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In Brief… – for Nov. 25, 2010

New role:Canadian Foodgrains Bank has appointed John Longhurst to the position of director, resources and public engagement. “John is a seasoned and respected professional in the areas of communications, media relations and marketing, with most of his career spent in the non-profit sector and international field,” said executive director Jim Cornelius. Longhurst has worked for Mennonite Central Committee Canada and Mennonite Economic Development Associates. He is also a regular columnist in the faith page of the Winnipeg Free Press. – CFGB release

No more dropouts:Manitoba

could soon be a no high school-dropout zone. Under proposed legislation, young people would be required to stay in school or in a recognized workforce training program until they are 18 or graduate. Students can now quit at 16. “This is the most significant change in educational standards in decades,” said Premier Greg Selinger. “This is not about telling young people what to do, it’s about opening doors for success in life.”

About 81 per cent of Manitoba youth graduate from high school, up from 72.4 per cent in 2001. – Staff

Bee biosecure:

The federal government and the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) are seeking input from the bee industry on a new voluntary national biosecurity standard that will help beekeepers minimize the risk of pests and diseases in their colonies.

Bumblebee, leafcutter and honeybee keepers will be contacted at random and asked what they do at the farm level to keep their colonies healthy. This input will assist in creating new voluntary biosecurity standards. The standard is expected to be released in 2012.

– CFIA release Correction:Delmar Commodities has an elevator in Gladstone, not MacGregor as incorrectly reported in a Nov. 18 story.

Trade with China:Canada’s

farm minister said Nov. 19 that he’s confident China’s steps to curb food prices won’t slow Canadian agricultural exports to the Asian country. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said he’s buoyed by a statement this year by President Hu Jintao that China wants to double trade with Canada to $60 billion by 2015.

Ritz said he expects commercial exports of Canadian beef to China, the first in seven years, to resume “very quickly” after an additional visit by a Chinese delegation to Canadian plants. Supply shocks:Wheat plantings in Europe and the United States are rising in response to this year’s lower global harvest, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. However, it cut its estimate of 2010 world cereals output to 2.216 billion tonnes from its previous forecast of 2.239 billion tonnes.

Ample supplies of rice, wheat and white maize lessen the immediate risk of a repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis with riots and panic buying, it said. But it warned “the international community must remain vigilant against further supply shocks.” Vale invests:Brazilian mining giant Vale SA will spend more than $10 billion over the next five years to expand its operations in Canada. Most of that will go to upgrades in Sudbury, Ont., and on a new nickel-processing facility in Newfoundland and Labrador. But 500 jobs will be lost when Thompson’s smelter and refinery closes in 2015. Vale, which bought Inco for $19.2 billion in 2007, is often cited as an example of foreign resource companies failing to live up to promises to increase spending and protect jobs after acquiring Canadian companies.

– Reuter

Crown roast perhaps?:

With a prince’s wedding in the offing, British royal watchers are not only deliberating over what the happy couple will wear for the celebrations next year, but over the wedding banquet fare. British Pig Executive (BPEX), which is the equivalent of the Manitoba Pork Council, has suggested a pig roast as a deliciously economical way to feed a crowd during difficult financial times. While a royal wedding is seen as a boost for British morale during the ongoing recession, some fear taxpayers will be stuck with a royal bill for the nuptials. – Staff

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