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In Brief… – for Sep. 24, 2009

Food aid budgets crash:

Food aid is at a 20-year low despite the number of critically hungry people soaring this year to its highest level ever. Josette Sheeran, UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) executive director said the number of hungry people passed one billion this year for the first time, adding the UN has barely a third of the funding it needs to feed 108 million who are hungry. “We would like to see a bold vision,” she said. Even last year the world produced enough food to feed everyone – the question is getting it to those who need it.

Global Goliath: Brazil’s JBS, the world’s biggest beef producer, is buying a controlling stake in bankrupt U. S. poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride and JBS’s Brazilian beef rival Bertin. Pilgrim’s Pride filed for bankruptcy protection in Dec. 2008 due to high feed costs, low chicken prices and heavy debts. Bertin, founded by the family of that name 30 years ago, is Brazil’s No. 2 beef producer with 38 plants in Brazil and abroad. Its takeover will consolidate JBS’s position as a global Goliath, one of the world’s largest, fully integrated meat producers.

Sow herd liquidation: U. S. hog producers sent 70,849 sows to slaughter during the week ended Sept. 5, up 16.5 per cent from 60,815 during the 2008 holiday-shortened week, USDA said on Sept. 17. The sow slaughter above 70,000 head shows hog producers continue to liquidate herds in response to ongoing losses on market hogs, said Ron Plain, economist at the University of Missouri. However, Plain and other economists have said sow liquidation needs to continue until 2010 to bring down market hog supplies enough to lift hog prices.

Canada brand: The federal government is investing $32 million in the Canada Brand initiative to put the maple leaf brand on the top-quality products Canadian farmers grow. “Canadian farmers want to make their living in the marketplace and buyers around the world are looking for the premium products the maple leaf has come to symbolize,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

The initiative will fund market analysis, advertising campaigns and public opinion research that will promote Canada’s safe, top-quality agriculture.



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