In Brief… – for Mar. 31, 2011

Data collection:Rural

community foundations will benefit from federal funds helping them collect annual data on how their communities are surviving. Vital Signs portraits measure the vitality of local communities using selected social and economic trends and evaluating areas having a significant impact on the quality of life, such as health, environment and education. A $200,000 federal contribution to Community Foundations of Canada, will expand the service by developing guides and training resources.

The guides will be available in late 2011. – Staff Uskiw passes:Sam Uskiw, who served as Manitoba’s minister of agriculture from 1969 to 1977 passed away March 22 at the age of 77. Before entering politics, the East Selkirk-area farmer was active on the local school board and with the National Farmers Union. He also held the highways and business development and tourism portfolios before leaving politics in 1986 and dropping his party affiliation in favour of supporting individual candidates. Uskiw’s memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 2 at the East Selkirk Hall. Flood site:The Saskatchewan government has launched a website tying together flood and weather forecasts, run-off data and other information.

“As the March run-off forecast issued by Saskatchewan Watershed Authority illustrates, areas of the province are certain to experience spring flooding this year,” Weyburn MLA Dustin Duncan, the provincial minister responsible for the SWA, said in a release. The new site found at: expected to contain the most recent run-off advisories and details on provincial assistance programs. – Staff

Fined for roadkill turkeys:

A Manitoba Hutterite colony has been fined $500 after it and another colony were caught shipping frozen turkeys to Ontario that had been purchased as salvage after a highway accident in Alberta.

Good Hope Colony Farms Ltd. of Portage la Prairie pled guilty last October in provincial court to one count of contravening the Food and Drugs Act, according to a release from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA says the colony helped to prepare the turkeys for shipment and they were sold and shipped to Ontario. – Staff Legally spanked:A unit of Germany’s Bayer AG has been ordered by a court in Arkansas to pay $136.8 million to farmers’ co-operative Riceland Foods over the contamination of U.S. long grain rice stocks with a genetically modified strain from Bayer that decimated exports more than four years ago. The jury judgment includes $125 million in punitive damages. Bayer said it is “disappointed” with the verdict and is considering its legal options. It said the punitive damages exceed what is permitted by Arkansas law and will be limited to the statutory cap of $1 million. Voice of the Prairies falls

silent: Brandon-area writer and columnist Fred McGuinness died March 22 after a battle with cancer. He was 90. Known as the “voice of the Prairies,” McGuinness served as vice-president and editor of theBrandon Sun,wrote extensively for newspapers, and appeared frequently on CBC Radio’s “Morningside” during his lengthy career in journalism. An avid historian, he later wrote several books on Manitoba and Brandon history. He received the Order of Manitoba in 2002 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004. – Staff Wheat supplies burdensome: The Canadian Wheat Board has lowered the 2010-11 Pool Return Outlook for wheat by $1 to $10 per tonne saying global wheat supplies are trending towards becoming burdensome once again. The current projection for the world stocks-to-use ratio is 27 per cent. In comparison, the world corn stocks-to-use ratio is projected at 15 per cent. Projections for millingdurum returns have declined by $16 to $18 per tonne. Both feed barley and designated barley values remain unchanged from last month’s outlook. – Staff

New-crop PRO drops:

After a tumultuous month in world affairs and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Canadian Wheat Board’s Pool Return Outlook for the 2011-12 crop drops the estimated returns for wheat by $23 to $28 per tonne. These issues have played significant roles in keeping both the broader economic and agricultural markets uncertain and volatile,” the board says. Durum projections have declined by $24 to $38 per tonne, feed barley Pool A is down $26 per tonne and designated barley values have been lowered by $9 per tonne. – Staff CFIA checking Japanese food imports:Canada last week toughened safety inspections of food imported from areas near the stricken Japanese reactors to make sure it has not been contaminated with radiation. Milk, fruit and vegetables from four prefectures near the reactor will require documents verifying their safety before they can be allowed into Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said. The agency said “given the evolving nature of the Japanese situation” the import rules may be adjusted in the future.

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