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In Brief… – for Sep. 10, 2009

Trader benched from ICE:

An ex-manager at Refco’s Winnipeg office has been fined $35,000 and suspended as a participant in trading at ICE Futures Canada for 12 years. The Winnipeg exchange said Aug. 27 it penalized Paul Erickson for violations of ICE rules and the Commodity Futures Act in 2005 and 2006, such as engaging in pre-execution communications, disclosing limit orders, trading on “non-public” information and disclosing confidential client information. Such activity “removed transparency and competitive processes from the market” and harmed both the market and its participants, ICE said. Price recovery: European dairy prices are slowly starting to recover after their sharp deterioration over the last year, with income benefits likely to filter down to farmers soon, Europe’s farm chief said Sept. 1. ”The market is coming back into balance and dairy prices have stabilized,” European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said. “I do see some positive things at the moment.” Commission experts expect a moderate price recovery because consumer buying power is likely to pick up as the worst of the global economic crisis passes.

Looking for safe options:

Plummeting prices for opium are causing Afghan farmers to diversify. Two years ago, a farmer growing opium for the heroin trade could earn 10 times as much as a farmer growing wheat on the same land. Today, it is only worth three times as much. For many, that means producing the drugs is no longer worth the risk or the effort. According to the UN, 800,000 Afghans abandoned the trade this year. Opium, which accounted for 27 per cent of Afghanistan’s economy in 2002, now accounts for just four per cent. A for effort: Don Flaten, who is a soil science professor and researcher with the faculty of agricultural and food sciences at the University of Manitoba, was honoured last month by the Canadian Soil Science Society. Flaten received the organization’s Soil Science for Society Award for his extensive contributions to promoting soil science in Manitoba and Canada. Don received the award at the Joint Annual Conference of the Canadian Soil Science Society, the Canadian Society of Agronomy and the Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.

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