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In Brief… – for Mar. 19, 2009

Bobcat, Polaris team up:North Dakota-based skid-steer maker Bobcat Co. and snowmobile and ATV maker Polaris Industries have signed on for a “long-term strategic alliance” that will ultimately lead to co-development of new equipment. “Initially, Polaris will produce and sell highly differentiated work vehicles to Bobcat for sale through the Bobcat dealer network,” Scott Wine, CEO for Minnesotabased Polaris, said in the two companies’ release. The new Polaris-made Bobcat vehicles are expected to be launched by the second half of 2010, the two companies said.

Supply management pioneer dies: Ottawa Valley dairyman Ellard Powers, credited with spearheading the development of Canada’s supply management system for dairy, poultry and eggs in the 1960s, passed away in Pembroke, Ont. on Feb. 28 at age 75. Powers sat on boards and executives of groups and agencies including the National Farmers Union (NFU), Ontario Farmers Union, Ontario Milk Marketing Board and the Ontario farm funding agency Agricorp. He also chaired the Canadian Dairy Commission from 1973 to 1976. Memorial services were held March 4 for Powers at his home town of Beachburg, Ont.

Fertilizer marriage proposals rejected: U. S. fertilizer firm CF Industries has rejected an unsolicited US$3.6 billion takeover bid from Calgary-based fertilizer maker and farm supply retailer Agrium. CF, in a response to Agrium CEO Mike Wilson on March 9, called the bid “a transparent attempt to interfere” in CF’s own US$2.1 billion bid for another U. S. fertilizer firm, Terra Industries – which urged its shareholders March 5 to reject CF’s offer, later sweetened to US$27.50 a share. Terra and CF each own a major nitrogen plant in Canada, at Courtright, Ont. and Medicine Hat, Alta. respectively.

Food firms seen weathering recession: A new industry outlook by the Conference Board of Canada finds Canada’s food manufacturers “largely recession-proof.” Even with an economic slowdown limiting growth, food firms’ profits are predicted to near the record highs seen in 2008, the board said March 4. Total food consumption is “not expected to drop significantly” as recession sets in, though processors may be affected by changing diets and consumers choosing cheaper products over premium ones. Production of food products is expected to drop by less than one per cent in 2009, the board said.

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