s licence suspension was issued after the person failed a field sobriety test. Police also emptied hundreds of containers of alcohol along the roadside and put the kibosh on people filling in the time by playing sports games on the highway.

H1N1 crossover suspected in Argentina: Workers at an Argentine farm apparently infected pigs with the H1N1 flu strain, only the second suspected case of humans passing the virus to swine, a government spokesman said July 1. The spokesman said 800 pigs had tested positive for H1N1, but the two workers suspected of passing on the virus had never gone to a doctor so it hadn’t been established whether they had the H1N1 strain. The first cases of this strain of H1N1 in hogs were in an Alberta herd, but the suspected carrier, a contractor working in the barns, was later cleared by blood testing.

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