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In Brief… – for Oct. 22, 2009

Mexico tries GM corn:

Mexico, considered by many to be the cradle of corn, has issued permits to grow genetically modified corn for the first time in a bid to eventually boost production of the grain.

Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry said the two permits will allow only experimental genetically modified (GM) corn crops, which will be restricted to states where no native varieties of corn are grown.

The Agriculture Ministry did not say which firms received the permits. Thirty-five companies applied for them.

Milk money:

European Union farm ministers will accept a proposal from the European Parliament to offer 300 million euros ($448 million) of extra aid to dairy farmers hit by low milk prices, EU diplomats said Oct. 16.

The aid will come from the European Union budget for next year and has won support from 21 of the 27 EU member states including France and Germany, the diplomats said. Dairy farmers in Belgium and France have been dumping milk to protest low market prices.

Correction:

The Co-operator reported Oct. 1 that Dairy Farmers of Manitoba had to pay a $640,804 penalty for exceeding its 2008-09 provincial milk quota by 1.23 per cent. In fact, provinces are allowed to go overquota by one per cent without penalty. So the fine was based on the 0.23 per cent overproduction, not the full amount.

China mining Sask. potash:

China’s Zhongchuan International Mining Corp., has signed a deal to build a huge potash base in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan to ease its own tight supply of the fertilizer, the official Xinhua news agency said Oct. 19.

The deal will allow the private Chinese mining firm to explore potash in an area covering 96 square kilometres, with an expected annual production capacity of three million tonnes, Xinhua said.

China is the world’s largest buyer of potash along with nitrogen and phosphate.

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