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In Brief… – for May. 28, 2009

Buhler sees dip in tractor sales: The maker of Versatile tractors expects sales of its other farm equipment short lines to continue strong while tractor sales decline “for the remaining part of the year.” Winnipeg’s Buhler Industries posted net profit of $4.59 million on sales of $93.35 million in its second quarter ending March 31, up from $3.22 million on $50.56 million in the year-earlier period. The company credited overseas sales to its majority owner, Russian combine maker Rostselmash, along with favourable exchange rates and “healthy demand,” for its increased sales. Organic “micro-grants” seek projects: Organic certification body OCIA International is encouraging farmers from Canada and elsewhere to apply for research and education “micro-grants,” typically in the range of $300 to $1,500, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eligible projects would support organic research or education and would be of benefit to “multiple producers, processors and/ or consumers,” OCIA said. Under the program, 75 per cent of the grant is released on acceptance of a proposal; the other 25 per cent is released once a final report is submitted. CF rejects Agrium’s latest play: Calgary-based fertilizer giant Agrium has raised its cash-and-stock offer for U. S. fertilizer company CF Industries to a value of over $88 per share, in the form of $40 cash (up from $35) and one Agrium common share for each CF share, bringing the total value of its offer to about $4.1 billion (all figures US$). But the board of CF, owner of a major nitrogen plant at Medicine Hat, Alta., said May 15 it rejects the new offer, adding that it “continues to substantially undervalue the company and is not in the best interests of CF Industries and its stockholders.” AAFC lawyer to lead tribunal: Donald Buckingham, a former law professor, legal consultant and lawyer for the federal Agriculture Department (2006-09) in Ottawa, has been named to head the tribunal that hears farmers’ appeals of their federal fines. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has named Buckingham to a five-year full-time term as chairperson and CEO of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal, a “small, quasi-judicial” body that gives the public the opportunity to request reviews of decisions or penalties imposed under assorted federal farm law.

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