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In Brief… – for Nov. 5, 2009

Trade SWAT team needed:

The federal government should form a “SWAT team” to aggressively nip protectionist trade actions against Canadian farmers in the bud, the president of Keystone Agricultural Producers says in a recent release. Ian Wishart said the government needs to be more aggressive fighting market disruptions caused by technical trade barriers affecting canola, flax, durum and livestock. Relying on complaints under trade agreements such as WTO and NAFTA is akin to “shutting the barn door after the horse is gone,” he said. Curling club program underway: Monsanto Canada has launched its “Imagine a Better House” program for 2010, offering cash prizes for upgrades at rural curling rinks across Western Canada. The seed and chemical company has put up $31,000, for a $10,000 grand prize, a $5,000 second prize and eight $2,000 third prizes. The entry submission deadline for eligible clubs is Jan. 15, 2010, for decisions to be made in late February. Details are available at www.monsanto.ca.The curling club at Holland, Man. won the grand prize in 2009.

In the door:

The European Commission approved Oct. 30 certain uses of three kinds of genetically modified maize in the European Union after the European Food Safety Authority issued a positive safety assessment.

The three GMO maizes are

MON88017 and MON89034, made by biotech company Monsanto, and 59122xNK603, produced by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a unit of DuPont. The approvals are for food and feed uses and import and processing in the 27-country EU.

Land-use planning:

Keystone Agricultural Producers invited land use planners to a breakfast meeting in Brandon last week to remind them agriculture is the backbone of many rural communities.

President Ian Wishart stressed planning must protect agriculture that exists today and also allow for future diversification. “We need a balanced approach to planning, including designation of areas where agriculture can operate and thrive,” he said. “Producers do not need policies that are restrictive or not firm enough to allow for transparency in the system.”

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