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In Brief… – for Jun. 18, 2009

Ag Growth’s gone corporate: Winnipeg-based Ag Growth, owner of grain-handling equipment makers including Rosenort auger firm Westfield Industries, has wrapped up its conversion from an income trust to a publicly traded corporation. The common shares of what will be named “Ag Growth International Inc.” were expected to begin trading on the TSX around about June 8, under the symbol “AFN.” Vancouver food-processing firm Premium Brands, formerly Fletcher’s Fine Foods, announced last week it will also reincorporate. The moves follow the federal government’s decision to tax income trusts.

MCPA leader passes:

Bob Munroe, a longtime cattle producer and prominent figure in the Manitoba cattle industry, died June 6 at the Stonewall Hospital. He was 76. Munroe farmed his entire life at the family farm near Stonewall. He was an early driving force behind the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association, serving as president. He was also a major figure in attempts to organize the Ranchers Choice Beef Co-operative. A proud Scot, Bob belonged to and served the Lord Selkirk Association. A funeral service was held June 11 at the Warren United Church.

Century of co-operation:

More than 200 co-operative and credit union leaders from across Canada and around the world will gather in Ottawa June 16-19 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the organized Canadian co-operative movement, hear from high-profile speakers and discuss issues ranging from Canada’s economic future to gender-intelligent retailing.

CCA’s predecessor, the Co-operative Union of Canada, was founded in Hamilton, Ontario in 1909. Farm protest: French farmers protesting against margins earned by supermarkets on everyday food products blocked retail warehouses across France June 12. Farmers blocked access to around 40 out of some 60 distribution centres that supply French supermarkets as part of a 48-hour protest, France’s main farm union, the FNSEA, said.

Farm Minister Michel Barnier said a new committee charged with monitoring margins along the food chain is ready to publish its first findings – relating to pork prices – but the FNSEA says progress has been too slow.

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