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In Brief… – for Jun. 25, 2009

More credit: Legislation increasing credit access by new or young farmers and co-operatives has received Royal Assent, the federal government says. The Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA), formerly known as the Farm Improvement and Marketing Co-operatives Loans Act, now allows beginning farmers and more agricultural co-operatives to take advantage of loans which is expected to result in an estimated $1 billion in loans over the next five years. Farmers are eligible now for expanded loan guarantee limits of up to $500,000. Farm equity improving: Equity in Canada’s farm sector increased 4.9 per cent to $264.5 billion from 2007 to 2008, as a gain in assets offset a rise in liabilities, Statistics Canada says. The ratio of loans outstanding to cash income, which reflects the burden of farm debt on farm cash income, also fell for the second consecutive year. The main contributor to the growth in assets was the value of farm real estate, which rose 5.6 per cent. Current liabilities increased seven per cent, while long-term liabilities were up 4.8 per cent. Still going strong: The Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council (MRAC) has received $9.5 million in federal funding to continue operating over the next five years. The council provides support to research and development projects that help farmers and agriculture adapt to changing times. “In a world focused on trying to preserve the past, we in agriculture with direct federal partnership are facing the realities of tomorrow by pathfinding, addressing emerging issues and laying the groundwork to seize new opportunities,” said MRAC chair Barry Routledge. Peru FTA approved: Canadian ag exports such as wheat, barley, lentils, peas and some boneless beef could get “immediate duty-free access” to the Peruvian market as early as July 1. The federal government says it will work to have its free trade agreement (FTA) with Peru, including parallel agreements on labour co-operation and the environment, in place as early as Canada Day. Royal assent was granted to legislation that implements the Canada/Peru FTA June 18.

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