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In Briefs continued from page 2 – for Feb. 25, 2010

Move over Canada:

China is rapidly moving up the ranks towards becoming the U. S.’s top market for agricultural exports. The Asian economy will replace Japan as the No. 3 market for U. S. farm exports this fiscal year and in a few years it could be the largest buyer overall, said the USDA Feb. 18.

That designation currently rests with Canada, which is expected to buy $16.1 billion from the U. S. this year, followed by Mexico. China, the world’s largest importer of cotton and soybeans, will buy $11.7 billion from the U. S. this year. Merged Caisses name new CEO: The CEO of Ste. Anne-based Caisse La Prairie will be the CEO of the new Manitoba Caisse, merging the province’s four caisses populaires. Joel Rondeau, a chartered accountant by profession, will oversee all 26 Caisse branches, including 22 in rural Manitoba. Though the merger, approved by 93 per cent of the caisses’ members in December, doesn’t take effect until Sept. 1, Rondeau’s appointment takes effect immediately. The merged Manitoba Caisse will have combined assets of about $800 million and about 30,000 members province-wide. Buhler buys South Dakota auger maker: Winnipeg’s Buhler Industries has bought capacity to expand its line of Farm King grain-handling equipment. The company said Feb. 11 it has bought the assets of bankrupt Feterl Manufacturing for an undisclosed sum. Feterl, which operated out of Salem, S. D., made conventional grain augers, swing drive augers, low-profile and drive-over grain hoppers and rotary screen grain cleaners. Buhler said its purchase was “supported” by a low-interest loan from the South Dakota Economic Development Corp. Hamilton picked to host mega-bakery: Maple Leaf Foods’ Canada Bread has a deal in principle to site a $100-million, 375,000-square-foot bakery facility, the largest of its kind in Canada, on the south side of Hamilton, Ont. Canada Bread, which already makes baked goods and Olivieri pastas and sauces in Hamilton, plans to shut three of its Toronto bakeries by 2013 and fold their operations into the new facility, which it aims to have up and running by June 2011. The Toronto plants had “aging assets that have been further constrained by urban development,” the company said. Groups aim at U. S. GM alfalfa: Canadian campaigners have joined a U. S. group’s bid to block introduction of genetically modified alfalfa in the U. S. The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate and Canadian Biotechnology Action Network are urging farmers and consumers from Canada to send their views to the Washington-based Center for Food Safety (CFS), during a comment period (closing March 3) on a draft environmental impact statement prepared by the U. S. Department of Agriculture for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa. CFS has been in court with USDA since 2006 over USDA’s approval of the GM variety.

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